The Law Society Award honours the lifetime contribution of the truly exceptional in the legal profession.

Offered every two years, the award is based on the criteria of integrity, professional achievement, service and law reform. The award is made primarily in recognition of contributions to the advancement of the legal profession or the law, but public service outside the profession will be considered.

The Law Society Award for 2018 will be presented at the Bench & Bar Dinner on November 7, 2018. For tickets, go to the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch website.


The Benchers selected Constance D. Isherwood, QC as the recipient of the 2016 Law Society Award. The award was presented to Mrs. Isherwood at the Bench and Bar dinner on November 17, 2016

In 1951, Mrs. Isherwood was one of six women in her graduating class at the University of British Columbia law school. She became the first woman to receive the Law Society’s gold medal, awarded to the graduating law student with the highest cumulative grade point average.

After her call to the bar, Mrs. Isherwood practised under the guidance of her mentor Ernest Tait. When Tait passed away just two years later, Mrs. Isherwood took over the practice as sole practitioner. This was a remarkable move, as it was at a time when there were few women lawyers, let alone female sole practitioners. In 1964, she combined her practice with her husband’s (the late Foster Isherwood) and became a partner in Holmes and Isherwood, the firm with which she still practises today.

Throughout her long and impressive career, Mrs. Isherwood served as a role model and mentor for many young women lawyers. In 1973, she organized a series of “Lady Lawyers’ Lunches” in Victoria to encourage networking among women lawyers and to foster a sense of belonging to the profession. Her guidance and support for women lawyers, especially during that time, has been central to advancing equity and diversity in the legal profession.

Her accolades include receiving the Queen’s Counsel designation in 1998, the University of Victoria’s Lifetime Achievement Legacy Award in 2006, the Victoria Women’s Pioneer Award from the CBA Victoria Women’s Forum in 2012 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UBC in 2015. Most recently, she was awarded the 2016 Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award from UBC’s Peter A. Allard School of Law.

In addition to her law practice, Mrs. Isherwood has been active in her community throughout her life. She has served as Chancellor of the Diocese of British Columbia for the past 30 years. She also contributes her time to groups such as the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Sooke Philharmonic, the Victoria Symphony and the Victoria Board of Trustees of the Canadian Scottish Regiment. She received the Canada 125th anniversary medal for community service in 1992, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2015.

Mrs. Isherwood is known for her diligence, fairness, integrity and professionalism. After over 65 years in the profession, Mrs. Isherwood continues to show immense dedication to her clients and to the administration of justice.

Past recipients

Constance D. Isherwood (2016)
John Hunter, QC (2014)
Marvin Storrow, QC (2012)
The Hon. John Charles Bouck (honoured posthumously, 2010)
John McAlpine, QC (2008)
Charles C. Locke, QC (2006)
Richard R. Sugden, QC (2004)
The Hon. Kenneth E. Meredith (2002)
The Hon. E.N. (Ted) Hughes, QC (2000)
The Hon. Martin R. Taylor, QC (1998)
Alfred Watts, QC (1996)
Mr. Justice Peter D. Seaton (honoured posthumously, 1994)
Chief Justice J.O. Wilson (honoured posthumously, 1992)
Oscar F. Orr, MBE, OBC, QC (1988)
Dean Emeritus George F. Curtis, QC (1986)