The Advisory: Volume 8, Issue 4, October 2010

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Edmonton Judge Honoured with National Pro Bono Award

By Kevin Feth, QC, Vice-President, Pro Bono Law Alberta and Bencher, Law Society of Alberta

FOR DEDICATION to the development and delivery of pro bono legal service in Alberta and beyond, the Honourable Judge John T. Henderson of Edmonton was recognized with a national Pro Bono Distinguished Service Award this fall.

Honourable Judge John T. Henderson

The Canadian pro bono awards were presented September 16th at the National Pro Bono Conference, held in Calgary, Alberta. Other national pro bono award recipients were:

  • Canadian National Law Firm Award - Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
  • Canadian Law Firm Award – Dawson, Stevens, Duckett & Shaigec, Edmonton AB
  • 2010 Pro Bono Program Award - Pro Bono Students Canada Family Law Project, (National Project)

The 2010 recipients have developed innovative approaches to delivering volunteer legal services. As well, they have demonstrated leadership in improving access to justice in their local areas on behalf of individual clients, communities or charitable organizations.

The Honourable Judge John Henderson volunteered countless hours in creating and building the Edmonton Centre for Equal Justice, was instrumental in the creation of Pro Bono Law Alberta, served as Vice-President when it was formed in 2007, and was the first recipient of the Law Society’s Distinguished Service Award in Pro Bono Legal Service in 2006. Judge Henderson served as a Bencher for the Law Society in 2009 until his appointment to the Provincial Court of Alberta.

The Law Firm of Dawson, Stevens, Duckett & Shaigec is an Edmonton-based law firm dedicated to the practice of criminal law. Their 10 lawyers have actively supported Student Legal Services by providing its Criminal Law Project with many hours of legal expertise, training and support. Firm members have served as Law Society of Alberta Benchers, on committees and projects for the Legal Aid Society of Alberta, and at the Elizabeth Fry Society. Two of its lawyers have travelled as members of the International Criminal Attorneys’ Association to Beirut to attend an antideath penalty conference and Afghanistan to monitor that country’s development of a public defender system.

As Canada’s largest law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP established a formal pro bono policy, promoting the firm’s support for access to justice initiatives. The firm has provided legal advice and education to at-risk youth and their families through the Children’s Legal Education Resource Centre in Calgary and the Dr. Julien Foundation in Montreal. The firm has assisted Toronto’s The Stop Community Food Centre with a major redevelopment project. Its lawyers have successfully prevented an Ottawa school board from eliminating $5 million in funding for special-needs programs, and will be acting in opposition to the decriminalization of polygamy in a Vancouver trial.

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