Law Society recognizes excellence in the legal profession

  • December 11, 2017

From left to right are Richard Strahl, Jennifer Chow, QC, President Herman Van Ommen, QC and Trudi Brown, QC.

Members of British Columbia’s legal profession were recognized for their exceptional career achievements and contributions to their communities on December 8, 2017, at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The Law Society of British Columbia congratulates recipients of the Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Award, the Law Society Excellence in Family Law Award and the Law Society Award for Leadership in Legal Aid.

“These awards offer an opportunity to recognize the excellent work that’s being done, and to thank those lawyers who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment, not only to the profession, but to the members of the public whom they serve,” said Law Society President Herman Van Ommen, QC.

Law Society Excellence in Family Law Award

This year’s recipient, Trudi Brown, QC, was called to the bar in 1974 and is a partner at Brown Henderson Melbye in Victoria. She is a family law mediator and arbitrator, as well as a member of the BC Hear the Child Society and a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

“Trudi is a trailblazer in family law in this province. She has led by example through her passionate interest in the practice of family law, her innovation in the delivery of legal services and her dedication to the reform of family justice processes and legal education,” said Nancy Merrill, QC, second vice-president and chair of the Law Society Excellence in Family Law Award Selection Committee.

Law Society Award for Leadership in Legal Aid

This year’s recipient, Richard Strahl, was called to the bar in 1988 and practises criminal defence in the East Kootenay. He has routinely appeared throughout the whole of the East and West Kootenay on behalf of legal aid clients and acted pro bono for people challenged by the court process.

“Rick is known throughout the Kootenay region as ethical, diligent and an excellent advocate for his clients. Judges appreciate the advice he provides to the court as well as to those in need. Lawyers know him, not only as a tireless advocate, but also as a friendly and affable individual with a certain charm that makes him one of those people everyone likes,” said Sarah Westwood, chair of the Law Society Award for Leadership in Legal Aid Selection Committee.

Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Award

This year’s recipient, Jennifer Chow, QC, was called to the bar in 1990 and is a senior legal counsel and team leader for the Department of Justice in Vancouver. As the first visible minority president of the Canadian Bar Association’s BC Branch, she spearheaded efforts to acknowledge diversity and nurture inclusion in the profession in this province.

“Through perseverance and dedication, Jennifer has helped move diversity and inclusion to the top of the agenda for change in the legal profession, and she is an inspiration to all of us,” said Jamie Maclaren, chair of the Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Award Selection Committee.

The Law Society regulates the more than 11,000 practising lawyers in the province. It does so by setting standards of professional responsibility for BC lawyers and articled students, and by upholding those standards through a complaints and discipline process. These standards and processes are important to maintain public confidence and trust in lawyers, and to ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.

Read the official press release from the Law Society of BC