News Release
December 09, 2019

Recipients display the 2019 Law Society Awards (foreground, left to right: Raji Mangat; Nancy Cameron, QC; Peter Leask, QC; Claire E. Hunter, QC)

Members of British Columbia’s legal profession were recognized for their exceptional career achievements and contributions to their communities on December 6, 2019, at a ceremony held at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle hotel. The Law Society of British Columbia congratulates recipients of the Law Society’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award, Excellence in Family Law Award, Award for Leadership in Legal Aid and Pro Bono Award.

This year marks the introduction of awards designed by Rod Smith, a Kwakwaka’wakw sculptor based in Qualicum Beach. It is also the inaugural year of the Law Society Pro Bono Award.

“These awards celebrate the excellent work of lawyers throughout the province, and those who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment, not only to the profession, but to the members of the public whom they serve,” said Law Society President Nancy Merrill, QC.

Law Society Award for Leadership in Legal Aid

The 2019 recipients are Marilyn Sandford, QC; Christopher Johnson, QC; Peter Leask, QC; H. William Veenstra, QC; and Richard Fowler, QC, on behalf of the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers.

In 2019 the association published a report titled Restoring Funding for Legal Aid, launched a public relations campaign, and met several times with the attorney general to make the case for increased legal aid funding. The association reached agreements with the provincial government to increase funding for legal aid lawyers and to establish a formal negotiating relationship between the association, the Legal Services Society and the government.

“The Association of Legal Aid Lawyers not only secured significant funding commitments, but attracted public support for legal aid, and ensured a place for legal aid lawyers in future policy decisions. To achieve so much within a year is nothing short of remarkable.”
Christopher McPherson, QC, chair, Leadership in Legal Aid Award Selection Committee

Law Society Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award

The 2019 recipient, Raji Mangat, was called to the bar in 2011 and practises in Vancouver. She is currently the executive director of West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund Association, where she was previously director of litigation. She has overseen litigation involving such areas as access to family law legal aid, transgender rights and employment discrimination.

Mangat has contributed to improving diversity and inclusion in the legal profession through her mentorship, recruitment and supervision of law student interns and articled students, and by serving on numerous boards of organizations that promote equality and inclusion.

“Raji’s significant contributions to policy and legal reform, together with her impact on marginalized and disadvantaged people on an individual basis, make Raji a truly deserving recipient of this award.”
Jasmin Ahmad, chair, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award Selection Committee

Law Society Excellence in Family Law Award

The 2019 recipient, Nancy Cameron, QC, was called to the bar in 1988 and practises family law in Vancouver, specializing in collaborative practice and mediation. Since 2000, Cameron’s practice has focused solely on consensual dispute resolution, primarily through collaborative practice, which draws on trained collaborative lawyers and mental health and financial professionals to educate, empower and guide parties to reach balanced, respectful and lasting agreements.

Cameron also developed the Collaborative Pro Bono Project and the Low Bono/Fixed Fee Model, which offers lower income families a way to separate peacefully that does not involve contested court process.

“Nancy is always learning and seeking new ways in which we can improve how lawyers assist clients, both in terms of the larger justice system, and also through commitment to efficiency and cost-effectiveness in collaborative dispute resolution processes. She has pioneered ways for lower income families throughout BC to access justice in family disputes.”
Sarah Westwood, chair, Excellence in Family Law Award Selection Committee

Law Society Pro Bono Award

The 2019 recipient, Claire E. Hunter, QC, was called to the bar in 2010 and practises in Vancouver. She has taken on countless pro bono files throughout her career, while at the same time building a busy commercial litigation and administrative law practice. She is currently the president and chair of the Access Pro Bono Society of British Columbia.

In addition to her own pro bono work, Hunter has taken on formal leadership roles with the CBA’s national Pro Bono Committee, Access Pro Bono Society of BC, The Advocates’ Society’s Access to Justice Taskforce, and the Law Society’s Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee. She is a frequent speaker and writer on pro bono issues, and she chaired the National Pro Bono Conference when it was held in Vancouver last year.

“In addition to working on pro bono files consistently throughout her career, Claire has played a longstanding role in fostering support for pro bono work in BC, and is a role model within the profession for integrating pro bono work with a successful career in private practice.”
Michelle D. Stanford, QC, chair, Pro Bono Award Selection Committee


Further details about the Law Society awards can be found on the Law Society website. For more information contact:

David Jordan
Communications Officer