Edward L. Greenspan Q.C.
(1944 – 2014)
Edward “Eddie” Greenspan was the founding partner of Greenspan Partners LLP. He was one of the most well-known and respected lawyers of his generation. During his 44 year career he was a sought after defence counsel and was retained in major criminal trials in Canada and the United States many of which were closely followed by the media. He argued appeals in every provincial appellate court in Canada and at the Federal Court of Appeal, The Court Martial Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Upon his death both the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Justice extended their condolences.
Eddie is remembered as one of the titans of the criminal defence bar who not only practiced criminal law but lived and breathed it every day of his life. He was a champion of civil rights, fought tirelessly against the death penalty in Canada, and was an unparalleled leader of the bar. The firm he created continues to embrace the values, skills and professionalism that made him one of the greatest criminal lawyers Canada has ever known. In his treasured speech to the profession, a speech that he developed throughout his professional career, he commented on the role of the criminal defence lawyer as follows:
“People always ask: How can you represent a guilty man? There is a very simple, quick and complete answer. Our whole system of criminal justice is built on the basic premise that every man is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. His guilt must be shown by evidence produced by a prosecutor in a courtroom -not in a newspaper or a news broadcast.
I haven't the slightest moral conflict defending people accused of homicide, sexual assault, business fraud, environmental offences, or even crimes against humanity. I don't "draw the line" at anything. If I defended crime, maybe I would - but I don't defend crimes. I only defend people, innocent people. Until they are found guilty there are no other kinds of people for me to defend, and what difference does it make what an innocent person is accused of?
If you are a criminal lawyer, you stand between the abuse of governmental power and the individual. If you are a criminal lawyer, you stand between the abuse of judicial power and the individual. If you are a criminal lawyer, you are helping to mould the rights of individuals for generations to come.
In the search for justice, the criminal lawyer has a pivotal role to play. It is his or her responsibility to see that the accused is not unfairly deprived of his freedom. By protecting defendants, whether guilty or innocent, from the abuse of power by the State, the criminal lawyer protects us all.”
Eddie’s unwavering commitment to his clients and to the rights of the accused is integral to Greenspan Partners LLP. We continue to promote all the values and principles that Eddie did, not only to ensure his continued legacy, but because it is who we are.
- 2013 – University College – Alumni of Influence
- 2013 – Law Society Medal
- 2009 – The Advocates’ Society Medal
- 2001 – G. Arthur Martin Medal
- 1992 – The Commemorative Medal for the125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada
- 1965 – The Maurice Coady Prize – University College, University of Toronto
- 1999 – Received Honourary Doctorate from the Law Society of Upper Canada
- 2002 – Received Honourary Doctorate of Civil Laws from the University of Windsor
- 2004 – Received Honourary Doctor of Laws from Assumption University, Windsor
- 2012 – Received Honourary Doctor of Laws from Brock University