In British Columbia, 26 lawyers have been honored with the prestigious King’s counsel (KC) designation, recognizing their exceptional contributions to the legal profession. This distinguished title, a mark of excellence in legal practice, was announced by Niki Sharma, KC, Attorney General of British Columbia.
Attorney General Sharma lauded the honorees for their unwavering commitment to the legal community. “The King’s counsel designation is not just a title, but a recognition of the extraordinary dedication and contributions these legal professionals have made to our justice system,” Sharma stated. She emphasized that the designation signifies an elevated standing among peers and clients, highlighting the recipients’ commitment to providing unparalleled service and expertise in the legal field.
To qualify for this honor, candidates must have been members of the B.C. bar for at least five years. Their nominations undergo a thorough review by an advisory committee before recommendations are made to the attorney general. The final appointments are made by the cabinet through orders in council.
This year’s group of appointees represents a diverse cross-section of the legal community, including individuals in private practice, government roles, and academia. They have been recognized for their exemplary counsel, teaching contributions, publications, advocacy, and volunteerism.
With the KC designation, each of these lawyers is entitled to add the letters “KC” to their post-nominal titles, signaling to colleagues and clients their peer-recognized merit and substantial contributions to the field of law.
Underlining the exclusivity of this designation, only 7% of practicing lawyers in British Columbia can hold the King’s counsel title at any given time. The advisory committee responsible for reviewing nominations and making recommendations for these appointments includes several prominent figures in the legal community. These include the chief justice of B.C., the chief justice of the Supreme Court of B.C., the chief judge of the provincial court of B.C., the president of the Law Society of B.C. (LSBC), the president of the Canadian Bar Association – British Columbia Branch, an LSBC member appointed by the benchers (directors), and B.C.’s deputy attorney general.
This year’s KC designations reflect a commitment to recognizing excellence and dedication within British Columbia’s legal profession, honoring those who have significantly contributed to the administration of justice and the community at large.
Who received the KC designation?
The following King’s counsel appointees are listed chronologically by the date they were called to the bar:
Peter Grant (1976) is a pioneering litigator in Indigenous rights and aboriginal law. Renowned for skilled negotiation, he secured nationwide settlements, notably the Indian Residential School Settlement. His advocacy led to the Supreme Court of Canada recognizing Indigenous oral histories. Grant excels as both a dedicated litigator and a skilled negotiator, understanding the value of tailored settlements that benefit his clients. As a leading figure, he shapes national dialogues on Indigenous rights, showcasing unparalleled dedication to justice and reconciliation.
Carol Baird Ellan (1980) was the first female chief judge of the provincial court of British Columbia. With over 40 years of legal experience, she excels in family law and civil mediation, focusing on affordable access to justice. Baird Ellan’s commitment extends to community service, including involvement with Mediate BC, the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers, and Retrouvaille Vancouver. Baird Ellan has been a dedicated police complaint adjudicator and a passionate community volunteer. Her tireless efforts contribute significantly to promoting fairness and equity within the legal system.
Robert Bauman (1981) has served as the chief justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the chief justice of the Court of Appeal for the Yukon. He has extensive experience in administrative law and local government law, subjects on which he has written and taught extensively. Bauman has appeared at all levels of court, including the B.C. and Alberta Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada. He is known for his ability to isolate the important issue or issues in the case and to explain his decisions in clear, uncomplicated language.
Gregory Nash (1981) specializes in complex civil claims, national class actions, international trade arbitrations and insurance defence. Throughout his career, Nash has mentored young lawyers, promoting work-life balance and being at the forefront of opening opportunities for lawyers to accommodate family life. He’s served with the Canadian Bar Association, national and the B.C. branch, has lectured widely, and is an active member of the Trial Lawyers Association.
Anders Ourom (1987) has dedicated his law practice to advising societies, charities and non-profits since 1995. He has assisted multiple B.C. non-profit organizations when they have needed critical pro bono counsel and has also led countless legal education courses and workshops. Ourom’s dedication to community service has played a vital role in expanding the non-profit sector’s capacity to serve their communities. Ourom also holds a British Columbia Achievement Foundation Community Award.
Heidi-Ann Mason (1989) has more than three decades of legal expertise, notably within Legal Aid BC, establishing herself as a distinguished figure. Her focus on family law led to pioneering initiatives like the Family Duty Counsel Program, the Supreme Court Self-Help Centre and Parents Legal Centres. Rising to executive level of Legal Aid BC, Mason helped secure groundbreaking tariff agreements in tri-party negotiations, defining her commitment to justice innovation and client-centred services.
Brad Dixon (1990) is renowned for expertise in high-profile class actions and civil matters across commercial claims. With a career spanning more than three decades, Dixon is recognized as a leader and expert in international proceedings, even being recognized with multiple top lawyer awards. He served as a director and chair of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada, influencing significant legislative reforms. Dixon is also a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.
Veeda Victoria Shroff (1997) is widely considered to be a pioneer in animal law in B.C. and one of Canada’s first animal lawyers. She is currently an adjunct professor of animal law at UBC Allard School of Law, a faculty member and the creator of an animal law course for paralegals at Capilano University, and an appointed associate Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. She also volunteers at Canada’s first pro bono animal law clinic at the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program. Shroff is the author of the Canadian Animal Law textbook and lectures worldwide on animal law.
Julie Williams (1998) has held multiple senior positions in the B.C. public service, providing leadership in various policy and legal areas, including Indigenous relations, environmental protection and law reform. Williams oversaw the development and operation of key projects to increase access to justice in B.C., including increasing legal-aid tariffs, re-establishing the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner and the development of the Public Interest Disclosure Act. She was the first chief of legal strategy in the Ministry of Attorney General, and now as the assistant deputy attorney general, she continues to lead in a manner that is both personal and professional.
Stephen Ballard (1999) is a prominent legal figure in B.C. with impressive longstanding dedicated leadership to the community and legal profession. He is renowned for his expertise in trials and appeals, including playing a pivotal role in shaping numerous Supreme Court judgments. Beyond his courtroom prowess, Ballard is a dedicated mentor to emerging legal talent, providing invaluable guidance within the Trial Lawyers Association and offering peer counselling since 2011.
Kinji Bourchier (2000) is a leader in the areas of environmental law and commercial litigation in Canada. He has held leadership roles at the Vancouver Bar Association, the Environmental Law section of the Canadian Bar Association – B.C. Branch, the Hoop-Law Society and The Advocates’ Society. Bourchier’s volunteer work includes serving as a founding director of the Reed Athletics Fund and on the regional executive leadership committee of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. Since 2015, Bourchier has served as president of the Allard Law Alumni Association.
Jason LeBlond (2000) has more than 20 years dedicated to criminal law in Prince George and Northern B.C. LeBlond is a fixture in local courts, lauded for fairness, expertise and powerful advocacy. From straightforward trials to intricate cases, such as homicide and charter challenges, he’s earned praise from judges and Crown counsel for his meticulous representation. Respected locally and in higher courts, LeBlond manages a caseload of 200-plus files at any given time while also mentoring students and contributing to advisory boards.
Gurminder Sandhu (2000) is an experienced civil litigator practising throughout B.C. courts, focusing on general civil litigation, family law and insurance law. As a partner at his firm, Sandhu’s work covers various areas, including cases involving human rights issues, traumatic brain injuries and real estate disputes. He’s a bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia since 2022 and served on the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee (B.C.) from 2021 to 2023.
Marc Kazimirski (2001) is a dedicated trial lawyer and a leader at the bar who has a particular focus on promoting diversity in the profession. He was the president of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. and served as a governor for the American Association for Justice. As an adjunct professor at the UBC Allard School of Law, Kazimirski created the personal injury course and has passionately taught it since. Actively engaged in various legal associations, such as the Canadian Bar Association and The Advocates’ Society, Kazimirski is a staunch supporter of the Lawyer’s Assistance Program of B.C., dedicated to enhancing legal education and fostering professional growth.
Shannon Ramsay (2003) is a civil, commercial, administrative and public law litigator, who actively contributes to legal education throughout B.C. She currently chairs the B.C. Branch Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council of Canadian Bar Association and plays a key role in assessing provincial court judicial applicants. Ramsay has been a faculty member of the Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C. (CLEBC), and co-authored part of the CLEBC’s Annual Review of Law and Practice from 2005 to 2014.
Rubinder Dhanu (2004) has vast expertise in criminal law, having worked both as a Crown prosecutor and defence attorney. His focus areas include drug, firearm and organized crime prosecutions, as well as representing victims of domestic and sexual violence. Dhanu has navigated all court levels, including the B.C. and Alberta Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. From initiating his own law group as a sole practitioner in Vancouver, he has expanded his practice with more than 20 legal professionals across Abbotsford and Surrey. He has also mentored numerous associates and students.
Susanne Elliott (2004) is a leading appellate advocate and a prosecutor for the B.C. Prosecution Service who has worked at all levels of the courts. In 2009, Elliott joined the United Nations as a war crimes prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She is a contributing author to several publications, including for the Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C., and is sought after as a presenter and educator in the field of criminal law. Elliott was recognized with a prestigious Prosecution Service Leadership Award in 2022.
Theresa Iandiorio (2004) began her legal career at the B.C. Prosecution Service, becoming a leading Crown counsel. Renowned for her courtroom skills, Iandiorio has handled many emerging issues in criminal law over the last two decades. She mentors young lawyers and provides guidance and mentorship to both Crown counsel and defence colleagues. In addition to many other awards, this year she was presented with a merit appointment for her expertise across various criminal law areas.
Miranda Lam (2004) is the chief legal officer and vice-president of business development at a leading biotechnology company headquartered in Vancouver. Lam thrives in complex situations, championing diversity, equity and inclusion. Her commitment to community engagement is evident through her leadership positions on the boards of four organizations, including as the vice-chair of the UBC board of governors and the BC Cancer Foundation.
Karrie Wolfe (2005) is a specialist in constitutional and administrative law. During her lengthy tenure at the Ministry of Attorney General’s legal services branch, Wolfe has built a reputation for skilled advocacy navigating civil trials, judicial reviews and intricate legislative challenges. She has worked on landmark cases involving safe-injection sites, free speech in elections, environmental regulation and minority language education rights. Wolfe is an author, editor and regular presenter at legal education events.
Kasari Govender (2006) is B.C.’s first fully independent human rights commissioner. Her previous work includes key legal issues around gender-based violence and human rights. Early in her career, Govender clerked with the B.C. Supreme Court before moving to a Toronto-based firm, where she worked on numerous high-profile human rights and constitutional law cases. Her advocacy extends to pioneering the Rise Women’s Legal Centre, addressing access to justice for marginalized women and teaching at both UBC and Simon Fraser University.
Lindsay LeBlanc (2006) specializes in property, land-use, municipal and administrative law. She holds a successful track record as counsel in numerous pivotal cases, including under the Property Law Act. Her diverse practice spans defence at all levels of courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. LeBlanc actively serves in various legal capacities, serving as vice-chair of the Trust Review Task Force, as a member of the Practice Standards Committee and as a chambers adjudicator. LeBlanc has been a member of the board of governors of the Law Foundation of B.C. since 2017, serving as chair of the board 2021-22. She also currently serves the community as a Bencher of the Law Society of B.C. (LSBC) and as an adjudicator for the LSBC Tribunal.
Josh Paterson (2006) is an esteemed public-interest lawyer focused on bolstering access to justice and advocating for marginalized communities through constitutional, environmental, labour and human rights law. As the executive director of the Law Foundation of B.C. (LFBC) since 2019, Paterson transformed LFBC’s structure and spearheaded several innovative programs, including providing supports to new community law programs that assist Indigenous, Black and people of colour (IBPOC) and marginalized communities and establishing eight new legal clinics in collaboration with the Province. He was instrumental in developing a strategic plan that recognizes LFBC’s role in addressing structural gaps in the justice system and in reconciliation.
Shannon Salter (2007) is a leader and pioneer in legal reform and access to justice. She co-created and chaired Canada’s pioneering Civil Resolution Tribunal, which has revolutionized online dispute resolution. Salter has been an adjunct professor at the UBC Allard School of Law, teaching administrative law and legal ethics and professional regulation. Since November 2022, she has been the deputy minister to the Premier, cabinet secretary and head of B.C. public service overseeing a workforce of 37,000 employees. Salter is celebrated for her commitment to engagement, trust, corporate citizenship, inclusion and innovation.
Cheryl D’Sa (2008) is a civil litigator and mediator who is recognized for her expertise in personal injury cases, often being asked to speak or lecture on the topic. D’Sa is engaged extensively with the Canadian Bar Association B.C. (CBABC) branch and was the first female IBPOC president of the Vancouver Bar Association. She currently chairs the Law Society of B.C.’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is a member of the Mental Health Task Force. D’Sa is passionate about offering formal mentorship to female and IBPOC lawyers, and she won the CBABC Debra Van Ginkel, QC Mentoring Award that recognizes her significant contributions as a mentor.
Joven Narwal (2008) is a prominent trial and appellate lawyer known for handling high-stakes cases, specializing in criminal and securities litigation, professional regulation and complex civil matters with criminal aspects. As a partner at his firm, and an adjunct professor at UBC Allard School of Law, Narwal is immersed in legal academia and practice. He actively contributes to advisory committees to promote inclusive policies and, notably, he was the first IBPOC president of the Vancouver Bar Association (VBA). Through his work with the VBA, he championed raising funds for Access Pro Bono and the Lawyers’ Assistance Program.