Merv Leitch QC Memorial Lecture

Since 1991, the Merv Leitch QC Memorial Lecture has been delivered annually to audiences at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary Faculties of Law. Our esteemed speakers have included Peter Lougheed, the late former Premier of Alberta; The Hon. Rosalie Abella, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada; Gordon Giffin, the former US ambassador to Canada, and most recently, Warren Kinsella, lawyer, award-winning author and journalist. The lecture series was established by Premier Lougheed and other friends and associates in honour of Merv Leitch. It attracts eminent speakers to address the community on a topic of public importance, and reflects the significant contributions he made while serving his fellow Albertans locally, provincially and nationally.

Merv Leitch, QC, was a high profile lawyer and firm partner before entering into a career in politics which included stints as attorney general, provincial treasurer and minister of Energy and Natural Resources. He was president of the Calgary Bar Association, and a bencher of the Law Society of Alberta.


Keynote Speaker: Richard W. Painter

Richard W. Painter received his B.A., summa cum laude, in history from Harvard University and his J.D. from Yale University, where he was an editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Following law school, he clerked for Judge John T. Noonan Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and later practised at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City and Finn Dixon & Herling in Stamford, Conn.

He has served as a tenured member of the law faculty at the University of Oregon School of Law and the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was the Guy Raymond and Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Professor of Law from 2002 to 2005. He has been the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota Law School since 2007.

From February 2005 to July 2007, he was associate counsel to the president in the White House Counsel’s office, serving as the chief ethics lawyer for the president, White House employees, and senior nominees to Senate-confirmed positions in the executive branch. He is a member of the American Law Institute and is a reporter for the new ALI Principles of Government Ethics. He has also been active in the Professional Responsibility Section of the American Bar Association. He is a board member and vice-chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog organization that uses litigation to hold public officials and politicians accountable, as well as a founding board member of Take Back our Republic, a campaign finance reform organization.