Barbara Legate

As founding partner of Legate, Barbara Legate has engraved her vision of excellence in personal injury litigation and service to clients onto the firm. For Barbara, every case is personal. With every client, she asks: what would I expect if I was sitting in his chair? How can I help my client get back what she has lost, or protect the future of this family?


After over 35 years of practice, Barbara has earned a high level of respect for her thoroughness, legal acumen and results achieved for children, adults and families affected by injury caused by negligence.


Barbara has been recognized in 2010, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 by Best Lawyers in Canada as Lawyer of the Year in Personal Injury in London and Windsor.

Birth Trauma Expertise

Barbara and her team won a critical decision for children suffering birth trauma in Liebig v. Guelph General Hospital and Ayanbadejo which confirmed the rights of children to sue for medical malpractice. For Barbara, representation of children injured by negligence at the outset of their lives is a passion.


Called to the Ontario Bar, 1981
Graduated from The University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law, 1979


  • Ontario Trial Lawyers Association
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Litigation Counsel of America (invited)
  • Advocates Society
  • Middlesex Law Association
  • American Association for Justice


Named 2020, 2018, 2016, 2014 and 2010 Lawyer of the Year in Personal Injury Litigation for Windsor and London, by Best Lawyers in Canada.

Highest designation by her peers in Lexpert® in personal injury litigation: most referred in Southwestern Ontario. In 2014 she was listed as consistently recommended for personal injury litigation and was chosen for the first time in the medical negligence category.

Received the H. Bruce T. Hillyer Award for promoting access to Justice and for advancing the cause of individual rights through Advocacy at the Ontario Trial Lawyer Association on October 24, 2012.

Honoured with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contribution to the community on August 23, 2012 for her work in brain injury prevention through the Helmets on Kids program she created.

Inducted into the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), 2010, an invitational trial lawyer honour society (requires peer nomination. Less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers, vigorously vetted for skills, expertise, and service; an invitation only collegial network of lawyers who effectively represent clients across North America and around the world. Maximum of 100 in Canada). Invited member of its advisory board.

Honouree of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association at its Celebration of the Personal Injury Bar, 2009

Listed in Best Lawyers in Canada since its inception in 2006: requires peer nomination for inclusion.

Brain Injury Association of London and Region in Recognition of Longstanding Commitment and Support, 2005

Ontario Brain Injury Association, Legal Fellowship Award for Outstanding assistance to persons living with the effects of acquired brain injury, 2005

Ontario Brain Injury Association Legal Fellowship Award, 1999

Designated as a Specialist in Civil Litigation by the Law Society of Upper Canada since 1995

Leadership in the Legal Community

  • Ontario Trial Lawyers Association
  • Conference chair and presenter
  • Co-Chair 2015 Fall Conference
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • November 2015, Chair, Representation of Children
  • Legate Medical Malpractice Moot
  • Program development and Judge
  • Ontario Trial Lawyers Association
  • President, 1998 – 1999
  • Board member, 1993 – present
  • Litigator Editorial Board – past
  • Chair of a variety of conferences; presenter
  • Chair of the Medical Negligence Section, 2006 – 2010
  • Chair and member of committees including insurance, Helmets on Kids, conferences, rules, intervention
  • Delegate to government on insurance law reform
  • Advocates’ Society
  • Board member, 1993 – 1999
  • Insurance Committee member – past
  • Chair and presenter at several conferences and seminars
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Member of the former Specialist Designation Sub-committee
  • Former Bar Admission instructor
  • Chair of the Special Lectures in Personal Injury Law, 2008
  • University Of Western Ontario
  • Occasional lecturer of Law for their Tort and Health Law classes.

Publications and Speaking Engagements

In addition to over 100 legal presentations and articles to virtually all personal injury legal organizations, including the Superior Court Justices spring and fall conferences and the American Association of Justice, Barbara is the founding author and editor of Barbara Legate’s Standard Statements of Law, a compendium of key personal injury law, available through Taran Virtual Associates. Along with Joni Dobson, Barbara presented to an international tort law gathering of academics, judiciary and practitioners on Liebig v Guelph General Hospital in Paisley Scotland. The Liebig case confirmed the right of a baby born injured due to medical negligence to sue. A sample of her publications:

“Medical Malpractice Litigation- Recent History and Experience”, The Litigator, March 2011

“A User Friendly Guide to the Law of Causation in Personal Injury Actions”, The Annual Review of Civil Litigation, 2009. Archibald and Echlin, Eds.

“Telling the Story in Opening Statement: Medical Negligence Before a Jury”, The Litigator, April 2009

“Demonstrative Evidence”, The Law Society of Upper Canada Special Lectures 2008

“The admissibility of demonstrative evidence in jury trials: applying the principled approach to the law of evidence”, 2006 31 Advocates Quarterly 316-346

“Assessing historical abuse allegations and damages” : David A. Wolfe, Peter G. Jaffe, Alan W. Leschied and Barbara Legate, Child Abuse & Neglect, The International Journal, Volume 34, Number 3, ISBN 0145-2134, Elsevier Ltd.

“Expert Opinion on Child Sexual Abuse: Separating Myths from Reality”: D. Wolfe & B. Legate, (2003) 10:3 Clinical Psychology 339

“The Meaning of Incapacity Under the Limitations Act Balancing the Rights of Plaintiffs and Defendants”, The Litigator, December 2000

“Litigating Bill 59 Cases: Lessons from Henderson v. Parker”, The Litigator, January 2000

“Limitation Periods in Medical Negligence Actions Post-Peixeiro”, 1998 20 Advocates Quarterly 324

Community Involvement

Barbara sits on the board for the Children’s Health Foundation and sits on its Grants Committee, along with supporting its work through financial support.

She also supports the foundation through the partnership with Legate. Barbara has a passion for children and youth, and improving child literacy. She gives out book bucks to local organizations to purchase books at the Oxford Bookshop. This initiative that started in August of 2013 has distributed over 250 books to local organizations. Barbara became an Anago Angel by supporting their Anago Power Project to raise funds to renovate their home. The funds raised will be used to renovate the rooms and provide a safe place for young girls.

Barbara established “Helmets on Kids” a community partnership to provide bike helmets to school children for free. In its 12th year, over 15,000 helmets have been delivered. The firm continues to support this cause and donates the bikes for the kick-off event poster contest.

Barbara has generously supported many local and international organizations, in particular those assisting families and children raised in difficult circumstances. They include Women’s Community House, The Salvation Army, Plan Canada, The London Food Bank, and Habitat for Humanity. She has funded research into prevention of child abuse and the impact of sleep deprivation on students. In the past she has supported Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, Brain Injury Association of London and Region, she was on the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Committee and Chair of Central School Council. Formally she was a director of Brain Injury Association of London and Region.

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