Distinguished Service Award (DSA)
The Society’s Distinguished Service Award, established in 1999, recognizes outstanding lawyers who have contributed significantly to their community, the legal profession and to the Society. Both lawyers and members of the public may submit nominations.
The Distinguished Service Award Committee reviews the nominations and makes a recommendation to Council based on these considerations:
- Integrity: The recipient is of unimpeachably good character, with a reputation for the highest professional integrity.
- Professional achievement: The recipient is amongst the leaders in the practice of law or the academic realm.
- Service to the profession: The recipient has made long-term, exceptional volunteer contributions to elevate the legal profession
- Community service: The recipient is an outstanding contributor to the community, through volunteer service and a commitment to making the world a better place.
- Reform: The recipient has made an outstanding contribution to the betterment of the law or the improvement of the justice system.
- Overall: The recipient espouses the highest ideals of the legal profession and is a person to whom all members of the profession can look for inspiration.
Recent Distinguished Service Award recipients:
- 2023 – Raymond Wagner, KC
- 2022 – Shawna Paris-Hoyte O.N.S., KC
- 2021 – Malcolm Jeffcock QC
- 2020 – John Rafferty QC
2019 – Lee Cohen QC
2018 – Lawrence (Larry) K. Evans QC
2017 – Bruce Wildsmith QC
2016 – Gail Rudderham Chernin QC
2015 – Ron J. MacDonald QC
2014 – Heather Ann McNeill QC
2013 – Marjorie A. Hickey QC
2012 – Edwin C. Harris QC
2011 – Robert (Robbie) G. MacKeigan QC
2010 – Anne Malick QC
2008 – Innis M. Christie QC
2007 – Daniel M.Campbell QC
2006 – Bruce MacIntosh QC
2005 – Robert L. Barnes QC
2004 – Catherine Walker QC
2003 – Roberta Clarke QC
2002 – Harry Wrathall QC
2001 – Ronald Downie QC
2000 – R. Lorne MacDougall QC
Award for Mi’kmaq & Indigenous Peoples Excellence in the Legal Profession (AMIE)
The Award for Mi’kmaq & Indigenous Peoples Excellence in the Legal Profession (AMIE), established in 2022, recognizes outstanding Mi’kmaq and Indigenous lawyers within Nova Scotia who have contributed to their community, their Nation, the legal profession and to the Society.
The AMIE Committee reviews nominations and make recommendations to Council based on the following criteria:
- The Nominee is a Mi’kmaw or Indigenous lawyer (practising or non practising) within Nova Scotia.
- Community Service: The recipient contributes and shows commitment to the Mi’kmaq & Indigenous community through volunteer work.
- Reform: The recipient has made and continues to advocate for reform and change in the justice system to ensure substantive equity for the Mi’kmaq communities and Indigenous peoples living in Nova Scotia.
- Leadership: The recipient is a community leader in striving for change.
- Mentorship: The recipient is a mentor to other Mi’kmaq and Indigenous lawyers.
- Overall: The recipient has a career in advancing Mi’kmaq and Indigenous rights and legal traditions.
NSBS Presidents’ Leadership Award
This award emphasizes the importance of leadership in a lawyer’s career and honours the exemplary volunteer commitment and leadership of Past Presidents to the work of the Society.
Established by Past Presidents Philip J. Star QC and Catherine S. Walker QC, the award is presented each year at the Schulich School of Law to a graduating student who, in the eyes of the teaching faculty, has “exemplified consistent leadership qualities while at law school.”
Recent Presidents’ Leadership Award recipients:
- 2023 – Cierra Mateo and Leandra Bouman
- 2022 – Shaniqwa Thomas
- 2021 – Mukisa Kakembo
- 2020 – Sydney Hull
Race and the Law Essay Prize
This award recognizes and encourages outstanding scholarship by law students in Nova Scotia, on topics pertaining specifically to issues of race and law. The Society’s Racial Equity Committee presents the award and Stewart McKelvey sponsors the award.
Recent Race and the Law Essay Prize recipients
- 2023 Prize Recipient – Keita Szemok-Uto for “Conflicting Decisions: Why the Privy Council Drifted from Precedent in Deciding Cunningham v Homma” (Read Paper – PDF)
- 2022 Prize Recipient – Michael Michel for “Indigenous Self-Government and Criminal Law: The Path Towards Concurrent Jurisdiction in Canada” (Read Paper – PDF)
2021 Prize Recipient – Maeve McCabe for “Black Femininity and the Erasure of African Nova Scotian Women and their Victimhood in Our Criminal Justice System” (Read Paper – PDF)
2020 Prize Recipient– Mukisa Kakembo, for “Name it, Then Change it: Addressing Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian Criminal Justice System” (Read Paper – PDF)
2019 Prize Recipient– Julianne Stevenson, for “Challenging Whiteness: The Role for Law Societies and Critical Race Theory in Addressing Unrepresentative Juries in Canada” (Read Paper – PDF)
2018 Prize Recipient – D’Arcy Leitch, for “The Constitutionality of Classification: Aboriginal Overrepresentation and Security Policy in Canadian Federal Penitentiaries” (Read Paper – PDF)
King’s Counsel Appointment Process
In the fall of each year the Advisory Committee on King’s Counsel Appointments, chaired by the Honourable Justice Cindy A. Bourgeois, considers candidates for the next King’s Counsel appointments. The KC designation is awarded each year to members of the legal profession to recognize exceptional merit and outstanding contribution to the legal community.
2023 King’s Counsel appointments and nominations are currently open. Please read the note and criteria here.
Notary Public Process
Practising lawyers in Nova Scotia may apply to be a notary public.
A notary can complete a variety of legal processes and documents including administering oaths, taking and receiving affidavits, and certifying photocopied documents to be true copies of the originals.
The Nova Scotia Department of Justice maintains the Roll of Notaries and issues an official “notary scroll,” authorizing a lawyer to act as a notary public. The Society supports to the Department of Justice by overseeing the application process for Society members.
It can take up to eight weeks for applications to be processed and scrolls to be issued. Lawyers are not permitted to notarize any documents until they have received their scroll. Additionally, neither the Society nor the Department of Justice provides stamps or seals.
Non-practising and retired lawyers can continue to notarize documents and swear affidavits. Generally, your notary commission and your ability to take an oath as a lawyer do not expire unless you resign or are disbarred.