Awards and congratulatory messages
2014 Distinguished Service Award: Heather McNeill QC

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The Society is pleased to announce that Heather Ann McNeill QC will be the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award. Established in 1999, the award is presented to a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society who has made significant contributions to the community, the legal profession and the Society. 

Heather McNeill QCMs. McNeill is a practising lawyer with the Dalhousie Legal Aid Service, where she also supervises law students. As a passionate and effective advocate, Ms. McNeill embodies traditional Aboriginal concepts of respect and sharing with her legal talents to advance the interest of marginalized individuals and communities in Nova Scotia. Through her lawyering at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service, her volunteer work and her leadership in the Mi’kmaq First Nation, she demonstrates a strong personal commitment to putting others first.

Having worked for a decade as a registered nurse prior to her legal career, Ms. McNeill brings a talent for healing in her approaches to dispute resolution and her service to the less fortunate. She distinguishes herself as a mentor of young lawyers, as a role model for Aboriginal youth, and as one who daily manifests the highest ideals of the legal profession.

Her community service includes serving as a member of the Indigenous Blacks & Mi'kmaq Initiative Advisory Council and the IB&M Standing Committee at the Schulich School of Law, and she provides pro bono legal services to individuals through the Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services (ISIS). She is also a board member for the Tawaak Housing Association and the Nova Scotia Health Promotion Clearinghouse, and a member of the Minister's Advisory Committee on Child Welfare. 

A former Commissioner with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, Ms. McNeill has also served on the boards for the Mi'kmaq Justice Institute, the Premier's Task Force on Employment Equity, and the Public Legal Education Society (now known as the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia). She is a former President and board member with the Mi'kmaq Native Friendship Centre, and has also served on the Halifax Regional Police Diversity Project and the Aboriginal Justice Committee.   

At the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, Ms. McNeill currently volunteers as a member of the Fitness to Practise Committee (since June 2012) and the Racial Equity Committee (since June 2009). She also served on the former Legal Ethics Committee, from 1996 to 1999. She was called to the Bar in 1995.

The Distinguished Service Award will be presented on September 19 at the Society’s annual Recognition Reception. For details and RSVP information, see the Upcoming events page: Several other achievements will also be honoured at the reception:

  • 60-Year Certificates to Charlie MacIntosh QC and Edwin LeBlanc QC; and 50-Year Certificates to David F. Curtis QC and David Grant
  • The 2014 NSBS Presidents’ Leadership Award, received by Emilie Coyle upon her graduation from the Schulich School of Law; and the Presidents' Leadership Summer Internship, received by law student Paul Calderhead; and  
  • The 2014 Race and the Law Essay Prize, received by recent Schulich law graduate Meaghan Mahadeo for her paper, “What’s in a name?: An Analysis of the Politics of Band Membership Codes in the Canadian Indigenous Quest for Self-Determination.”
The nomination process for the 2015 Distinguished Service Award will take place early next year; nominations may be submitted by members of the Society and the public.