New Society leadership: Inaugural address by President Tilly Pillay QC

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society is pleased to introduce its new leadership for the 2014-2015 year.

Tilly Pillay QC of Halifax assumed the position of President during the Society’s 2014 Annual Meeting, held on Saturday, June 14 at the Schulich School of Law. Joining her as Officers are First Vice-President Jill Perry, of Sydney, and Second Vice-President R. Daren Baxter QC TEP of Halifax.

A videotape of Ms. Pillay’s inaugural address, "Turning the Corner," is available on the Society’s YouTube channel. She chose that title "because I believe the Society, as regulator of the profession, is about to turn the corner and go down a different road," she told about 160 lawyers who attended the meeting. The year ahead is all about "forward momentum" and building on the foundation set by the Strategic Framework a year ago.

"Council now needs to take concrete steps to move us into the next phase ... making decisions about what kind of regulatory model we should adopt in Nova Scotia, and refining the role of the Society in access to justice initiatives," she said.

"Next year I hope to be back here to report to you that we have indeed turned the corner and that we know what the road ahead looks like."

Ms. Pillay also shared personal reflections on South Africa. She was born there during Apartheid, moving to Canada as a child but returning to visit relatives a number of times. She recalled a mortifying trek to a popular hamburger outlet with her mother and cousins, who were told to use the back alley entrance because the front door was "for whites only." 

Years later on a visit with her husband, a beautiful beach triggered an emotional response "because I was not allowed to walk on that beach as a five-year-old kid," said the mother of two. "I share that with you because this helps to inform the person I have become, as well as my leadership of the Society."

Ms. Pillay is the Director of Litigation and Co-Executive Director of the Legal Services Division for the provincial Department of Justice. Elected to Council as Second Vice-President in April 2012, she previously served as a member of Council from 2007 to 2009, and on a number of Society committees. She worked as a staff lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid after her Bar admission in 1990, joining the Department of Justice in 1995.

Ms. Perry is the Managing Lawyer (Family) with Nova Scotia Legal Aid in Sydney, where she has worked as a staff lawyer since 2001, the year of her Bar admission. She was first elected to Council in 2007 as a member for Cape Breton District, completing three terms in that position before her election as Second Vice-President in April 2013.

Mr. Baxter is a Partner at McInnes Cooper’s Halifax office, and a member of the firm’s board of directors and its Tax, Estate Planning and Cross-Border practice groups. A member of the Nova Scotia Bar since 1992, Mr. Baxter previously served three consecutive terms as an elected member of Council, from 2005 to 2011. Among other committee work, he spent 11 years on the Society's Finance Committee, six of those years as its Chair. 

2014 Annual Meeting and Professional Development Program 
Jordan Furlong of provided the event's keynote remarks, titled "Weathering the Storm: Navigating to Safe Harbours in the 21st Century Legal Market." Mr. Furlong is a strategic consultant and analyst who forecasts the impact of the changing legal market on lawyers, law firms and legal organizations. 

The AGM and keynote were followed by a two-hour professional development component that featured “Opportunities for innovation in your practice: An action plan,” and “Reaching new frontiers in the legal services marketplace with your ethical responsibilities intact.” Other sessions addressed client-centred lawyering, the new Family Homes on Reserves and the Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, “Trans-formations” in the law, and cost-effective approaches to legal research (see slides with legal research tips from the session).

On Friday, June 13 at the Society's offices, Mr. Furlong led an in-depth discussion with lawyers on how the regulatory framework can support innovation in delivery of legal practice. Watch for a recap of that session in the next edition of InForum