Organizing Committee

The Law Society of Manitoba, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law and the Manitoba Bar Association are indebted to this fantastic and hardworking Organizing Committee.

Our thanks to you for all of the time and energy you have so generously given to the 2021 Pitblado Lectures!


Justice David J. Kroft, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench

Justice Kroft was appointed to the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench (General Division) in October, 2016.  He is a member of that court’s commercial list and chairs its model order committee.  He is also a council member of the Canadian Superior Courts Judge’s Association.

For more than 25 years, Justice Kroft practiced in the areas of commercial litigation, bankruptcy, insolvency, restructuring and banking litigation.  He was recognized by Lexpert, Best Lawyers, and Benchmark Litigation.  Both as a lawyer and judge Justice Kroft has been a frequent presenter on topics concerning insolvency and commercial litigation and a contributor to the Law Society of Manitoba’s Bar Admission Course.  He chairs the A. Montague Israels, Q.C. Prize Committee.

Justice Kroft is a past chair of the Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Restructuring sub-section of the Manitoba Bar Association, a life Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba, a life council member of the Manitoba Bar Association, and a past member of the board of the Manitoba Law Foundation. Beyond the legal profession, he has served on many community boards including as president of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and Jocelyn House Inc. (a hospice for the terminally ill) and as board member of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre (a personal care home for seniors).  Currently, Justice Kroft sits on the board of The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

Michelle Redekopp, MLT Aikins LLP

Michelle Redekopp practices in the areas of corporate and commercial law with a special emphasis on business acquisitions, dispositions, commercial real estate, construction, transportation and pension law. Upon her call to the Bar in 1994, she joined Pitblado & Hoskins LLP as an associate and in 1998 she joined Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP, now MLT Aikins LLP, as an associate, becoming a partner in 2004.

Michelle is currently Chair of the Manitoba Pension Commission and a Board Member of iDE Canada, a charity devoted to creating income and livelihood opportunities in developing countries, investing in entrepreneurship with a focus on agriculture and sanitation.

Michelle has been recognized in Best Lawyers, Real Estate Law (since 2019), Best Lawyers, Mergers & Acquisitions Law (since 2020) and a leading practitioner, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Corporate Commercial.

Organizing Committee Members

Dr. Gerard Kennedy, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law

Gerard is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba. His research and teaching interests include civil procedure, administrative law, the legal profession, constitutional law, and international law. A former civil litigator, his recent work includes publications in the Queen’s Law Journal on appellate jurisdiction, the Supreme Court Law Review on summary procedures in public law litigation, and becoming the author of The Charter of Rights in Litigation. Prior to joining Robson Hall, he held visiting positions at NYU School of Law and the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law.

Silvia de Sousa, Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP

Silvia’s practice is concentrated in the area of business law with an emphasis on intellectual property law and technology law. Her practice also includes intellectual property transactions, cannabis advertising and marketing, intellectual property protection, trademarks, copyrights, patents and licensing matters. Silvia is a trademark agent.

Called to the Manitoba Bar in 1994, Silvia has spoken on many occasions to professional organizations and industry groups on intellectual property matters and technology law matters.  She has also taught solicitor transaction matters, licencing and international law as a sessional lecturer at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law and at the Asper School of Business.

Silvia served as past Chair of the National Intellectual Property Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association and is a former Chair and current member of the Technology and Intellectual Property Law Section of the Manitoba Bar Association.  She has volunteered her time with numerous community organizations, including, The Associates, the Legal Help Centre, the Health Sciences Centre Foundation, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Branch Council of the Manitoba Bar Association and American Bar Association IP Section.

Silvia was recognized nationally as a Woman of Influence by the Women of Influence Inc. and under Best Lawyers in Canada 2016 – 2020 Technology Law.

Ashley Joyce, Meighen Haddad, Brandon

Ashley received his undergraduate degree from Brandon University and attended law school at the University of Manitoba, graduating in 1999.  He was called to the Bar in 2000 and has practiced in Brandon for his entire career, joining Meighen Haddad in 2006 and becoming a Partner in 2009.

Ashley’s main areas of practice are residential, commercial, and farm real estate transactions, wills and estate planning, and corporate, business, and agribusiness matters.

Ashley has volunteered for various boards and organizations in Brandon and has served as a Learning Group Facilitator for the Law Society of Manitoba’s Continuing Legal Education Program.

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