Janice Payne is a partner at Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP, and has been a member of the firm since her call to the Bar in 1976. She provides advice and service to employee and employer clients in all employment-related matters, in both the public service and the private sector. Janice represents her clients before administrative tribunals and the courts, and has also offered her services as a mediator/arbitrator to parties and their counsel.
She has served as lead counsel in a number of employment-related and other class actions. Under her leadership, the firm has been appointed as representative counsel for large groups of non-unionized employees in insolvency matters, including Nortel, Canwest and others. Janice represented Canada’s Inuit in the Residential Schools settlement negotiations and in the proceedings before the Courts across Canada to certify the class action and approve the settlement.
Janice was the first female lawyer hired at Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP. She maintained that progressive lead and has been instrumental in significantly increasing the presence of women in the firm. She cites this as one of her major achievements.
Janice’s work outside of the office is just as important to her as her professional accomplishments. She has been heavily involved in community work associated with music and theatre. She is a former member of the Board of Directors and past President of the Ottawa Chamber Music Society, a former member of the Board of the National Youth Orchestra and is also active in Ottawa's theatre scene, participating regularly in the GCTC's Lawyer Play. She is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the GCTC.
For some years, Janice has been participating in initiatives to raise awareness of mental illness. She is a founding member of Women for Mental Health, a program of the Royal Ottawa Foundation. She also serves as Secretary and a member of the Board of Governors of the Ottawa Community Foundation. These activities allow Janice to give back to her community, and to contribute to causes which are important to her.
Janice has been recognized by her peers in the legal community on a number of occasions. In 2001, Janice was honoured for her pioneer role in the legal profession by the Women’s Law Association of Ontario, in recognition of her contributions to law, women in the profession, and the community. She was also honoured by The Advocates’ Society at its 2007 Ottawa Advocate Honoree Dinner, for her outstanding contribution as a lawyer in the Ottawa area. In 2008, Janice was awarded the Businesswoman of the Year – Professional Category by the Women’s Business Network. In 2012, Janice was awarded the prestigious Diamond Jubilee medal and was inducted into the Wall of Honour, by the University of Ottawa Common Law Society.
Janice was selected by her peers for her work in labour and employment law, and listed in the 2006 to 2019 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada. She was selected as Ottawa Labour and Employment Law “Lawyer of the Year” in the 2014 and 2017 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada. She was also selected as one of the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada in the 2008 to 2011 and 2014 to 2017 editions of Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide and in the 2011 to 2018 editions of the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory for her Employment Law expertise. Janice was peer rated by Martindale-Hubbell in 2016 and 2017 and ranked “Preeminent” in recognition of her high level of professional excellence. She is frequently asked to speak and write on employment issues.