Awards & Appointments


Distinguished Service Award

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 through work with one or more of the following: the Society, the justice system, legal scholarship or otherwise.
  • 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. 

The 2019 Distinguished Service Award recipient was Lee Cohen QC. 

Recent Distinguished Service Award recipients: 

  • 2018 – Lawrence (Larry) K. Evans QC 
  • 2017 – Bruce Wildsmith QC 
  • 2016 – Gail Rudderham Chernin QC 

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 

  • 2020 – Sydney Hull
  • 2019 – David Slipp
  • 2018 – Nico J. Jones 
  • 2017 – Ria Guidone 
  • 2016 – Marc Njoh 

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: 

  • 2019 – Julianne Stevenson, for “Challenging Whiteness: The Role for Law Societies and Critical Race Theory in Addressing Unrepresentative Juries in Canada” (Read Paper
  • 2018 – D’Arcy Leitch, for “The Constitutionality of Classification: Aboriginal Overrepresentation and Security Policy in Canadian Federal Penitentiaries” (Read Paper)
  • 2017 – Rosalea Thompson, for “Remembering as Solidarity with the Past: Legal Mechanisms for Protecting African Nova Scotian Sacred Places”


Queen’s Counsel Appointment Process

In the fall of this year the Advisory Committee on Queen’s Counsel Appointments, chaired by the Honourable Justice Cindy A. Bourgeois, will consider candidates for the next Queen’s Counsel appointments.

The QC designation is awarded each year to members of the legal profession to recognize exceptional merit and outstanding contribution to the legal community. 

The criteria are outlined in the information form.

To be considered as a candidate for a Queen’s Counsel appointment, you must apply pursuant to the request of a given year. The Committee will not consider applications or nominations from previous years. 

Please do not fax or send these forms to the Society.

Please mail or courier theses forms to:
Advisory Committee on Queen’s Counsel Appointments
c/o The Honourable Justice Cindy A. Bourgeois
The Law Courts, 1815 Upper Water Street
Halifax NS  B3J 1S7

The deadline for applications and nominations is 4:00 pm on Wednesday September 30, 2020.

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.