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New Society leadership: President Frank E. DeMont QC

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Frank DeMont QC

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society welcomed its new leadership for the coming year during the 2018 NSBS Annual Meeting and Professional Development Program, which took place on Saturday, June 16 at the Schulich School of Law.

Frank E. DeMont QC of New Glasgow assumed the position of President for 2018-2019, providing his inaugural address following a year-end report from Julia Cornish QC, President for 2017-2018. Executive Director Tilly Pillay QC tabled the 2018 NSBS Annual Report, available on the Society’s website at nsbs.org/annual-reports.  

Joining Mr. DeMont as Officers are John Bodurtha of Halifax, serving as First Vice-President, and Carrie Ricker of Halifax, who is Second Vice-President for the year ahead.

In his address, Mr. DeMont outlined priorities for the year ahead, such as further work on trust account reform, legal services support, the new succession planning requirement, outcomes measurement, and a heightened focus on equity issues and access to legal services. He also wondered how the practice of law will evolve in the years ahead, for current law school graduates and the 62 new lawyers admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar on June 15.

“It will be, I expect, very different from my experience 27 years ago, and my father’s 62 years ago and my grandfather’s almost 100 years ago,” he told more than 100 lawyers attending the meeting.

“I can’t imagine my grandfather’s reaction to questions about security protocols for storage of his files ‘in the cloud’. This is the changing environment in which the Society regulates lawyers. We must continually be looking over the horizon to see what’s next – where are the challenges coming from, what are the opportunities? How do we provide the promised protection of the public? How do we support lawyers in this environment?”

Frank DeMont QC is a sole practitioner at DeMont Law, with a current focus on his arbitration and mediation practice in both labour and commercial matters. He has been New Glasgow’s Town Solicitor for over a decade. Previous experience includes being a staff lawyer at Nova Scotia Legal Aid for five years and a partner in a small firm for 11 years. Elected to Council in 2015, he is Chair of the Code of Professional Conduct Committee and also currently serves on the Society’s Executive, Finance and Governance & Nominating Committees. He is a Vice-Chair of the Nova Scotia Labour Board and a member of the Minister’s List of Arbitrators. He has been a board member for the Alternative Dispute Resolution Atlantic Institute (ADRAI), Weeks Hockey Organization and Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League. Read more in his bio.

John Bodurtha is Regional Director and General Counsel of the Tax Law Services Section of the Atlantic Regional Office of the Department of Justice Canada. First elected to Council in 2015, he is Co-Chair of the Society’s Racial Equity Committee and serves on the Executive, Finance, Governance & Nominating and Complaints Investigation Committees. He is the NSBS representative on the Advisory Committee on Provincial Judicial Appointments, and is a Bar Examination Screener and a legal writing instructor for the Skills Course. Mr. Bodurtha is a past member of the Department of Justice Canada Advisory Council for Visible Minorities, and past Chair of the IB&M Initiative Advisory Committee at the Schulich School of Law. He volunteers as a member of the Board of Directors for Dalhousie Legal Aid and as a volunteer coach for the Halifax City Soccer Club. Read more in his bio.

Carrie Ricker is a sole practitioner who provides strategic direction, risk management and legal advice to corporate, public sector and individual clients in the areas of health law, employment law, business law, privacy and confidentiality, and intellectual property law. She began her career as a litigation associate with Stewart McKelvey and was Senior Legal Counsel to the former Capital District Health Authority for nearly a decade. Since 2015, she has served on the Society’s Legal Services Regulation Solo & Small Firm Working Group, and now serves on the Executive, Finance, Governance & Nominating and Complaints Investigation Committees. Ms. Ricker represented Nova Scotia on the Canadian Bar Association’s National Council and was an executive member of CBA’s Nova Scotia branch. She is Chair of the Board of Directors for Shakespeare By The Sea and also volunteers with the Nova Scotia Artists' Legal Information Society, and as a mentor with LIANS and the Dalhousie Association of Women and the Law. Read more in her bio.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Focus on clients, equity and diversity

The 2018 Annual Meeting featured two keynotes. The Honourable J. Michael MacDonald, Chief Justice of Nova Scotia and Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, discussed ongoing efforts to encourage diversity on the Bench, and public engagement work toward enhancing access to justice for marginalized communities. A riveting keynote panel discussion shared views from clients who had previous experience with the justice system: Rodney Small of Common Good Solutions (a.k.a. “RDS”) and Paul Elliott from Moose Cree First Nation. Council member Sheree Conlon QC of Stewart McKelvey moderated and Alisha Brown-Fagan provided perspectives as a lawyer with the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission.

Following the keynotes was a professional development program that offered these educational workshops:

  • TRC – How to put the calls to action to work in your practice; Josie McKinney, Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service
  • Protecting your client’s privacy; David Fraser, McInnes Cooper
  • Opening a new law firm; Jennifer Pink, NSBS Legal Services Support Manager and Rosalie Francis, R. Francis Law
  • NSBS Diversity Standard / Guidelines for trans* and gender-variant clients; Susanne Litke, Dalhousie Legal Aid Service; and Jane Willwerth, NSBS Officer, Equity & Access