2023 Council Election: Message from NSBS President Melanie Petrunia

Dear NSBS Member,

As the governing body for the profession, Council approves the Society’s Strategic Framework, sets the Society’s policies, and oversees the regulation of the profession. To do this, the Society requires committed, diverse, and effective leadership on Council.

Council members lead the Society and lend their voices and unique insights to decisions that impact Nova Scotia’s legal profession. Over the next few years, Council will build on our efforts to increase access to legal services for the public, and to ensure that Nova Scotians are served by a legal profession that is diverse, inclusive and culturally competent. The incoming council members will help create our new strategic plan.

Council needs individuals who have experience or are committed to working in such areas as regulation, governance, and access to justice or equity matters, who are strategic thinkers with strong communication skills, who come from diverse backgrounds and areas of practice, who are of unquestionable integrity and respectful of others, and who may have held leadership roles in other organizations (e.g., board member, mentor, volunteer coach, etc.).

I urge all lawyers to consider running for Council and taking on one of the most important roles we have to ensure continued self-governance of an independent legal profession.

I was first elected to Council in 2019 as a member-at-large. I was compelled to become more involved after returning to private practice and seeing the impact of the access to justice crisis in this province. There are currently many initiatives ongoing to address access to ethical and competent legal services.

I am encouraged by the changes that I have seen at the Society and by the current strategic direction of Council. New Council members will have the opportunity to build on the work of the last few years and ensure that the Society continues to regulate the profession in the public interest in a proactive, principled and proportionate manner.

Here is an overview of the 2023 Council Election:

District Elections
Ten Council members will be elected across the province – two each in Cape Breton, Central, and Southwestern Districts, and four from the Halifax District. Practising lawyers in each district are eligible to vote for candidates in their own districts.

Nominations for the District Elections are open from Thursday, January 26 to Wednesday, February 15th. If an election is required, it will take place from Monday, March 6  until Monday, March 20. Lawyers practising in each district may be nominated by submitting a Nomination Form – District Elections.

At Large Election
This second phase of the election is for three member-at-large Council positions following the District Elections.

Nominations are open from Monday, March 20until Monday, April 3, with the election running from Friday, April 17 until Monday, April 24 if required. All lawyers and non-practising members in the province are eligible and may be nominated by submitting a Nomination Form – At Large Elections.

2023-2024 Council Meetings
Currently Council meetings take place in-person with a hybrid option, and a schedule of the upcoming meetings is posted. All new and returning Council members will also be expected to attend the Council Orientation scheduled in May and the Society’s Annual Meeting on June 17.

Learn more about the election & Council

If you have questions about the election process or require assistance, please email [email protected].Your message will be returned within two business days.
I also invite you to contact me directly at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Melanie Petrunia
NSBS President