We are mourning the loss of our dear friend and Partner Judy Wilson. Judy passed away peacefully in the hospital on Monday, March 6, 2023, surrounded by her family, after a brief illness.
Judy was a formidable talent who was widely viewed as a leader in the Canadian procurement and infrastructure space. She was a trailblazer in her field, a senior leader at the Firm, a community builder and a beloved daughter, sister, spouse, mother and grandmother. She will be dearly missed at Blakes and in the broader legal community.
Judy leaves an impressive legacy. She was instrumental in building the market-leading Blakes procurement and owner-side infrastructure team, training and mentoring its highly specialized lawyers over the last 20 years. This allowed Judy to step back from nearly all of her team’s projects in early 2022 and transition its leadership to the next generation.
During her career, Judy played a prominent role in the realization of pivotal projects in our communities, from water, wastewater, energy and health care to major transit initiatives such as the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the GO Rail Expansion On-Corridor Works projects. Leading publications continually ranked her at the top of the procurement and infrastructure practice areas, and she was named Lawyer of the Year in her field multiple times during her career.
The story of how Judy built her practice reflects both her drive and creativity as a lawyer. Judy came to Blakes in 1996 after a decade working in government on major procurement and infrastructure projects. This background gave her a unique understanding of her clients’ perspectives, which remained central to her practice throughout her career. Just months after she joined Blakes, the World Bank sought her expertise in the procurement of major infrastructure projects. Over the next eight years, she advised on 22 different projects across the globe for the World Bank, often as the only woman in the room. Judy leveraged this experience to be at the forefront of the development of the P3 model in Canada, thoughtfully and creatively advising public-sector clients on many first-of-a-kind transactions.
Her service on virtually every leadership committee at Blakes reflected her commitment to our people. She was a strong advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion at Blakes and beyond, and she personally supported the advancement of women and lawyers from equity-deserving groups. Judy also served as a board director for Halton Healthcare Services and Grey Bruce Health Services, roles that underscored her commitment to community building.
Judy had a warm personality that put people at ease. She was a captivating and exceptionally funny storyteller. Her voice and laughter will be missed in the halls of our Toronto office.
Blakes extends our deepest sympathies to Judy’s family: her husband, Michael; her children, Ann and Matthew; her six grandchildren; her parents, Arnold and Mary Johnston; and her siblings, Debbie and Cam.