January InForum

January InForum: 2021 Council Election, 2021-2022 Second Vice-President Nominee, DSA Award Recipient, 2020 Snapshot of Nova Scotia’s Legal Profession & more

Society Nominates Mark Scott QC as 2021-2022 Second Vice-President

The Nominating Committee nominates lawyer Mark Scott QC as the Society’s Second Vice-President for the 2021-2022 Council year.

In making its nomination, the Nominating Committee seeks integrity, respect for others, leadership and communication skills, strategic thinking and consensus building. The Society strives for diversity of leadership with respect to personal characteristics, area of practice and geographic location.

“I am very pleased with the Nominating Committee’s recommendation of Mark Scott QC as the Society’s 2021-2022 Second Vice President,” said the Society’s First Vice-President Tuma Young QC. “After having worked with Mark on various committees, I know he will be an asset to the Society, to the membership and to the public at large. Mark is thoughtful, dedicated, and his skills and experience as a public prosecutor will certainly support the Society as we work to advance our strategic priorities.“

Mark Scott QC graduated with his LLB in 1994 from the University of New Brunswick Law School and was first admitted to the NL Bar in 1995. In 1996, he was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar and he joined Burchell MacDougall in Halifax focusing on criminal defence, appeals and per diem work for both the federal and provincial Crown.

In 1998, Mark was appointed a Crown attorney in the Halifax office of the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service and in 2000 he moved to Special Prosecutions. In July 2019, he was appointed as Chief Crown attorney of the newly merged Appeals and Special Prosecutions Section. Mark received his Queen’s Counsel (QC) designation in February 2016

As a dedicated Society volunteer, Mark serves as a member of the Society’s Criminal Standards Committee and as vice-chair of the Complaints Investigations Committee. He has also assisted the Society by presenting at continuing legal education conferences and evaluating examinations skills at bar admissions courses.

Since June 2020, Mark has been Co-Chair for the National Heads of Prosecutions subcommittee on Preventing Wrongful Convictions. He is also a coach for Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law’s Gale Cup national moot competition and is a Schulich School of Law second year moot judge.

Mark contributes to his community as the Board Chair for the Bayers-Westwood Family Resource Centre, a non-profit centre aimed at providing support for low-income and recent immigrant families in the Bayers-Westwood region of Halifax.

Nominations Open for Second Vice-President

The Second Vice-President holds a key position in governance and continues on to become First Vice-President and then President of the Society.

Additional practising lawyers may be nominated for Second Vice-President until February 15, 2021, by:

  1. Completing the Nomination Form
  2. Submitting the completed Nomination Form to elections@nsbs.org

Questions? Please contact the Society at elections@nsbs.org


2021 Council Election: Message from Nominating Committee Chair

Letter from Tuma T.W. Young, Q.C., First Vice President and Chair of the Nominating Committee

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. Diversity of representation on Council is a key priority as we want to ensure our governing body reflects Nova Scotia’s legal profession as we work towards our 2019-2022 Strategic Goal of ensuring that Nova Scotians are served by a legal profession that is diverse, inclusive and culturally competent.

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.).

The Society has moved into the new era of legal services regulation and has been applying a Proactive, Principled and Proportionate (Triple P) approach to regulation.

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. For some it may be a step outside of their comfort zone. I know I have found the work rewarding.

I particularly encourage lawyers from equity-seeking communities to consider running as we aim to increase diversity among Council Members to better represent the makeup of our Bar.

Here is an overview of the 2021 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 now open and will close on February 15th. If an election is required, it will take place from March 1st to March 15th. 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 March 15th to April 5th, with the election running from April 19th to April 26th 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.

2021-2022 Council Meetings

Currently Council meetings take place virtually 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 on June 18th and the Society’s Annual Meeting on June 19th.

Learn more about the election & Council

  • Join the virtual information session February 3rd from 4:30-5:30 PM to learn more about the role and responsibilities of a Council member. Register for the session.

If you have questions about the election process or require assistance, please email elections@nsbs.org. Your message will be returned within two business days.

I also invite you to contact me directly at tumayoung@me.com if you have any questions.

Wela’lin, 

Tuma T.W. Young, Q.C. 


District Nominations Open: Submit your Nomination by Feb. 15th

The District Election is the first phase of the Society’s election process. Ten Council members will be elected across the province – two practising lawyers 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.

Are you interested in contributing to your profession and connecting with colleagues across the province as a Council member?

Submit a nomination on or before Feb. 15th To submit a nomination:

Review our Council election FAQs to learn more about the District election or email elections@nsbs.org.


Learn about Council Opportunities: Feb. 3rd Info Session 

Are you interested in contributing to your profession & connecting with colleagues as a Council member? Join the Executive Committee on February 3, 2021, from 4:30-5:30 PM for a virtual information session to learn more about the role and responsibilities of a Council member.

Register at https://bit.ly/37y1nAd

Do you have specific questions about serving on Council? We encourage you to send your questions to elections@nsbs.org.


The Society’s Annual Lawyer Report (ALR) asks practising lawyers questions related to demographics, employment type, area of practice, equity and diversity within the profession, access to justice issues and compliance related questions to help us track trends and identify areas where additional support or resources are valuable.

We sent the 2020 Annual Lawyer Report (ALR) to all lawyers in May 2020.

We also use the statistical data from the ALR and information from our membership database to create an annual Statistical Snapshot.

Statistical Highlights from the 2020 Report:
  • The profession continues to grow. The number of practising lawyers has increased by 140 over the last 5 years.
  • There is an increase in the number of new lawyers. Currently 29% of lawyers were called to the Bar within the last 7 years which is up from 24% five years ago.
  • 74% of lawyers practising in NS are in the HRM.
  • There are 232 sole practitioners in NS and 51% are located outside of HRM.
  • 54% of sole practitioners were called to the bar 27 or more years ago.
  • Since the mid 1990’s slightly more women than men have been called to the Bar, however women are more likely than men to no longer be practicing. Prior to the 1990’s the profession was heavily male dominated.
  • 284 lawyers self-identified as being part of one or more equity seeking communities.
  • 57% of lawyers are in private practice (sole practitioners, partners in firms or associates)
  • For those in private practice, the most common areas of practice (by percentage of total lawyer time) are civil litigation at 15%, criminal 14%, corporate/commercial 11%, family 11.0%, and real estate 10%.

Review the 2020 Statistical Snapshot

Changes to the 2020 ALR

In 2020, we amended many of the ALR questions to better support lawyers. We linked to relevant information, expanded opportunities to comment to share ideas and we included a general comments section which lawyers used to share a lot of useful information.

We appreciate the time, effort and insight our members put into responding to these questions. This input is valuable as we develop and review our policies, practices, and regulations.

We followed up on many of the comments or questionswith a direct response and other information was collated and shared with relevant staff, committees, working groups or Council. New resources were created and collected to support members and the  Legal Services Support (LSS) team is working to develop additional resources. Review our general practice resources or review our equity & access specific resources.

These are some of the common themes that emerged from the ALR comments:

Cultural Competence

We asked lawyers what steps they took to improve their cultural competence and there was a wide range of comments in the over 2000 responses to this question.

Lawyers identified a variety of sources of cultural competence education, including conferences, books, webinars, and other typical sources of CPD. Others also mention learning a great deal from the experiences of colleagues from equity-seeking communities, or from their own experiences of navigating the legal profession as someone from an equity-seeking community.

Most lawyers either reported firm-provided materials as the source of cultural competence education or materials created by the Society with the Equity Lens Toolkit as the most common source.

We also asked lawyers what barriers they encounter in accessing cultural competence education. These barriers emerged as themes through the responses: 

  • Workplace culture: This was one of the most common barriers as many described that the leadership at their workplace did not value cultural competence education and did not give staff time or funds to complete it.
  • Time and monetary resources: Lawyers noted that their busy schedules make finding time for CPD very difficult, and that there is insufficient funding available to access materials or courses, particularly for those in private practice or small firms.
  • Failure to see relevance: Many lawyers described being in a situation where their demographic environment creates conditions where they do not see the relevance of cultural competence education to their practice. The most common of these are living in a community that is “not diverse,” working in an all-white firm, a belief that cultural competence has no application in their type of practice and a belief that the material the Society produces is too basic, and that we should also produce more advanced materials.

Our Equity & Access team will use this valuable input as we continue to create cultural competence education materials for lawyers.

Criminal Standards

The ALR highlighted new Criminal Law Standards approved in 2019 and 2020 and invited comments. The Criminal Law Professional Standards Committee is using this feedback to help inform their work (deidentified, where appropriate, to preserve confidentiality).

Some lawyers are interested to learn more about how they might serve clients with limited scope retainers or unbundled services. Our Legal Services Support team will continue to work to develop relevant resources over the coming months. You can connect with the LSS team at lss@nsbs.org.

We received suggestions regarding different fee models to cover different practice types and other situations. The Society has shared this with the committees tasked with reviewing the fee structure and alternate billing models.

ALR Reporting Structure

Thank you for the comments you provided on the ways we can improve the annual lawyer report. We’re reviewing that feedback and you can expect to see changes reflected in next year’s report where possible.

Questions about the Society’s Annual Lawyer Report? Please contact Kate Shewan at kshewan@nsbs.org.


2020 Distinguished Service Award: John Rafferty QC

The Society is pleased to announce that John Rafferty QC of Truro, NS is the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Service Award (DSA). Established in 1999, this award is presented to a member who has made significant contributions to their community, the legal profession and to the Society.

Established in 1999, this award is presented to a member who has made significant contributions to their community, the legal profession and to the Society.

We typically present this award and honour the recipient along with 50-year practitioners at our annual Recognition Reception. We are not holding this reception in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions; however, we hope to present the DSA in the spring or summer of 2021.  

John Rafferty QC

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, John moved to Nova Scotia for his Bachelor of Arts at Saint Mary’s University. He followed his BA with a year of graduate studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario before returning to Saint Mary’s University for his Bachelor of Education. John taught math for little over a year before he decided to pursue law. He earned his law degree from Dalhousie University and was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1977.  

Throughout his career, John has contributed significantly to his community, the legal profession and to the Society. He has been with Burchell MacDougall for over 40 years and has developed a well-earned reputation as a knowledgeable, competent, and ethical lawyer with high professional integrity. In 1995, John received his Queen’s Counsel designation.  

John has a long history of service to his profession including as a member of the Society’s Council from 1990-1993 and 1997-2001. For 15 years, he was the Director and Past Chair of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Liability Claims Fund. He was also a member and Chair of the Loss Prevention Committee and of the Nova Scotia Bar Admissions Course Committee. John was the Director of Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association from 1983-2003 and he has also been a member of the Canadian Bar Association since 1975 having served on the CBA Standing Committee on Equality from 1994-1997.

Over the years, John has worked actively in party politics both at the federal and provincial levels. He has lectured and presented at CLE events and for Bar Admission courses and has authored many learned articles distributed by the Society and the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association. He is also frequently engaged by the Society to act on its behalf in practice reviews and receiverships, and on behalf of LIANS in defence of professional liability claims.

A leader within his community, John was previously the solicitor for the Town of Truro. He founded the Truro East End Meals on Wheels program, was the founding director of Colchester Community Workshops Foundation and a founding president for The Dimas Society, operators of Lavers House, a halfway house for ex-offenders. He spearheads many community activities and has dedicated his time to the Truro District School Band Auxiliary, Truro & District Human Rights and Affirmative Action Committee, Truro Boys and Girls Club and Truro Tennis Club.


Access to Justice Through Technological Competence

In January 2020, Council approved new Commentary to rule 3.1-2 of the Code of Professional Conduct (the Code) regarding technological competence.

Learn about the amendments in the article ‘Access to Justice Through Technological Competence’ by the Society’s Professional Responsibility Counsel, Elaine Cumming from the most recent issue of CBA-NS Nova Voce.


Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia


Changes in Category: November 26, 2020-January 28, 2021

In every issue of our newsletter InForum, we provide updates on category changes.

Congratulations to the following members who were newly called to the Bar:

Christopher Sean Cheverie
Stacey Margaret Duong
Matthew David Gough
David Alan Hansen, BA
Alan Douglas Harris
Natasha Sophia Kruitwagen
Manon Andrea Maria Landry
Andrea Lauren Lindsay
Vicki Marie MacDonald
Katrina Riane McBride
Margaret June Mills
Daniel Alexander Michael C Mowat-Rose
Jason Alexander Oxner
Asaf Rashid
Joshua Jason Samson
Margaret Kathleen Stephenson
Gabriella Beatriz Utreras Sandoval

Welcome to the following new articled clerks:

Hannah Elizabeth Adams
Emily Elizabeth Murray
Bhreagh Dorothy Ross
Keegan Ray Stephenson

The following members have changed to Practising status:

Hanaa Ahmed Al Sharief
James Ashley Charlton
Julian Paul Joseph Dickinson
Susanne Marie Dixon
Claire Levasseur

The following members have changed to Non-Practising status:

Louisa Chioma Nnenna Agwu-Utah
Scott Bradford Burden
Patrick H. Curran

The following members have Retired:

Thomas J. Feindel
James Fraser Richards, QC
Charles Scott Sterns

Professional Responsibility


For Your Information

Missing Wills

Name on will: Enrico Morrone
Last known residence: Halifax, NS
Any lawyers with information please contact:
Mary Jane McGinty at maryjane@mdwlaw.ca or 902-422-5881. Looking for original will which was drafted Sept.9th,1980. Have 3 copies of original. Law firm at the time was Donahoe, Davies, Watson, Gregg ,and McGillvery

Name on will: Susan LeBel
Last known residence: Dartmouth, NS
Any lawyers with information please contact:
Sandra MacDonnell at sandra.macdonnell@novascotia.ca or 902-424-7760. The Public Trustee is administering the living estate of MS. LeBel. Family advised she did a will with Ron A Meagher however he is retired and I don’t know who has his files. No copies were found in her house when it was cleaned out and she does not have a safety deposit box. Looking for info on who may have Ron Meagher’s files.

Name on will: David Keamer
Last known residence: Dartmouth, NS
Any lawyers with information please contact:
Glenn Kramer at glenn_kramer@hotmail.com or 780-993-4813


The Nova Scotia Health Research Ethics Board (NSH REB) is recruiting new members to fill the role of legal representatives. The NSH REB’s primary mandate is to conduct periodic reviews of research studies involving NS Health patients, staff, and resources to protect the rights, safety and well‐being of research participants.

Legal members are persons knowledgeable in the relevant law (i.e. health, privacy) and cannot be part of NS Health legal counsel or risk manager.  They represent the legal and ethical perspectives for research participants. Their role is to ensure that the information provided to research participants is readable, correct, and understood. The NSH REB does not expect that legal members understand the science behind the studies. It is the responsibility of the other board members to simplify the research study protocols so everyone on the board understands the study and what is expected of the research participants.

To exemplify the importance of the legal representative, it is a legal requirement by Health Canada that a legal representative is present at all research ethics board meetings. A common point in all local, national and international regulations and guidelines is that a legal representative must be present to have a duly constituted research ethics board.

The NSH REB is a paperless enterprise and conducts meetings virtually through Zoom and reviews electronically through our Romeo database. Your commitment to the board would be for a three year period, requiring attendance to one meeting per month. Meetings are scheduled a year in advance and are held virtually on Mondays from 4:00 ‐ 6:00 pm.

Members of the board find the experience on the NSH REB both informative and rewarding as they are exposed to leading-edge clinical research within various health fields. If you are interested in participating as a legal member on the NSH REB, please contact the Research Ethics Office at ResearchEthics@nshealth.ca with a brief statement of interest.


The Registry of Joint Stock Companies (RJSC) is now modernized

The Registry of Joint Stock Companies (RJSC) is now modernized to provide businesses and others a more integrated 24/7 online customer self-service experience. RJSC Connect is easier, faster and more efficient.

The new system’s features include:

  • enhanced 24/7 secure access from a computer or mobile device
  • smart forms for all business types, including companies, co-ops and societies to ensure filings are complete
  • ability to manage, submit and track all filings and orders online
  • real-time notifications and faster response times
  • improved search function

RJSC Connect: https://rjsc.novascotia.ca/

Meet RJSC Connect https://novascotia.ca/registry-joint-stock-companies-changes/


Read the report Repositioning Social Work Practice in Mental Health in Nova Scotia published by the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers. 


The Bill C-78 Divorce Act Changes: What you need to know

Substantial changes to the Divorce Act come into force on March 1, 2021. Experts from the Family and Children’s Law Team, Department of Justice Canada, are offering free virtual training to provide you with an overview of the amendments.

This course will be helpful to those who need an introduction to the amendments and to those who need a refresher on the eve of implementation.

It is likely to be of interest to lawyers, courts and dispute resolution practitioners, as well as other family justice professionals.

The course will cover the following:

  • Status of Act, objectives
  • Language of parenting, parenting orders
  • Best interests, family violence
  • Relocation: process, substantive law
  • New duties: courts, parents, lawyers
  • Jurisdiction for parenting orders
  • Official Languages amendments
  • Inter-jurisdictional support
  • FOAEA Act  changes
  • Regulations, consequential changes, etc.

Courses Dates and Times:

February 22, 2021 – 11 am to 2 pm (English): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138501899911

February 23, 2021 – 12 pm to 3 pm (English): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138514728281

February 24, 2021 – 9 am to 12 pm (French): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138660672805

February 24, 2021 – 1 pm to 4 pm (English): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138517119433

February 25, 2021 – 11 am to 2 pm (English): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138519163547

February 26, 2021 – 9 am to 12 pm (French): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138665168251

For Department of Justice employees: A limited number of seats will be reserved for Department of Justice employees in each session. You must also register through People Soft using course code: 017757

Accreditation by Law Societies:

Barreau du Quebec: This activity may be eligible for up to 3 hours of continuing education content (but ultimately it is the lawyer’s responsibility to determine whether it fits the BQ’s regulation concerning mandatory continuing education activities)

Law Society of British Columbia: The Department of Justice Canada (Legal Practices Policy Division – LPPD) is a pre-approved provider; this activity counts for up to 3 hours

Law Society of New Brunswick: application in process

Law Society of Ontario: This activity is eligible for up to 3 hours of Substantive content (but ultimately it is the lawyer’s responsibility to determine whether the activity qualifies under the LSO’s CPD Requirement regarding the Substantive content)

Law Society of Saskatchewan: This activity is accredited for 3 CPD hours

**Please also note that the Department of Justice Canada is offering online courses related to Bill C-78. You can find the first one Introduction to Federal Family Law Amendments at: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fl-df/cfl-mdf/trai-form/index.html


News from the NS Courts


Career Opportunities

Upcoming Events

These events include NSBS events as well as professional development opportunities and related events posted to the events page on our website.