United Way Campaign Unites Firm

John Macfarlane

Feb 11, 2011

By Michael Benedict, The Lawyers Weekly

All major law firms take doing a local United Way campaign seriously, but at the Toronto office of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, the annual fundraiser means much more than helping those in need. “It’s the single most unifying activity of the year,” says John Macfarlane, who has chaired Osler’s United Way drive since 2004.

Macfarlane explains: “In large organizations like ours, we struggle for flashpoints of unity and definitions of who we are. During the two-week United Way campaign, everyone – partners, associates, staff and students – comes together with a unity of purpose.

“After the campaign, we are reminded of who we are and the importance of ensuring excellence in everything we do. That includes making the community in which we practise as strong as it can be.”

Macfarlane’s enthusiasm and leadership have clearly paid dividends. In 2009, for the ninth straight year, Osler led all Toronto law firms in total giving, topping the $800,000 mark, according to the United Way. When the 2010 numbers are finalized, he expects Osler, with its some 750 people, again to be on the top of the legal charitable list despite being smaller than some of its competitors. Indeed, Osler is the only law firm on the United Way’s Employee Honour Roll in the $750,000-to-$1 million donation category, which tracks donations made by individual employees at an organization.


For more on Osler’s work in the community, please click here.

John Macfarlane is profiled as "Lawyer of the Week" in the February 11, 2011 edition of Lawyers Weekly. For the full article, please click here.