New Bencher elected for Vancouver

Herman Van OmmenHerman Van Ommen was elected the new Bencher for Vancouver County for 2009. He will replace John Hunter, QC, who completes his term as President and becomes a Life Bencher at year end.

Van Ommen has practised commercial litigation for 23 years and acted in a variety of corporate, commercial and construction disputes. He attended McGill University for his undergraduate work and received his LL.B in 1984 from the University of Victoria. Van Ommen was called to the Bar in 1985 after articling with Shrum, Liddle & Hebenton. He then practised in Salmon Arm with Brook, McManus and Jackson for a year before returning to Shrum, Liddle & Hebenton in 1986. He was made a partner with McCarthy Tetrault LLP in 1991 and practises in the litigation group in the Vancouver office.

Over the past 10 years, Van Ommen has served as counsel for the Law Society in discipline and credential hearings and appeals. He recently taught a CLE seminar on summary trials, volunteered as a guest instructor at PLTC, and served on the executive of the Vancouver Bar Association from 1995-1996.

Outside of practicing law, Van Ommen has been a director of the Delta Gymnastics Society and Chair of its Expansion Committee, served as general manager of his son's all-star baseball team and as the tournament director of the 2007 Western Canada PeeWee AAA Championship. For several years he has also been involved with Operation Rednose.

In his election statement, Van Ommen said, "I am motivated to be a candidate for Bencher because I firmly believe that the decisions of the Benchers are a key part of effective regulation of the profession in the public interest. It is only with effective governance that we can ensure that lawyers will continue to enjoy the privilege of being a self-regulating profession."

The Law Society expresses its appreciation to the following by-election candidates for their participation in this important element of governance of the legal profession:

Michael Bradshaw

Called to the Bar: 1979 (AB) 1984 (BC)

Legal Services Society


Valli Chettiar

Called to the Bar: 1993

Valli Chettiar Law Corporation


Christine Elliott

Called to the Bar: 1984

Christine Elliott, Barrister & Solicitor


Walter Kosteckyj

Called to the Bar: 1984

Thompson & Elliott, Vancouver


David Wende

Called to the Bar: 1980

Alexander Holburn Beaudin Lang LLP, Vancouver


The value of being a Bencher 

Are you considering standing for election as a Bencher in 2009? There are many reasons to contribute to the governance of the legal profession during your career. We asked some Benchers to reflect on what they personally value most about being a Bencher:

"I think that being a Bencher has made me a better lawyer. I have exposure to other areas of practice and see the challenges faced by practitioners throughout the province. It is educational, informative and humbling."

"It's an honor and a privilege to be asked by your peers to serve in the governance of the profession we all admire and have made our life's work."

"Being a Bencher makes you a better lawyer in the sense that you are definitely more alive to your professional responsibilities. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn, as well as meet a whole host of new colleagues and friends for life."

"It's so rewarding because it's a chance to work with a team of dedicated people — Benchers and Law Society staff — on issues of real importance to the public and to the legal profession."