New Society leadership: President Jill Perry

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Jill PerryThe Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society is pleased to introduce its new leadership for the coming year.

Jill Perry of Sydney assumed the position of President for 2015-2016 during the Society’s 2015 Annual Meeting, held June 13 at Cape Breton University. Joining her as Officers are First Vice-President R. Daren Baxter QC TEP of Halifax, and Second Vice-President Julia Cornish QC of Dartmouth.

Ms. Perry is the Managing Lawyer (Family) with Nova Scotia Legal Aid in Sydney, where she has worked as a staff lawyer since 2001. 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, followed by her service as First Vice-President over the past year.

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 the Society’s Council, from 2005 to 2011. Among other committee work, he spent 11 years on the Finance Committee, six of those years as its Chair.

Ms. Cornish is a Partner at Sealy Cornish Coulthard, which she co-founded in 1999, and is well attuned to the issues and concerns of small firms and private practitioners. She has been an active volunteer on a national scale with other legal organizations, and with the Society for almost two decades – including the Professional Standards (Family Law) Committee since 2007, and the Bar Examination Screening Committee for the past 18 years. 

Keynote address and professional development program
Jeff Hirsch, Vice President and President-Elect of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, provided the Annual Meeting's keynote address, “Access to Justice – Core Business for Law Societies.” He discussed why it is crucial for legal regulators to be addressing the public’s need for greater access to legal services and the justice system. He also explored why access to justice means much more than simply access to courts or pro bono legal services, and requires broader and innovative thinking about how legal services are delivered and by whom.

Note: Videotapes of Ms. Perry's inaugural address and Mr. Hirsch's keynote address are available on the Society’s YouTube channel

A Past President of the Law Society of Manitoba, Mr. Hirsch represents the Federation on Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, and chairs the Federation’s Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services. He practises in Winnipeg as a partner with Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP. 

The Annual Meeting and keynote were followed by a two-hour professional development component that featured a cultural competence session with lawyer Tuma Young, Associate Professor, Indigenous Studies at CBU (and newly elected Council member for NSBS), titled "L’nuwi’tasimk: A Foundational Worldview of Mi’kmaq Legal Principles." Other CPD sessions addressed legal research; changes in the Code of Professional Conduct; and claims trends and the importance of retainer letters and file documentation.