Board's composition shows efforts to reflect diversity better of public it serves, legal regulator says
Eight lawyers, including five who are Indigenous, have been elected to their first term on the B.C. Law Society’s governing board of benchers. They will serve a two-year term from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2023.
The Law Society of British Columbia held the voting process from Nov. 1 to 15 and counted the votes on Nov. 16. The law society said that the election of five Indigenous lawyers is unprecedented and that the board’s new composition shows its efforts to reflect the diversity of the public that it serves better and promote reconciliation and the involvement of Indigenous peoples in its governance.
“The experiences, skills and perspective of the new benchers will enhance Law Society deliberations and decisions on regulating the legal profession and protecting the public interest in the administration of justice,” said the law society’s news release.
Here are the 2021 bencher election results:
District No. 1 (Vancouver)
- Cheryl D’Sa — re-elected
- Brook Greenberg — re-elected
- Jennifer Chow — re-elected
- Kevin B. Westell — re-elected
- Gaynor C. Yeung — re-elected
- Lisa Dumbrell — re-elected
- Jacqueline G. McQueen — re-elected
- Steven McKoen — re-elected
- Katrina Harry — elected
- Kelly Harvey Russ — elected
- Tanya Chamberlain — elected
District No. 2 (Victoria)
- Lindsay R. LeBlanc — elected
- Paul Pearson — elected
District No. 3 (Nanaimo)
Brian Dybwad — elected
District No. 4 (Westminster)
- Gurminder Sandhu — elected
- Tom Spraggs — re-elected
District No. 5 (Kootenay)
Barbara Cromarty — re-elected by acclamation
District No. 6 (Okanagan)
Michael F. Welsh — re-elected by acclamation
District No. 7 (Cariboo)
- Georges Rivard — elected
- Geoffrey McDonald — re-elected
District No. 8 (Prince Rupert)
Sarah Westwood — elected by acclamation
District No. 9 (Kamloops)
Kim Carter — re-elected
Lisa Hamilton at District No. 1, Christopher McPherson at District No. 4 and Jeevyn Dhaliwal at District No. 1 will keep holding office as benchers until they have completed their terms as president under rule 1-5(4) of the Law Society rules 2015.
Dean P.J. Lawton, the law society’s president, expressed his congratulations to the elected and re-elected benchers and his gratitude to those who stood for election.
Pinder K. Cheema, Lisa Feinberg, Martin Finch, Jamie Maclaren, Elizabeth J. Rowbotham, Karen Snowshoe, Chelsea D. Wilson and Heidi Zetzsche will not return as benchers. Lawton, Cheema, Finch, Maclaren and Rowbotham will become life benchers in 2022.
The benchers, who comprise the law society’s volunteer board of governors, have the role of governing and administering the law society’s affairs under the Legal Profession Act, SBC 1998, c 9, imposing and enforcing the professional responsibility standards for lawyers in the province and presiding over discipline and credentials hearings.