Regional calls bring legal community, public together
The call ceremony was just the start of celebrations on the day that Kelowna lawyer Gavin Jones was called to the Bar with his friends and family, the lawyers and staff at Martin Johnson Law Corporation and other lawyers from the Kelowna community as witnesses.
Bencher Dirk Sigalet, QC looks on
“It was great to have a sense of community at an event that was so important in my life,” said Jones. “If I had the ceremony in Vancouver, probably only my mom and dad would have been able to attend. In Kelowna my whole law firm attended along with other lawyers in the community, and friends and family who would not have been able to come otherwise.”
After the ceremony, held on September 28, 2006, Jones’ parents held a celebration at their house to bring together the many people who had seen him through the road to becoming a lawyer.
Gavin is one of many new lawyers who have taken advantage of the opportunity to be called to the Bar through a regional call ceremony. In 2006, 70 regional call ceremonies were held in communities across BC, including Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George and Smithers. In some cases, the ceremonies were held to call just one lawyer to the Bar. Regional call ceremonies are held upon request when there is an articled student or transfer candidate who wants to be called, a Bencher or local bar association to hold the ceremony and an available Supreme Court Judge.
Jones’ ceremony, presided over by Mr. Justice T. Richard Brooke, held the special distinction of including two Benchers, Dirk Sigalet, QC and Lay Bencher Barbara Levesque. Three transfer candidates also attended the Kelowna ceremony.
In her speech to the call ceremony, Levesque pointed out that this was the first time that a Lay Bencher had spoken at a call ceremony in the Okanagan and only the second time for a call ceremony in BC.
Levesque underscored the legal traditions that ground call ceremonies and the public interest that underpins the legal profession:
The privilege of calling yourself a lawyer is entrusted to you by the public. The essence of the legal profession is to serve the public. This ceremony, with its particular formalities and history, is an occasion to remind you of your responsibility to uphold the values of the legal profession that have their roots in a complex and rich history that is hundreds of years old.
Sigalet also highlighted the “public affirmation of professional obligations” that takes place at call ceremonies, and the special role that regional calls play in bringing the public and the legal community together.
“It takes a legal community to raise a lawyer, so having the call ceremony in the community where a lawyer has been raised is quite fitting,” said Sigalet. “At a regional call ceremony, the new calls are invited to sit at the counsel table, which is quite a symbolic moment in being called to the Bar.”
To find out more about regional call ceremonies and all upcoming call ceremonies, tel. 604 605-5311 or toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300 or email email@example.com.