Awards and congratulatory messages
2015 Distinguished Service Award: Ron J. MacDonald QC

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Ron J. MacDonald QCThe Society is pleased to announce that Ron J. MacDonald QC is the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Service Award. Established in 1999, the award is presented to a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society who has made significant contributions to the community, the legal profession and the Society.

Mr. MacDonald is a practising lawyer and Director of the province’s Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT). Called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1985, he has spent his career working within the province’s criminal justice system, initially as defence counsel for six years. He then spent 17 years in Antigonish as a Crown attorney before becoming a criminal law policy advisor at the Nova Scotia Department of Justice. During his time as a policy advisor, he was involved in several initiatives that resulted in legislative changes at both the federal and provincial levels.

He was President of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society during the 2005-2006 Council term, and is the current Chair of the Society's Professional Standards (Criminal) Committee. He was a member of Council for much of the 1990s and also in 2000-2001, and has served on numerous Society committees. He was also President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada in 2010-2011, after representing Nova Scotia on the Federation Council from 2004-2009. 

Mr. MacDonald's extensive community service has also included volunteer efforts such as coaching girls’ softball and mens’ high school and university basketball, chairing community boards, working at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and helping to create the first Sexual Assault Response Team in Antigonish. He was awarded the National Heads of Prosecutions Humanitarian Award in 2007 to recognize his contributions.

The Distinguished Service Award was presented on September 18 at the Society’s annual Recognition Reception. The reception is an annual opportunity for the Society to honour lawyers and law students for their contributions that demonstrate the profession’s commitment to excellence and public service.

Several other achievements were also honoured:
  • Long service recognition: Gerald Regan QC will receive his 60-year practising certificate;
  • The 2015 NSBS Presidents’ Leadership Award: Rohan Rajpal, now articling with McInnes Cooper, received this award for leadership qualities and volunteer efforts while attending the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University; and
  • The 2015 Race and the Law Essay Prize: Robin Vernest of Antigonish, currently articling with Cox & Palmer, received the seventh annual prize for her paper, "Land: Inherent to Indigenous Sovereignty – The Crown must honour their solemn promises.” 
  • NSBS Presidents’ Leadership Summer Internship: Kathleen Tanner, now in her second year at the Schulich School of Law, spent this past summer as an intern with Bangladesh Legal Aid Services and Trust (BLAST) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.