Exceptional lawyers earn Queen's counsel designation

  • December 11, 2012

Source: BC Newsroom

VICTORIA - Thirty lawyers have been appointed the honorary title of Queen's counsel, Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond announced today.

The Queen's counsel designation is an honour conferred annually on members of the legal profession to recognize exceptional merit and contribution. The successful candidates demonstrate professional integrity and good character and have been a member of the British Columbia bar for at least five years.

A call for Queen's counsel nominations from the public was made in August. All applications were reviewed by an advisory committee, which sought the views of the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association and recommended deserving candidates to the Attorney General. The appointments were subsequently made by Cabinet through order-in-council.

A list of the Queen's counsel appointees is attached.


Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond -

"All Queen's counsel appointees have demonstrated commitment and leadership in the legal profession. I'm confident that this year's recipients will continue to be leaders in their fields and will build on their significant contributions to B.C.'s justice system."

"My congratulations to all appointees of this distinguished designation. The work you have done and continue to do is of great value to our province, our justice system, and for British Columbians."

Quick Facts:

  • The advisory committee for Queen's counsel appointments includes:
    • The chief justice of British Columbia.
    • The chief justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
    • The chief judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia.
    • The president of the Law Society of British Columbia.
    • A Law Society of British Columbia member appointed by the benchers (directors).
    • B.C.'s deputy attorney general.
  • Of practising B.C. lawyers, only up to seven per cent overall can be designated Queen's counsel.

A backgrounder follows.


James Beresford
Ministry of Justice
250 387-8119
778 679-8646 (cell)


Biographies of 2012 Queen's counsel appointees

Roderick Hugh George Holloway is the Legal Services Society's longest serving employee and has been with the organization and its predecessor, the Legal Aid Society, for 38 years. He is an adjunct professor in the University of British Columbia's (UBC) law faculty and a law teacher at Simon Fraser University (SFU). As a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Holloway has contributed to Canadian jurisprudence on the rights of refugees.

Avon Metford Mersey is a partner at the international business law and litigation firm Fasken Martineau and has been practising exclusively in civil litigation for more than 37 years, having represented clients in the Supreme Court of Canada more than a dozen times. He is a contributing editor to the Insurance Law Journal and a guest lecturer at the UBC's law faculty, as well as the Canadian Institute for seminars on civil litigation matters.

Kenneth Mitchell Walker is a senior partner at Kamloops law firm Wozniak & Walker. He will serve as second vice-president of the Law Society of B.C. for 2013. Walker originated and developed an Inn of Court program in Kamloops for new lawyers, including educational programs with guest speakers and events. He also lectures Thompson Rivers University (TRU) students.

Donald Noriyuki Kawano currently practises at Rella & Paolini law firm in Cranbrook. He has been a distinguished member of the Law Society of B.C. for the past 34 years, serves as director and facilitator of the Cranbrook & District Restorative Justice Society, and is the East Kootenay representative of the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association (CBABC). A distinguishing feature of Kawano's legal practice is his involvement in the development of alternative legal tools, such as mediation, collaboration and restorative justice.

Rodney Albert Snow practises in the Davis LLP Yukon Office as a corporate solicitor, with experience in mining, finance, Aboriginal and environmental law. He served as president of the CBA in 2010-11, during which time he was an advocate for access to justice and championed legal expenses insurance for the middle class. He chaired the first Continuing Legal Education of B.C. (CLEBC) course on environmental law.

Stuart Bishop Hankinson is the managing director at Shapiro Hankinson & Knutson Law Corporation. He has been a member of the B.C. bar since 1981, practising primarily in the areas of construction and insurance litigation, including acting as a mediator and arbitrator in all facets of complex civil dispute resolution. Hankinson has served as the chairman of the construction law subsection of the CBA and was appointed to the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers.

Michael Gardner Armstrong serves as litigation counsel at Armstrong Simpson in Vancouver and has focused in the areas of professional legal liability, construction disputes, personal injury and general corporate, commercial and securities litigation. Armstrong is a past executive member of the Vancouver Bar Association, and acted as chief justice of the Alma Mater Society Court of UBC. He also was appointed as legal counsel for athletes and international sport federations in matters coming before the Court of Arbitration for Sport during the 2010 Olympic Games.

Elizabeth June Watson is owner and president of Watson Advisors Inc. She has a successful background in commercial law, litigation and mediation, and developed a speciality in corporate governance, starting with her 2001 appointment as managing director of the Board Resourcing and Development Office in B.C. She serves as an advisor to the Auditor General of Canada on governance review matters, and is the author of leading practice guides in public sector corporate governance.

Guy Patrick Brown is a senior partner with Harper Grey LLP in Vancouver, focusing on appellate, trial and administrative law. He served on the editorial board of the CLEBC's Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Manual, and is author on the chapter on jury trials in the Civil Trial Handbook. Brown often speaks at continuing education seminars in the legal, medical and insurance realms and has been an instructor at UBC's faculty of law since 2001.

Simon Brian Margolis is the managing partner of Bull Housser & Tupper and a senior member of its dispute resolution and litigation department. Simon is recognized as a leading lawyer in the areas of Aboriginal law, alternative dispute resolution, corporate and commercial litigation, insurance law and personal injury litigation. He is a respected mediator, and a member of Mediate BC.

Albert Murrow Roos is a founding partner at Sudgen, McFee & Roos LLP in Vancouver. His practice has been focused on personal injury claims, including medical negligence matters. He regularly participates as a speaker in various educational programs for the legal profession, including those offered by the CLEBC, the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. (TLABC) and the Inns of Court Program for young lawyers.

Michael James Shepherd has worked with the B.C. Ministry of Justice's legal services branch for more than 28 years and is co-chair of the branch's Professional Standards Committee. Shepherd serves as the primary point of contact for legal advice provided to central agencies of government such as Treasury Board and the Office of the Comptroller General. He served on the board of directors of Our Place Society, a community service provider for the poor, disadvantaged and homeless in Victoria, for 12 years.

William Ross Younie is a partner at Ridgeway and Company in Duncan. His practice is focused on creditor remedies, including foreclosure and insolvency matters, commercial lending, real estate and wills and estates. He is the current president of the Lawyers Assistance Program of B.C., as well as a local area education coordinator for the CLEBC and has instructed at Vancouver Island University (VIU) since 2000.

Carla Lorraine Forth practises with Guild Yule LLP in Vancouver and has specialized in civil litigation for the past 27 years, with an emphasis on defending hospitals and nurses in medical malpractice claims. She has also participated extensively as counsel in mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution forums. Forth is a mentor for UBC law students and is active in the Women Lawyers Mentoring Program for the CBA.

Robert Wallace Grant is the senior litigation department lawyer in the Vancouver office of Heenan Blaikie LLP, focusing on administrative law. He began his career as a professor at UBC and a visiting professor at the University of Toronto, with research focused on public law, including constitutional and administrative law. Grant is the past director of the British Columbia Law Institute and a current member of the Islands Trust Fund Board.

Herman Henry Van Ommen practises as a regional managing partner with McCarthy T├ętrault LLP. His practice involves real estate litigation, corporate litigation and professional discipline proceedings. Van Ommen was elected as a bencher of the Law Society of BC in 2009 and is currently the chair of the Discipline Committee and vice chair of the Rule of Law and Independence Committee. He also has served as an instructor at UBC's law faculty.

Dominic Antonio Petraroia is the managing partner of Farris, Vaughn, Wills & Murphy LLP's Kelowna office. He has assisted and counselled clients through the entire business spectrum, from start-up to expansion and divestment. He has significant experience in mergers and acquisitions, and has been past president and chair of the Central Okanagan United Way, the Central Okanagan Foundation, the Okanagan Symphony and the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation.

Ronald Arthur Skolrood is a partner and senior litigator with Lawson Lundell LLP in Vancouver. His practice is particularly focused on commercial disputes, pension and benefit matters, and health and public law. He is the past chair of the B.C. Law Institute and a frequent commentator on legal affairs for various local and national news organizations. Skolrood is also a former sessional lecturer at the University of Victoria (UVIC) faculty of law and has participated in the UBC advanced advocacy course.

William Westeringh is managing partner of Fasken Martineau's Vancouver office and practises in the areas of product liability, aviation, mining, insurance and commercial litigation. He has served as an adjunct professor at UBC's law faculty and as an instructor for the Law Society of B.C.'s professional and legal training course, and has been a supervising lawyer for the Law Students Legal Advice Program.

Carmen Joy Rogers is Crown counsel for the B.C. Ministry of Justice's criminal justice branch, and many of her cases involve evolving areas of criminal law. Rogers is an elected officer for CBABC and has also been involved with the CBA's national international development program, the national criminal justice section, and the CBABC law student mentorship program.

Anthony Avery Vecchio is a partner at Slater Vecchio LLP in Vancouver. He has been a chairperson, host and speaker at many legal seminars on a wide variety of topics related to the practise of personal injury law. Vecchio is a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and is a regular speaker at TLABC conferences and continuing legal education programs.

Robert Parvis Pirooz serves as general counsel and director for Pan American Silver Corp. and director and officer of Anfield Nickel Corp., as well as several other Lumina Group companies. He brings more than 20 years of legal experience focused in the mining sector. He is a past-executive committee member of the Vancouver Bar Association and guest lecturer for the B.C. professional legal training course.

J. Douglas Eastwood both defends and prosecutes civil actions on behalf of the provincial government as a senior litigation lawyer for the B.C. Ministry of Justice. Active in the community, Eastwood is chair of the Justice Institute of British Columbia's board of governors, as well as being a long-time board member of the Lawyer Assistance Program and the Last Door Recovery Society. He has also served as a member designate for the B.C. Council of Human Rights and as a strategic advisor to B.C.'s deputy attorney general.

Palbinder Kaur Shergill has served as general legal counsel for the World Sikh Organization for the last 21 years on a pro bono basis. She also is consulting counsel for national and international organizations and individuals in the area of human rights. She is a sought after speaker and an active participant in the Sikh communities on a local, national and international level.

Jennifer Mary Isabel Duncan is a senior Crown prosecutor in the criminal appeals and special prosecutions office of the B.C. Ministry of Justice and has been involved in legal education and the practice of criminal law for more than two decades. She participates as an ad hoc instructor for the UBC moot program and has served on the Law Society of B.C.'s discipline committee.

Hubert Lai has distinguished himself as leading counsel in his role as UBC's chief legal officer, providing strategic legal advice and a full range of legal services to the university. He has served since 1994 as director and officer of UBC Research Enterprises, as a volunteer faculty member for the CLEBC, and as a member of the Legal Information Systems and Technologies Foundation.

Mary Templeton Ainslie serves as Crown counsel with the B.C. Ministry of Justice's criminal justice branch. She has been a member of the CBABC's legal aid committee since 2008, has served as an adjunct professor at UBC's faculty of law, and is regularly asked to write and present for the CLEBC.

Sharon Denise Matthews is a partner at Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman in Vancouver, focusing her practice on aviation, product liability, public law and class actions. She has been actively involved with the CBA for more than a decade, and served as president of the CBABC in 2011-12. Matthews was also involved in developing the Public Commission on Legal Aid, and has authored, co-authored and presented a number of articles and papers.

Clinton Jean Sadlemyer joined B.C.'s Crown counsel in August 2012, with an extensive background in criminal practice. He served for five terms as president of the Nanaimo County Bar Association, with a strong commitment to the CBABC Benevolent Society. He previously served as chair of the Court Services Committee for the CBABC, chair of the membership committee, and as a member of the Legal Service Society's criminal tariff committee.

Angus MacLeod Gunn is a litigation partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP's Vancouver office, practising in the area of commercial litigation with an emphasis on civil appeals and commercial arbitration. He serves as director of and volunteer co-ordinator for the Access Pro Bono Society of B.C. Gunn has taught the administrative law course at UBC's faculty of law since 1999, has volunteered for the CLEBC as a course chair, presenter, and course materials author, and has also served as a guest instructor for the professional legal training course.


James Beresford
Ministry of Justice
250 387-8119
778 679-8646 (cell)