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New Society leadership: President Julia Cornish QC

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Julia Cornish QCThe Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society welcomed its new leadership for the coming year during the 2017 NSBS Annual Meeting, which took place on June 17 at the Schulich School of Law.

Julia Cornish QC of Bedford assumed the position of President for 2017-2018, providing her inaugural address following a year-end report from R. Daren Baxter QC, TEP, President for 2016-2017. (Note: A video of Ms. Cornish's address will be available here shortly.) Executive Director Darrel Pink tabled the 2017 NSBS Annual Report, which is now available on the Society's website at, along with a summary version.

Joining Ms. Cornish as Officers are Frank E. DeMont QC of New Glasgow, who serves as First Vice-President, and Christa Brothers QC of Halifax, who is Second Vice-President for the year ahead.

Ms. Cornish is a Partner at the downtown Dartmouth firm Sealy Cornish Coulthard, which she co-founded in 1999. Nationally recognized in the area of family law, she is a Past President of the Canadian Bar Association’s Nova Scotia branch, chaired CBA’s Family Law sections provincially and nationally, and also served CBA’s national committee on ethics and professional responsibility. She has been an active volunteer with the Society for two decades – for many years on the Professional Standards (Family Law) and Bar Examination Screening Committees. She was the Society’s First Vice-President over the past year. Among other recent committee work, Ms. Cornish chairs the Solo and Small Firm Working Group that is helping to shape the new model of legal services regulation in Nova Scotia.

Mr. DeMont is a sole practitioner at DeMont Law. His current focus is municipal and corporate/commercial law, with a growing arbitration and mediation practice in both labour and commercial matters. Elected to Council in 2015, Frank is Chair of the Society’s Code of Professional Conduct Committee, and has served on the Governance & Nominating Committee since 2013. He is also currently a member of the Complaints Investigation and Finance Committees, and spent nine years as a Society-appointed representative on the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission. 

Ms. Brothers has practised with Stewart McKelvey since 1999, became a Partner in 2006, and has been a member of the firm’s Partnership Board since 2013. She was an elected member of Council for Halifax District for three consecutive terms, from 2009 through 2015. Ms. Brothers is Chair of the Society’s Complaints and Investigation Committee (CIC), a position she has held since 2014. Among other committee work, she has been a member of the Court of Appeal Liaison, Credentials and Gender Equity Committees and was Chair of the Court of Appeal Liaison Committee.

Professional development: “Collaborating on the future of the legal profession”
The 2017 Annual Meeting included a keynote address by Don Thompson QC, Executive Director and CEO of the Law Society of Alberta since 2001. In the national sphere, Mr. Thompson is a key player in a number of initiatives of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. He played an instrumental role in developing the National Mobility Agreement and participates in the National Committee on Accreditation, Requirements for Canadian Law Degrees and the National Admissions Standards project.

In his keynote address, Mr. Thompson discussed the implications for the legal profession of regulation in the new reality. Lawyers now practise across the province, around the region and nationally. Together with new legal service providers and the growth of online legal services, this reality presents both significant challenges and opportunities for legal services regulation.

Following the keynote was a two-hour professional development component that asked lawyers to select two sessions each from among four possible educational workshops. This year, all four workshops focused on the Society’s Professional Standards: for criminal law, family law, law office management and real estate law. The sessions are led by members of the Professional Standards Committees.

See the complete program (PDF) and find out more about the 2017 NSBS Annual Meeting and Professional Development Program.