E. Bruce Leonard July 16, 1944 - January 18, 2017
We are sad to announce that Bruce passed away after a brief hospitalization on January 18, 2017. He was a man with a penetrating intellect, a strong analytical mind and a great sense of humour. He will be very much missed by his wife Gale, his sister Barbara, and his friends and colleagues.
For over three decades Bruce was a prominent insolvency lawyer, involved in many significant reorganization cases both in Canada and internationally. This included acting as lead agent for the Canadian government in the restructurings of General Motors and Chrysler. In cross-border cases, he saw the need to coordinate insolvency proceedings in different countries, and in an effort to improve that situation, he founded the International Insolvency Institute (III), a limited-membership invitational association that now has members in 65 countries. He also worked on the III/American Law Institute Guidelines for Court-to-Court Communications in Cross-Border Cases which helps courts in different countries communicate with each other when they are dealing with different parts of the same international business.
He served for many years as a Delegate to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law as it worked on its Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency and Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law. He chaired insolvency committees for the International Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Association, and was vice-chair of the International Bankruptcy Subcommittee of the American Bar Association's Business Bankruptcy Committee. He also held positions with the American College of Bankruptcy, the American Law Institute and the US National Bankruptcy Conference, and he was a Life Patron Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Not surprisingly, his name appeared regularly in the listings of top insolvency and restructuring lawyers that are published in Europe and North America.
Bruce was a frequent writer and speaker on international insolvency and reorganizational topics. He authored three books on insolvency and served in various editorial capacities with several international bankruptcy law journals. He taught the International Insolvency component of the University of Toronto's Global Professional LLM Program and was Co-Director of the LLM Program in Insolvency Law at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. In his honour, the Insolvency Institute of Canada, which he founded ten years before starting the III, established the Bruce Leonard Prize in Insolvency Studies at five leading Canadian universities.
Bruce was born in Winnipeg and grew up in nearby Oakbank, Manitoba. He attended the University of Manitoba, and during those years he indulged his sense of adventure by earning his private pilot's licence. He then went to Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and began his law career at Blake, Cassels and Graydon where he met his wife, Gale. They loved their weekends in the country north of Toronto, and he soon developed a passion for boating. He and Gale spent many summers cruising extensively on Georgian Bay. They also travelled all over the world, often in connection with international law conferences that Bruce was attending. More recently, there was nothing he enjoyed more than the peace he found on the dock at their cottage on the Bruce Peninsula.
A private family service has been held. If desired, memorial donations may be made to the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Online condolences may be left at www.turnerporter.ca
Friday January 27, 2017
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