Benchers to honour John McAlpine, QC, with Law Society Award

The Benchers have chosen John McAlpine, QC, to receive the 2008 Law Society Award in recognition of his outstanding career and accomplishments. 

Mr. McAlpine graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1950 and then headed to Harvard University, where he obtained his LLB in 1953. He returned to British Columbia and was called to the bar in 1954, practising with Farris & Co. until 1971. In that year, he established McAlpine & Associates. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1976.

Mr. McAlpine's distinguished career has involved a wide variety of high profile cases. He has acted as counsel in major aboriginal and public interest cases, and on behalf of government bodies such as the Labour Boards of British Columbia and Canada. Mr. McAlpine also represented high ranking government officials in inquiries and appeared as counsel to the BC Energy Commission inquiring into the natural gas industry.

Despite his high profile, Mr. McAlpine has always invited differing opinions. One of Mr. McAlpine's nominators noted that, "Most days of the week we would cross the road to the Georgia Hotel and have a bad sandwich for lunch ... John always picked up the tab, and any lawyer in the office was welcome. Lunch talk invariably turned into a debate about some case that we were working on. At the time it seemed a well priced lunch that was fun. In retrospect, it was McAlpine's private Inn of Court, and he raised generations of lawyers in it."

In supporting Mr. McAlpine's nomination for the Law Society Award, Rt. Hon. Chief Justice of Canada, Beverly McLachlin, P.C. stated: "I can say, unequivocally, that through his professionalism, his contributions to judicial education and his role as an example and a mentor, Mr. McAlpine has made an outstanding contribution to the betterment of the law and the improvement of the justice system."

In recommending him for the 2008 Award, the Selection Committee quoted from one of Mr. McAlpine's nominators, "'John McAlpine is the best and the brightest.' We agree."