2013 Precedent Setter Award Winner: Jackie Taitz

Meet 2013 Precedent Setter Jackie Taitz

Jackie Taitz
Associate, Torys LLP
Called to the bar in 2004

• Helped launch Torys’ Give a Day campaign
• Published a paper in leading U.K. medical journal The Lancet as a law student
• Graduated from the University of Toronto with both a JD and MBA

Jackie Taitz has made front-page news numerous times in recent years. Okay, not her so much as the multibillion-dollar deals she has helped orchestrate: the sale of CTV Inc. to BCE Inc., Scotiabank’s play for DundeeWealth, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool’s takeover of Agricore United — you get the idea.

Running point on a corporate merger requires unbelievable organization, pristine communication skills and plenty of stamina. “Any one of those skills, on its own, isn’t particularly unique,” says Michael Akkawi, Taitz’s mentor at Torys. “But when you combine them, and do it in a positive way, where your juniors like you and you’re considered a mentor, that’s Jackie.”

She’s also a powerhouse when she’s helping others. In 2008, Taitz landed a coveted volunteer spot teaching entrepreneurship at Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa (Taitz was born in Johannesburg and came to Canada when she was a toddler). She took a four-month leave from Torys that stretched to 12. Taitz and her fiancée later returned to see her 70 or so university-bound students graduate and still corresponds with some of them today.

Back at Torys, Taitz kept up her efforts by doing pro bono work for education-oriented non-profit Free the Children. In 2011, she left the firm for a year to lead the charity’s We Day program, which teaches leadership and social activism to kids, and spearheaded a major expansion of the project.

But Taitz calls Torys the “unsung hero” of her story. “To find a place where I can do work that I love, with colleagues I care about, is the greatest thing. I feel so blessed.”