The Canadian Bar Association Honours Exceptional BC Lawyers

  • June 25, 2008

VANCOUVER – Whether they’re improving the status of historically marginalized communities, supporting access to justice for the poor, or tirelessly volunteering for charitable organizations, lawyers are making a difference across BC. The Canadian Bar Association BC Branch (CBABC) recognizes the many unsung heroes in the legal profession who are quietly improving communities, and proudly congratulates the nominated recipients of the following awards:

Community Service Awards
Five Lawyers received this award – the highest honour provided by the CBABC in recognition of community involvement and contributions outside of the practice of law.

Theresa Arsenault, Pushor Mitchell LLP, Kelowna
Ms. Arsenault receives the Community Service Award in recognition of the positive impact she has had on her community by actively promoting the increased provision of post secondary education. She was instrumental in the formation of the “Friends of Okanagan College”, an organization that successfully campaigned to have the College Okanagan to granted degree-giving status.

In his letter recommending Ms. Arsenault for this award former Mayor of Kelowna Walter Gray wrote, “Theresa and her team were successful in bringing to Kelowna a new era for post secondary education, and this was of benefit for not only Kelowna, but for all of the satellite campuses throughout the Okanagan Valley”.

Perry Ehrlich, Kahn Zack Ehrlich Lithwick, Vancouver
Mr. Ehrlich is being honoured for his tireless dedication to the Vancouver music theatre training program, “Gotta Sing/Gotta Dance”. Both founder and director of the program, Mr. Ehrlich has been able to balance his busy legal practice with his love of musical theatre and working with children.

Billy Garton who, along with two others, nominated Mr. Ehrlich for this award says “In running this program Perry brings great credit to our profession and to the people he works with, volunteer and otherwise. Many of the students (including my son) have gone on to careers in music, theatre, dance and other performing arts.”

James Legh, Stevenson Luchies & Legh, Victoria
James Legh’s exceptional, decades long contributions as a volunteer with the Scouting movement are being recognized with this Award.

Mr. Legh’s nominators wrote “Jim’s involvement has not been one year only. He has been an active leader, continuously since his work as an assistant cub leader in 1975. For over 30 years he has worked with youth both in Manitoba and British Columbia … Hundreds of people today are able to credit Jim with instilling valuable skills that they are able to carry with them throughout their lives.”

Suzette Narbonne, Narbonne Law Office, Prince Rupert
Recipient Suzette Narbonne is recognized for devoting herself to promotion of physical fitness in her community. An accomplished marathon runner in her own right, Ms. Narbonne is lauded by her nominators as “a positive role model to others in the community and is relentless in her efforts to encourage and facilitate 'running' in her County.”

Ms. Narbonne is a sole practitioner in Prince Rupert, where, in addition to practicing criminal law and human rights law, she provides assistance to community groups in the understanding of human rights legislation and tribunals, employment rights and gender issues.

Linda Robertson, North Vancouver
Ms. Robertson, a Lawyer Coach and Practice Consultant based in the Lower Mainland, is being awarded the Community Service Award in recognition for her work with the Anglican Church of Canada, Diocese of New Westminster, commitment to CBABC’s Women Lawyer forum and her invaluable support for a diverse range of education and community organisations.

In her letter recommending Ms. Roberstson for this award, The Honourable S.D. Frame, Provincial Court Judge says “There can be no question that her efforts on behalf of the legal community are invaluable. The (Women Lawyers) Forum programmes are very successful and have assisted many young (and senior) lawyers.

CBABC Equality and Diversity Award
Valli Chettiar of the Vancouver firm Valli Chettiar Law Corporation is the recipient of this award, which celebrates the accomplishments of a lawyer who has succeeded in advancing equality in the legal profession or generally in BC. The award recognizes significant contributions to improving the status of women, people with disabilities, people of colour, Aboriginal people or peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or two-spirited people or people who are members of historically marginalized communities.

Sandra Jakab, Director, Capital Markets Regulation, British Columbia Securities Commission says that Ms. Chettiar is “one of British Columbia’s strongest leaders on Equity and diversity issues. Valli leads us by living, teaching, and fighting for equity for all Canadians at every opportunity.”

Harry Rankin QC Pro Bono Award
This award is given in recognition of the immense contribution of Harry Rankin, QC in supporting access to justice for the poor. It recognizes outstanding contributions by a lawyer in the area of pro bono work.

Recipient Angus Gunn, Partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Vancouver has worked tirelessly to provide pro bono legal services to clients, and, through his own leadership example, has contributed immensely to the promotion of pro bono culture among lawyers.

Ryan W. Parsons of Borden Ladner Gervais says “Angus tirelessly supports access to justice for the poor through his provision of pro bono legal services notwithstanding the demands of a busy litigation practice. He strongly encourages colleagues here at BLG to engage in pro bono work and promotes generally pro bono initiatives here at BLG.”

President’s Medal
This honour is awarded in recognition of one or more of the following: legal academic proficiency; outstanding works of legal scholarship; significant contribution to the profession; or noteworthy contribution to Canadian public life.

Arlene H. Henry, QC is the recipient of the President’s Medal. As a sole practitioner, her solicitor’s career has evolved to focus extensively in the aboriginal law area, including recent participation in self-government implementation and treaty negotiations. Arlene’s history of service with the CBABC is testament to her selfless commitment to promoting a flourishing, accountable and community minded legal profession.

As the Executive Committee Liaison to the Aboriginal Law Student Scholarship Trust (ALSST), Arlene has been the driving force behind the Trust’s conception and highly successful launch in May of this year. The ALSST will establish two annual scholarships for Aboriginal persons to attend law school at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.

Ken Walton, President of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, commented, “Arlene Henry QC worked tirelessly to inspire her committee and encourage them in their fundraising efforts. She was a key ingredient in the marvellous success of this endeavour. CBABC is grateful to her for her hard work and leadership.”



The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization responsible for representing the interests of more than 35,000 members in Canada, including 6,100 lawyers in British Columbia.