We’re pleased to announce that Raymond Wagner KC is the recipient of the Society’s 2023 Distinguished Service Award (DSA).
Established in 1999, the Distinguished Service Award is presented to a member who has made significant contributions to their community, the legal profession, and the Society. The Distinguished Service Award Committee reviews nominations based on the nominee’s commitment to integrity, professional achievement, service to the profession, and commitment to reform.
“I am honoured to have been considered for this prestigious award and humbled by having been chosen.
Having travelled across this country and forging relationships with Lawyers in most jurisdictions, I often pronounce how collegial and competent our practicing Bar members are in day to day practice. Practicing with so many competent lawyers in Nova Scotia, underscores the privilege I have of practicing here.”
We often underestimate the importance of our work in the lives of the people we represent. Regardless of the size of the case or the numbers of people we represent, the impact we have on individuals and society in general is often underestimated. The scope and visibility of the work we do varies. However, as lawyers, we have an important role to play in the advancement of our community as a caring and compassionate place to work and play.
I want to thank my nominator and the individuals who took the considerable time to be so kind as to nominate me for this award.
I also want to thank all the individuals that I have had the honour to represent over these many years for their trust in me.”
— Raymond Wagner KC
About Raymond Wagner KC
Raymond F. Wagner, K.C., is the founder and principal of Wagners, a law firm founded in 1982, focusing on personal injury, medical malpractice and class action litigation, exclusively advocating for plaintiffs.
Mr. Wagner obtained his degree in law from Dalhousie Law School in 1979. He was called to the bar of Nova Scotia in 1980.
Mr. Wagner is a compassionate advocate, known for his candor, civility and practical advice. He places value on timely and equitable resolutions for his clients. Mr. Wagner is known for litigating complex, technical and novel issues within his medical negligence and class action work, and he has consistently strived to advance the law on behalf of injured plaintiffs who otherwise would have limited access to justice. He is a frequent contributor and presenter on personal injury, medical malpractice and class action topics at national, regional and international conferences, including for members of the Canadian Bar Association, Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice (of which he is the former chair of the Canadian caucus), Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, the Barreau du Quebec, and university-organized conferences such as the Osgoode Hall Class Action Symposium.
In his extensive involvement with the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Mr. Wagner has been an active member of the Statutory Costs and Fees Committee, the Rules Committee, a subcommittee on Contingency Fee Agreements, and the Nova Scotia Bar and Bench Civil Procedure Rules Committee. Mr. Wagner organized and addressed the first Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Class Action Conference.
Seeing a deficit in plaintiff-side advocacy organizations, Mr. Wagner co-founded the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association (APTLA) in 2001 in order to advance the collaboration and organization of plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Atlantic Provinces. Mr. Wagner is a past president of APTLA and continues to provide significant support to the association.
A recipient of several awards and acknowledgments of his dedication to plaintiffs’ advocacy over his career, most recently Mr. Wagner was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (2021). He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2012. He is a recipient of the Lorne Clarke QC Access to Justice Award (2012), the H. Bruce T. Hillyer Award (2014), one of just five North American finalists for the Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award (2015) and was Lawyer of the Year for Class Action Litigation (Best Lawyers, 2021).
Mr. Wagner has been repeatedly recognized by the peer review publications Lexpert and Best Lawyers. From 1997 to 2012 Mr. Wagner was consistently recommended in the areas of personal injury and medical malpractice. From 2013 to the present, Mr. Wagner has continued to be consistently recommended in these areas of law, in addition to being repeatedly recommended in the area of class actions.
As a firm, Wagners has repeatedly received recognition as a Top 10 Personal Injury Boutique Firm by the Canadian Lawyer Magazine. The firm was presented with the Excellence Award for Atlantic Canada Law Firm of the Year in both 2020 and 2021. Wagners lawyers have also been ranked for many years by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as Leading Practitioners.
With the announcement of the launching of the Restorative Research, Innovation & Education Lab (RRIELab) by the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, Wagners provided significant support in order to further the RRIELab’s goal of transforming justice practices in communities, institutions and organizations across Canada. The first of its kind in the world, the restorative justice lab holds particular significance to Mr. Wagner, who has embraced a restorative justice approach in his class action work, starting with the 2014 landmark settlement for institutional racism in the resolution of a class action brought by former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. This resolution also led to the first Canadian restorative public inquiry. Since that time, Mr. Wagner has applied a restorative justice lens to his work, more recently culminating in an historic $900 million settlement for survivors of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces with a restorative justice, policy-focused element.
Over the years, Mr. Wagner has quietly lent support to various community organizations that align with causes close to his heart, including the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia, the Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Halifax, and Feed Nova Scotia. For 36 years, Mr. Wagner was a soccer coach for players of ages ranging from 4 to 65.
In growing the law firm of Wagners, Mr. Wagner has consciously aimed to provide opportunities for new and historically underrepresented individuals in the profession.