On March 8, 2009 – International Women’s Day – the legal profession lost one of its trailblazing women in the field of corporate and technology law, and for me also a friend and mentor. Alison was a devout champion of women, volunteering her precious time to limitless causes from her role as a senior partner at Stikeman Elliot to her position as chair of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. And to so many, she was a mentor. I was proud and privileged to have been one of the lucky few summer law students in 1998 to have been assigned the one and only, Alison J. Youngman, as my mentor. Her mentorship and friendship grew stronger throughout my years at Stikemans and knew no bounds when she later supported my decision to pursue graduate work at Oxford; while at Oxford, she was in frequent contact by email and by phone, something which amazed me for someone so busy and always on the go, and yet she was always eager to hear about my own progress and ready to offer advice and encouragement. I will always treasure her annual Boxing Day Open House event. Boxing Day will never be the same without her jovial hospitality and seeing so many of her colleagues, family and friends come from near and far to drop in and be decked with her warmth and friendship. International Women’s Day will have renewed meaning as I will honour her life, a model journey to so many. We will miss her warmth, tenacity of spirit, beaming friendship, no-nonsense lawyering, always spot-on instinct and incredible sense of integrity and public service.
Alison’s many accomplishments can be read in her bio at Stikeman Elliott. Obituaries can be found in the Toronto Star and in the Globe & Mail. A memorial service will be held at the Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge Street on Friday, March 13 at 10 a.m.