UM Today | Faculty of Law

UM Today | Faculty of Law

March 25, 2024 — 

To celebrate the achievements of graduates, the Faculty of Law created the Faculty of Law Alumni Awards which are presented annually in three categories: Outstanding Alumni Award, Emerging Leader Award, and the Trailblazer Award.

The Outstanding Alumni Award honours a UM Law alum recognized for outstanding professional achievement in their legal career and who has shown dedication and commitment to the betterment of the legal profession while exhibiting the qualities of integrity and professionalism.

The Emerging Leader Award honours a UM Law alum who has graduated within the last 10 years. This alum has shown dedication and commitment to the legal profession, and has the qualities of integrity, professionalism, and leadership in their time practicing law.

The Trailblazer Award honours a UM Law alum who has excelled in a career outside the traditional practice of law. This alum is a person of integrity and has demonstrated leadership and service to the community.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 UM Law Alumni Awards:

  • Bradley Regehr, K.C. [LLB/96], Outstanding Alumni Award
  • Heather Wadsworth [JD/15], Emerging Leader Award
  • Dr. Brent Roussin [BSc/96, MD/00, JD/09, MPH/11], Trailblazer Award

The awards will be presented at the annual UM Law Spring reception in April.


Portrait of lawyer Bradley Regehr, a man in a suit with a red tie looking right over his shoulder against a background of green trees and blue sky.

Bradley Regehr, K.C. [LLB/96], Outstanding Alumni Award

Bradley D. Regehr, K.C. is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. Called to the Manitoba Bar in 1997, Regehr has worked on a wide variety of legal matters, including aboriginal law, corporate/commercial law, civil litigation and administrative law. Regehr continues to provide advice to a wide range of clients including First Nation and corporate clients. He has appeared in the Manitoba Court of King’s Bench and Manitoba Court of Appeal, as well as the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division and the Federal Court of Appeal.

Regehr was part of the legal team that successfully defended a challenge to a First Nation’s tax laws under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, the first litigation involving that statute. He also acted for a First Nation which became a partner in a major hydro-electric project, advising and acting at all stages of the project as well as appearing before both the Clean Environment Commission and Public Utilities Board during the regulatory processes and continues to be involved in the post-construction stage of the project. Regehr has and continues to advise First Nations on land claim matters and has also advised numerous First Nation clients on implementation issues involving both land claim and flooding agreements. He was involved in the litigation and settlement concerning the disposal of the Kapyong Barracks in Winnipeg which has resulted in those lands being set apart as a joint reserve for all seven Treaty 1 First Nations. He has been involved in arbitrations and litigation concerning the Manitoba Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement, Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement and flooding agreements.

Regehr was the first Indigenous lawyer to hold the office of President of the Canadian Bar Association. His tenure was during a particularly challenging time with the global COVID-19 pandemic and discovery of unmarked graves at residential schools across Canada. During his tenure as President, he made the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action his personal priority.

Regehr also served a two-year term as President of the Manitoba Bar Association, the first Indigenous lawyer to hold that office and the first lawyer since 1946 to hold the office for two years.

In 2021, he joined the Indigenous Advisory Group for Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre at the University of Waterloo and in 2023 became Chair of the Advisory Group.

In January 2022, Regehr was appointed King’s Counsel by the Province of Manitoba.

He is part of the Board of the United Way of Winnipeg and has been involved in eight productions of The Lawyers Play.

Mr. Regehr is a role model in the legal profession, for both students and the community at large.  His calm, quiet demeanor serves to amplify his ability to comfortably converse with judges, lawyers, students and the public.  Mr. Regehr has and continues to be a mentor to young lawyers generally, and specifically for young Indigenous lawyers.  He is extremely generous with his time, and always willing to engage with young lawyers to assist with the development of their careers. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Regehr has made significant contributions to social justice and to the affairs of Indigenous communities.  He has dedicated more than two decades to working on Indigenous issues and has seen how the perseverance and resistance of Indigenous Peoples is strengthening Canadian society.

– Nominator and fellow UM Law alum Ian Scarth [LLB/10]

Brad’s advice to current law students is to remember to give back to the profession – whether through the CBA or the Law Society or the Faculty of Law or anywhere you can advance the rule of law, access to justice and a strong profession.

EMERGING LEADER AWARD – Heather Wadsworth [JD/15]

Portrait of lawyer Heather Wadsworth, a woman with shoulder length brown hair wearing a black suit jacket and black and white striped shirt.

Heather Wadsworth [JD/15], Emerging Leader Award

Heather L. Wadsworth was called to the bar in 2016, trained in Collaborative Family Law and Mediation, and now practices Family Law exclusively at Amica Law Corporation as a Lawyer and Mediator. She has also served as a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba since 2019.

Wadsworth volunteers in many ways throughout the Manitoba legal community, giving presentations on Family Law to the Manitoba Bar Association and mentoring and coaching law students in competitions, and through the MBA’s mentorship program. She has been a committee member and more recently a co-chair for the MBA’s Mid-Winter Conference Planning Committee. Wadsworth continues to volunteer with the Legal Help Centre as she has done since she was a law student.

As a law student at Robson Hall, Wadsworth won no less than three class prizes for top marks in Family Law courses. As a competitor in moots and competitions, she won first place at the local and national levels of Negotiation Competition, and advanced to place fifth in the International Negotiation Competition for Law Students in 2015.

Ms. Wadsworth embodies characteristics that other lawyers and future lawyers would aspire to have, Ms. Wadsworth is one of the most genuinely kind people I have met. She never hesitates to offer assistance or support, regardless of whether it’s for a close friend, colleague, or even a complete stranger. This kindness and desire to help people is also evident through her dealings with her clients, who are very clearly her top priority professionally and whom she never fails to zealously advocate for. Through her various mentorship roles, Ms. Wadsworth frequently engages in candid conversations with students and junior lawyers about the realities of practicing law, particularly as a woman, which from the perspective of a junior lawyer, is invaluable and often difficult to find. It is clear that Ms. Wadsworth understands the importance of this type of guidance for young lawyers and prioritizes providing it.

– Nominator and fellow UM Law alum Alyssa Cloutier [JD/20]

Heather’s advice to current law students is, “Being true to yourself is how you’ll find fulfillment in the law.”

TRAILBLAZER AWARD – Dr. Brent Roussin [BSc/96, MD/00, JD/09, MPH/11]

Portrait of Dr. Brent Roussin, a bald man in a sharp blue suit with blue patterned tie, standing outside a limestone building.

Dr. Brent Roussin [BSc/96, MD/00, JD/09, MPH/11], Trailblazer Award

Dr. Brent Roussin is the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer for Manitoba and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. He holds a Bachelor of Science [1996] a Doctor of Medicine [2000], and a Master of Public Health [2011] all from UM. In between all that, he also obtained a Juris Doctor [2009] at Robson Hall.

According to fellow UM Law alum (and fellow medical practitioner), Dr. Davinder Singh [JD/23], Roussin has spent his entire career exemplifying and promoting the values of excellence, integrity and diversity. Singh shared that Roussin decided to complete a second medical residency, in Public Health and Preventive Medicine, and enter law school which helped him gain a greater understanding of the social determinants of health, and opportunities to influence those determinants, particularly for underserved Manitobans. Despite the incredible political and public pressure associated with being the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer during the pandemic, Roussin never strayed from his ethical obligations as a physician, civil servant, or a Faculty of Law graduate.

With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roussin became the public face of Manitoba’s response, during which time he demonstrated his tremendous leadership skills. Roussin’s calm approach helped inform and guide Manitobans during one of our most difficult periods in recent memory. He made himself available for near daily press conferences for almost a year, answering questions for the public as best as possible given the information at the time. Roussin used his knowledge of the law when considering using the emergency powers from the Public Health Act, which he helped successfully defend in court when challenged.

In addition to all the demands on him in this heavy public role, he continued to serve as a community family physician, staying connected to the community and seeing first-hand, the health needs of citizens and the impacts of public health programs.

In 2021, he was awarded Physician of the Year by Doctors Manitoba, the highest honour bestowed on a physician in Manitoba.

In his first CPPHO report released in 2022, titled “Healthy Communities: A Role for Everyone,” Roussin highlighted the health gaps faced by racialized people in Manitoba, and those living with lower incomes. He also used this platform to promote the message that “[h]aving a more equitable society and improving access to education, justice, employment, housing, wealth and other social and structural determinants of health benefits us all.”

Very few people take on the challenge of completing both medical school and law school. Both are challenging and time-consuming programs. Dr. Roussin is one of these few. He has used his knowledge of the law to improve the population’s health in Manitoba, and has blazed a trail that I hope to follow. I can think of no one more worthy of this award than Dr. Roussin.

– Dr. Davinder Singh [JD/23].

When asked for what advice he would share with future law graduates, Roussin shared the following:

“It is truly an honour to receive this award. I was so privileged to study under such distinguished faculty. I often reflect on my time at Robson Hall. The time I spent there continues to shape me as an individual and my career. During the often-challenging years of study, I encourage students to ensure that they find time to reflect upon and enjoy their journeys through law school.

“As a public health physician navigating the intersection of health and the law, this award recognizes the role we all can play in striving for a more healthy and equitable society. In our pursuit of justice, we should always keep equity and reconciliation at the forefront. Our studies and professions provide us with the tools and frameworks to advocate for a more fair and just society.

“I continue to be grateful to the faculty at Robson Hall and my fellow classmates, and I admire those now pursuing training in this distinguished profession.”

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