Canadian Bar Association

Canadian Bar Association

July 26, 2005 13:19 ET

Media Alert: Canadian Bar Association Honours Exceptional BC Lawyers

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - July 26, 2005) - 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.

Lorianna Bennett, Kamloops

Ms. Bennett receives the Community Service Award in recognition of the impact she has had on her community of Kamloops in the area of fundraising. She has spearheaded the growth of events to raise money for the Royal Inland Hospital Children's Ward, the Hospital's Memorial Fund in the name of Warren Rohrmoser, Kamloops' first hospice home and the University College of the Cariboo Foundation. This year she led the Foundation Gala to its fundraising high watermark of $57,000.

Christopher Doll, North Vancouver

David Morley, Executive Director of Medecins Sans Frontieres, summarized Christopher Doll's contributions to that organization: "Over his time as a volunteer and as a Board member, Mr. Doll has been one of our key volunteers. His contributions and leadership are an important reason our organization has grown into one of the largest international agencies in Canada, and in so doing, has allowed us to send more volunteers and financial support to medical relief programs around the world."

Richard Molstad, New Westminster

Mr. Molstad has volunteered for many organizations including the 3rd Burnaby Mountain Scout Troup, New Westminster Minor Baseball, Royal City Soccer Club, Hyack Festival Association, Queen's Park - Fellburn Hospitals Foundation and St. John Ambulance, where he participates in the governing of 25 branches of the organizations in BC and the Yukon. "With the volunteer commitment of sincere, community minded, well-meaning and generous citizens like Rick Molstad, our community is a better place and St. John Ambulance can continue to offer community services and First Aid Training in British Columbia," said Ann Griffiths, Director of Fund Development, St. John Ambulance.

Alisa Noda, Vancouver

West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) Executive Director Audrey Johnson nominated Ms. Noda for the depth of her commitment to that organization. Alisa served as both a board member and President of LEAF. "Through her superior leadership skills, Alisa has helped the organization overcome some of its most difficult struggles to emerge as a strong, vibrant force in the women's community," said Ms. Johnson.

Gary Wilson, Vancouver

Recipient Gary Wilson of Borden Ladner Gervais in Vancouver is recognized for his contributions to the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS), a non-profit society which provides legal assistance to persons who are disadvantaged by poverty, physical disability or mental illness. Mr. Wilson has overseen and guided CLAS from a small legal aid office to a nationally recognized non-profit law firm that currently has 34 staff and a $2.5 million budget. "Mr. Wilson's time commitment to CLAS has been extraordinary and has involved thousands of hours of volunteer time," said Jim Pozer, CLAS Executive Director.

CBABC Equality and Diversity Award

Halldor Bjarnason of the Vancouver firm Access Law Group 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.

Stella Frame, the Chair of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch's Equality Committee, says, "Mr. Bjarnason has committed much of his time to assisting people with disabilities in both his practice and his volunteer work. He is a committed champion, an athlete, and a very determined and talented person. It is an honour to share a profession with him."

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 Darrell Roberts, QC of Miller Thomson 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.

Wendy Baker says "Mr. Roberts has always encouraged his associates to take on socially meaningful work - he is passionate about the law, and is driven to respond to matters of principle, and of process, which arise in the courts."

President's Medal

Two lawyers received this honour which 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.

Diana Dorey, of the Vancouver law firm Davis & Company

"Whenever the Branch has called on her, Diana Dorey has consistently volunteered her time and considerable talents to the benefit of the legal profession," said President Woodward. "Over her many years of involvement with the CBA, both provincially and nationally, she has contributed an extraordinary amount of energy, skill and dogged determination to any task before her, and has clearly earned the regard of her colleagues and community. We have been very fortunate to count her among our Branch's champions."

Frank C Kraemer, Executive Director of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch

"Although it is highly unusual to award two President's medals in one year, Executive Director Frank Kraemer has led the Branch through its most tumultuous years and we are stronger for his stewardship," said President Woodward. "In the past five years we have weathered incredible challenges, yet the Branch stands in a strong financial position, with improved relations with every justice system partner, improved morale among staff, and impeccable credibility with the government, public and members."

The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization responsible for representing the interests of more than 33,000 members in Canada, including 4,600 lawyers in British Columbia.

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