BC Government: Thirty lawyers appointed as Queen’s counsel
Dec. 2, 2021
VICTORIA – Thirty British Columbians are being honoured with the Queen’s counsel designation for their contributions to B.C.’s provincial justice system through their work as lawyers.
“Lawyers play an important role in guiding clients through the justice system. Congratulations to each of these extraordinary lawyers and thank you for all you do for British Columbians and the legal profession,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “Throughout your careers, you have shown good character, professional integrity and continuing dedication to your communities. The honour of Queen’s counsel title is well deserved.”
This year’s 30 QC recipients reflect a wide range of legal practice, including family, labour, criminal and tax law. Some have a specific focus on public interest advocacy, constitutional law, residential tenancy, seniors’ rights, Indigenous law, employment law, banking and construction litigation. They include lawyers in private practice, government and academia.
Potential candidates for the QC designation must be members of the B.C. bar for a minimum of five years and be nominated by their peers. An advisory committee reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the attorney general.
- There were 153 nominations submitted for an honorary QC title in 2021.
- Only 7% of practising B.C. lawyers can be awarded the QC designation at any given time.
- The advisory committee was established by the attorney general to review nominations and make recommendations for Queen’s counsel appointments. It includes:
- the chief justice of B.C.;
- the chief justice of the Supreme Court of B.C.;
- the chief judge of the Provincial Court of B.C.;
- the president of the Law Society of BC (LSBC);
- the president of the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia Branch (CBABC);
- an LSBC member appointed by the benchers (directors); and
- B.C.’s deputy attorney general.
- Currently, there are 491 QCs out of approximately 13,583 practising members of the bar.
For more information about the nomination process, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021AG0067-000924
For a list of QC appointments in 2020: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AG0078-002114
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Attorney General
2021 Queen’s counsel appointees
The following Queen’s counsel appointees are listed chronologically by the date they were called to the bar:
Debra Anne Carpentier (1978) has 43 years of unfettered devotion to Downtown Eastside and Indigenous clients. Debra is a pioneer for duty counsel and special court models in the Province of B.C., as well as the circuit courts in Bella Bella, Klemtu and Bella Coola. This year Debra was chosen by Legal Aid BC (LABC) as exemplary criminal duty counsel for the National Duty Counsel Day presentations on Oct. 27, 2021.
Richard Alexander Ross (1979) has for many years been a highly respected criminal defence lawyer, primarily in Vancouver. Through his pioneering work defending and assisting persons with mental illness in the criminal justice system, Richard has supported colleagues on both the defence and the Crown side.
Robert Clair Claus (1981) has tirelessly served criminal defence clients in all levels of court in many provinces in Canada. Robert has been involved in some of the longest and largest criminal prosecutions in Canadian legal history and is renowned for his wiretap and conspiracy law expertise. Robert has also been consistently involved in legal education and mentorship of young lawyers, has participated in numerous Continuing Legal Education Society of BC seminars and was active for many years coaching competitive trial mooting through the University of Victoria Faculty of Law, as well as holding past positions on the boards of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers, Trial Lawyers Association of BC, Victoria Law Centre, Allard School of Law Dean’s Advisory Committee for the Innocence Project and as chair of the criminal law subsection of the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia Branch.
Rajinder Singh Bhalla (1984) is a highly accomplished Vancouver commercial lawyer whose experience encompasses all aspects of commercial real estate. Rajinder is a charter director and past president of both the South Asian Bar Association of British Columbia and the Association of South Asian Professionals, in which roles he has been instrumental in mentoring, increasing opportunities for advancement and raising the profile of South Asian professionals within the legal and business communities. His additional community volunteer commitments extend to serving the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence and increasing participation of the Asian community, as bone marrow donors, through the Canadian Blood Services Diversity Liaison Committee.
Mary Margaret Terresa MacKinnon (1986) is a well-respected Vancouver litigator and mediator. Mary has been a member of the bar in B.C., the Yukon and the Northwest Territories for more than 30 years. She has been engaged in legal education and policy development in the areas of sexual abuse and risk management.
Richard (Craig) Allen Neville (1986) has been a leading practitioner and valued colleague in the family bar. His early dedication to the betterment of B.C. communities through volunteerism at every level, both personal and professional, helped shape his future as a lawyer. Craig has been both a mentor and a role model for lawyers looking to the future of family practice.
Robert (Bob) Jan D’Eith (1990) has served the music and arts community in Canada and provided support and advice to musicians, actors, artists, non-profit organizations and musician associations that were and continue to be significantly underserved. Bob has been at the forefront of evolution of music and entertainment law and is widely regarded as one of the leading professionals practising in music and entertainment law. Since being elected as an MLA, Bob has steadfastly advocated on behalf of his constituency and the Province on matters of housing, the economy and industry. His professional integrity, good character and excellence is exemplified by his commitment to public service, whether in the legal field or outside.
Kimberly (Kim) Jan Jakeman (1991) has been acknowledged by their peers as leading counsel or exceptionally gifted practitioners. Kim has demonstrated exceptional qualities of leadership in the profession, including in the conduct of the affairs of the Canadian Bar Association, the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) and other legal organizations.
Graeme Keirstead (1992) has been a leader in the regulation of professions. After increasingly senior positions with the Law Society of BC, he joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC in 2013, where he is chief legal counsel and deputy registrar of the college. A frequent contributor to continuing education for lawyers in B.C. and for lawyers and regulatory bodies across Canada and the United States, he has been at the forefront of public-interest regulation of the legal, health and other professions. Graeme has for years served his community in diverse ways, including advocating and supporting 2SLGBTQ+ individuals and communities, as well as Indigenous individuals and communities, and refugees and immigrants. His commitment to the law is illustrated by his current studies for a master of laws in health law.
Gregory Arthur Petrisor (1992) is a senior family lawyer who practises in Prince George. He is considered a leader of the legal community in the north. Gregory is a life bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia, having served eight years as a bencher for Cariboo County. In addition to his service to the profession, he has a long history of involvement in volunteer activities in the local community.
Barbara Lee Cromarty (1993) is engaged in the practise of civil litigation – primarily family law, company, conveyancing, wills and estates. Elected a bencher in March 2017, Barbara is currently vice-chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and a member of the Discipline Committee at LSBC. Barbara has served as an appeal board tribunal member with the Health Professions Review Board, as a mentor for young female lawyers with the CBA Women Lawyer’s Mentoring, as a governor of the Law Foundation and as secretary-treasurer, vice-president and president of the Kootenay Bar Association. Barbara has a broad range of volunteer experience in the community, including currently as the supervising lawyer for Trail’s Poverty Law Advocacy Program, serving as a governor of Selkirk College, director of Kootenay Friends of Children Foundation and director, secretary and chair of Trail Family and Individual Resource Centre Society.
Karen Evelyn Jamieson (1993) is a senior civil litigator with a varied practice, appearing frequently before the B.C. Supreme Court and B.C. Court of Appeal. Karen’s work includes representing children in care in assault and historical abuse claims and she was co-counsel at the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of former children in care in a leading case on government liability. She has appeared as intervenor’s counsel at coroner’s inquests to advocate for people with mental illnesses and their families. She provides pro bono work to several sexual assault centres in B.C. and is a dedicated mentor to young lawyers. Karen is a frequent presenter at continuing legal education courses for CLEBC and Canadian Defence Lawyers and authors a chapter in the CLE Motor Vehicle Practice Manual.
Kevin Douglas Loo (1994) leads the commercial litigation bar as a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. Kevin was listed among the “Best Lawyers Canada” (2016-2021) in Corporate Commercial Litigation by Lexpert, and recognized as a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation in 2021. Through his work with the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, he inspires young Asian lawyers, and particularly litigators, to lead in the profession. Kevin practises in the areas of commercial litigation, and bankruptcy and insolvency at Nathanson, Schachter, Thompson LLP. He serves as a regular instructor of advocacy at the Allard School of Law, the CLEBC, and a regular volunteer with the Access Pro Bono Society.
Marie Potvin (1994) has for many years been a highly respected legal advisor to Indigenous communities, governments and institutions across Canada. Thousands of First Nations laws across the country are based on the model laws Marie has developed and she continues to actively advise First Nations institutions and governments. Marie has also been active in teaching a new generation of Indigenous leaders and public servants through the Tulo Centre for Indigenous Economics, and she wrote the Indigenous law and economics chapter in the Tulo Centre textbook, which is used in law faculties across the country. She is a frequent guest lecturer in Aboriginal and tax law courses, seminars and continuing legal education events across Canada. She also continues her decades-old work advising land conservancies and land trusts preserving natural habitat across British Columbia.
Scott Lorne Booth (1994) is a leading family lawyer in British Columbia. Scott has served the Province, the judiciary and the legal profession through his exceptional and substantial contributions to legal education and law reform and by his volunteer pro bono work.
Andrew Ian Nathanson (1996) is recognized as an outstanding litigator in the areas of complex commercial litigation and white-collar crime. Andrew contributes substantial time to pro bono work and teaching civil litigation, advocacy and legal ethics. He is known for his meticulous preparation and problem-solving skills and for his professionalism in and out of the courtroom.
Elizabeth June Rowbotham (1996) is a leading practitioner in the area of environmental law. Elizabeth has made significant contributions to the profession as a Bencher of LSBC, a long-standing member and contributor to the Canadian Bar Association, Women Lawyer’s Forum Mentor, regular presenter on professional legal education in British Columbia, and equity, diversity and inclusion advocate. She has also contributed to the community through her work with Covenant House Vancouver.
Jonathan Noel Eades (1996) is a leading advocate on behalf of the B.C. government and has led changes to dispute resolution procedures and case law precedent benefiting countless other parties and dispute resolutions. Jonathan has helped many others move forward and resolve their own disputes on terms which protect fairness and equality of the practice without limiting the flexibility each seeks in order to present their case in a fair, proportional and timely manner.
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson; Haida name: Gidahl Gudsllaay L. (1996) has made appearances as counsel to the Haida Nation at all levels of court and is recognized as an exceptionally gifted practitioner. Terri-Lynn has made outstanding contributions to the realization of a multi-juridical conception of Canadian federalism through her leadership in advocacy and legal education. Through her work as a Haida lawyer, artist, and scholar she has helped change the legal landscape of Canada.
Thomas Michael Arbogast (1996) is a trial and appellate lawyer engaged in complex criminal litigation including: homicide, serious crime, cyber-crime, extradition, fraud/securities, and administrative proceedings, with a subspecialty in technology and privacy law. Thomas has appeared before all levels of B.C. courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. Additionally, he has spent a considerable amount of time leading some of the largest technology-related contract negotiations in the global technology space in the past two decades. In recent years, he has taught in the area of appellate advocacy and worked as lead counsel on R. v Tallio and R. v. Moazami, both amongst the lengthiest criminal appeals in the history of the B.C. Court of Appeal.
Geoffrey William White (1997) is a leading estates and trusts lawyer. Geoffrey has appeared as counsel at all levels of court including B.C. Supreme Court, B.C. Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. His clients have included pro bono representation of leading disability and advocacy organizations. Geoffrey has also advanced the law as a co-editor of B.C.’s primary estates practice manual; as a leader of the CBA National Elder Law section; and with extensive contributions to CLEBC, BC Law Institute, and others. As chair of the Law Foundation of BC, Geoff expanded his passion for access to justice throughout the province, which included the opening of seven new community legal clinics.
Martha Rans (1997) is the legal director of the Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society, empowering artists and non-profits in Canada to access justice efficiently, effectively and equitably since 2005. Under her leadership, PLEO will be spearheading Canada’s first staffed legal clinic for the arts in January 2022. Martha has served the non-profit and arts sector for over 25 years. As an advocate for public legal education and information, Martha advises on charity law, incorporation, governance, privacy, employment, labour, health and safety and human rights.
Lesley Ann Ruzicka (2000) is a leading Crown counsel in the province and in Canada. Lesley graduated from the University of Victoria Law School and was called to the bar after clerking with the B.C. Supreme Court. She appears at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, on some of the most difficult and complex criminal law cases of our day. Lesley is a nationally recognized expert on Charter issues and a leading contributor to legal education within the criminal bar. Lesley has contributed to her community through Girl Guides of Canada and as a foster parent.
Karey Marlane Brooks (2002) is widely recognized for the major contributions she has made to Aboriginal law and the legal profession generally. Karey is a fearless advocate who has litigated a number of unique claims to pursue justice for Indigenous Peoples. She was awarded the UBC Law School Outstanding Young Alumnus Award and was recognized as one of Canada’s Legal Rising Stars by Lexpert. Karey is Lexpert-ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Aboriginal Law and is recognized by Best Lawyers for her work in Canadian Aboriginal law. She currently serves on the CBABC Provincial Council, is chair of the BC Advocates Society, and sits on the Federal Court Aboriginal Bar and Bench Liaison committee.
Andrea Margaret Hilland (2003) earned an LLB and LLM from Peter A. Allard Law School before articling with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund (now Ecojustice). Following her call to the bar, Andrea worked with EAGLE and with the First Nations Legal Studies Program at UBC before joining the Law Society of British Columbia in 2013. Andrea provides staff support for the Law Society’s Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, and to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee. She is also a current member of the BC Human Rights Tribunal Expanding Our Vision Implementation Committee and Testify – a project of the Indigenous Laws and Arts Collective.
John McInnes Rice (2004) is a leader in the plaintiff’s personal injury bar. John has been successful lead counsel in dozens of Supreme Court trials and many hearings at the Court of Appeal. After several years in leadership positions at TLABC, he served as president in 2020. He helped steer the organization and the personal injury bar through a time of tremendous change. John is widely viewed as one of the most respected plaintiff’s counsel and a skilled trial lawyer.
Leah Bernadette Marie Fontaine (2004) is Crown Counsel with the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) and a leader in creating a more just and culturally safe criminal justice system for Indigenous Peoples, both in B.C. and internationally. Leah is Ojibway from Sagkeeng and Brokenhead First Nations, and has been instrumental in implementing the BCPS Indigenous Justice Framework, which aims to address the over-representation of Indigenous persons in the criminal justice system through education and training, reform of policies and practices, and engagement with Indigenous Peoples and organizations. An experienced and accomplished criminal trial lawyer, Leah has also been closely involved with the development and operation of Indigenous Courts in B.C.
Maegen McCallum Giltrow (2005) is a senior trial litigator practising First Nations and environmental law with Ratcliff LLP. Maegan has been instrumental in setting precedents and creating new policies for First Nation child welfare and protection cases. She appears at all levels of Court and has recently been lead counsel on major treaty and aboriginal rights cases including the Blueberry River First Nations cumulative impacts case and the Rio Tinto Alcan Nechako River case. Maegen is an elected member of the VanCity Credit Union Board of Directors.
Alison Maia Latimer (2009) is a leading constitutional and administrative lawyer who worked for much of her career alongside one of Canada’s top lawyers, the late Joe Arvay, QC. Alison has been counsel on some of the country’s most important public-interest cases — including issues such as assisted dying and solitary confinement — and has appeared repeatedly at the Supreme Court of Canada and at all levels of court in the province. Alison has made an enormous contribution to legal scholarship, education and served as a mentor for numerous young lawyers.
Jennifer Jane Lee Brun (2010) was president of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch for 2020-21. She served as chair of the CBA National Young Lawyers Section in 2012-2013. Jennifer’s practice focuses on civil litigation and professional regulation, with an emphasis on claims arising from professional liability, occupiers’ liability, recreational accidents, and motor vehicle accidents. She has also made exceptional contributions to legal education, as a writer, speaker and conference panellist and chair, including as co-author of the CLEBC Practice Manual, Discovery Practice in British Columbia.
Ministry of Attorney General
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