The Law Society Award for Leadership in Legal Aid recognizes lawyers who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the provision of legal aid in British Columbia.

Award criteria

Current and former Law Society members, with the exception of employees of the Legal Services Society or its board members, are eligible for the award.

Nominees must demonstrate their commitment to the provision of legal aid in one or more of the following ways:

  • by consistently taking on legal aid files over a number of years; and
  • by performing legal aid duty counsel.

Additional consideration may be given to current and former Law Society members who publicly demonstrate a commitment to legal aid, whether through public advocacy, writing articles or performing research designed to support a strong legal aid system, engaging in law reform to improve the state of legal aid, or participating in the governance of Legal Services Society.

How to submit a nomination

A Law Society member in good standing may nominate a current or former Law Society member for the award. This award was initiated in 2017 and will next be presented in December 2019. Nominations are currently open and will close on October 18, 2019.

To submit a nomination, send the nominee’s curriculum vitae and the completed Nomination Form by email, mail or courier, or in person, to:

Kerryn Holt, Manager of Governance & Board Relations
The Law Society of British Columbia
845 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC  V6B 4Z9

Further information

For further information about the award, contact:

Kerryn Holt, Manager of Governance & Board Relations


2017 Recipient

The Law Society is pleased to award Richard Strahl the 2017 Law Society Award for Leadership in Legal Aid. Strahl was called to the BC bar in 1988 and practises criminal defense in the East Kootenay. He has consistently taken on legal aid files for nearly 30 years, and has appeared throughout the Kootenay region, not only on behalf of legal aid clients but also acting pro bono for people challenged by the court process.

Strahl was the Kootenay legal agent for the Legal Services Society from 2002 to 2016, and continues to routinely accept legal aid retainers and perform duty counsel services.

In addition to a life-long commitment to helping those in need of legal counsel, Strahl is known among his colleagues for generously making himself available as a mentor and source of advice for junior counsel. He is widely respected by members of the bench, Crown, defense counsel and community support agencies.

“This award recognizes the often overlooked efforts of all members of the criminal bar who do so much for those who struggle through the court process,” said Strahl.

“Rick is known throughout the Kootenay region as ethical, diligent and an excellent advocate for his clients. Judges appreciate the advice he provides to the court as well as to those in need. Lawyers know him not only as a tireless advocate, but also as a friendly and affable individual with a certain charm that makes him one of those people everyone likes,” said Sarah Westwood chair of the Law Society Award for Leadership in Legal Aid Selection Committee.