Executive Council
January 13, 2017

Local Lawyers Recognized for Achievements

Premier Announces Queen's Counsel Appointments

The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, today announced this year's appointments to Queen's Counsel by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

"The Queen's Counsel appointment is a prestigious honour which recognizes lawyers who have made a significant contribution to the legal profession in Newfoundland and Labrador. I congratulate the 11 individuals on their appointments and thank them for their professionalism and commitment to strengthening our justice system."
- The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

Queen's Counsel comprises senior lawyers who have served a minimum of 10 years in the legal profession, have gained the respect of the legal community and who are in good standing with the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. Appointments are made after consultation with the Legal Appointments Board as outlined in the Queen's Counsel Act.

Those appointed to Queen's Counsel are Janie L. Bussey, Felix Collins, Deborah L. J. Hutchings, Neil Jacobs, Stephen J. May, Jennifer L. Mercer, Judy Morrow, Peter O'Flaherty, Andrew Parsons, Kari Ann Pike and Darlene Russell. Biographies of each appointee can be found in the backgrounder below.

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Media contacts:

Michelle Cannizzaro
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
Lesley Clarke
Director of Communications (A)
Department of Justice and Public Safety
709-729-6985, 699-2910

Biographies of Queen's Counsel Appointees

Janie L. Bussey
Janie L. Bussey was born in Gander and raised in Port de Grave. She received her Bachelor of Laws with Distinction from the University of New Brunswick in 1998. Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Bussey was awarded the Law Faculty Prize as the most outstanding member of her graduating class in consideration of her academic achievement and extra-curricular activities. She was called to the Bar of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1999. From 1999 to 2012 she practiced law with the firm Stewart McKelvey and became a partner there in 2006. In 2012, she left private practice to take her current position as Senior Counsel with Eastern Health. Ms. Bussey has appeared before all levels of court in the province. Her volunteer efforts have included serving as president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and as a member of the Canadian Bar Association's National Board of Directors and Cygnus Gymnastics' Board of Directors.

Felix Collins
Born in St. Anne's, Placentia Bay, Felix Collins graduated from Memorial University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education in 1964 and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1968. He completed a Masters of Education degree in 1972 from the University of Boston and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Ottawa in 1995, at which time he was awarded the Newton Rowell Scholarship for his dedication to public service. He served 19 years on municipal council with the town of Placentia, 16 of those as mayor. Mr. Collins worked as a school principal, teacher, coordinator and a Superintendent of Education until retirement in 1992 at which time he entered law school. He was called to the Newfoundland Bar in April 1996 and is a Member of the Law Society of Newfoundland. He practiced law in St. John's until 2007. In February, 2006, Mr. Collins was elected as MHA for Placentia-St. Mary's. On October 7, 2009, Mr. Collins was appointed as Minister of Justice and Attorney General and served in that role until October 19, 2012 when we was appointed as Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs, a role he held until October 9, 2013. From January to September 2014 and from March to November 2015, he once again served as Attorney General.

Deborah L. J. Hutchings
Deborah L. J. Hutchings is a graduate of Memorial University having attained the degrees of Bachelor of Physical Education and Bachelor of Education in 1978 and Masters of Physical Education in 1981. In 1989, Ms. Hutchings attained the degree of Bachelor of Law from the University of New Brunswick and commenced her articles with the law firm of Chalker Green and Rowe in St. John's under the late W. Gary Rowe QC. Ms. Hutchings was called to the Newfoundland Bar on April 11, 1990, and has been in private practice for nearly 27 years. She has appeared before all levels of court in Newfoundland and Labrador and at the Federal Court Trial Division and Court of Appeal. Since 1995, Ms. Hutchings has been a law partner with each of the firms of Chalker, Green and Rowe, McInnes Cooper, and Benson Buffett where she currently practices. Ms. Hutchings serves on the Discipline Committee of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador; sits on the National Executive for Maritime Law with the Canadian Bar Association, a position she has held for several years; is a member of the Canadian Maritime Law Association and Canadian Defence Lawyers; serves on the Municipal Affairs Committee with the St. John's Board of Trade; and is Past President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association.

Neil Jacobs
Neil Jacobs is Managing Partner for the St. John's office of Stewart McKelvey. Called to the bar in 1986, Mr. Jacobs works with equipment manufacturers, banks and lenders, business owners, other law firms and trustees, and has recently acted as counsel to the Auditor General. He advises his clients on a broad range of issues, including purchasing and developing property, secured financing, business acquisition and divestiture, resolving business disputes, drafting contracts and transaction documents and providing counsel on bankruptcy matters. As Managing Partner, Mr. Jacobs helps those in his office develop and evolve in their areas of practice and works to increase community and business engagement with local organizations. He has contributed to numerous volunteer boards, of both professional and personal interest, such as The Agnes Pratt Home, the Anglican Charitable Foundation for Children and the Canadian Bar Association business law section. Both Lexpert and Best Lawyers have recognized Mr. Jacobs as a leader in such areas as banking, corporate/commercial, as well as insolvency and financial restructuring.

Stephen J. May
Stephen J. May is from St. John's and graduated in 1983 from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and in 1987 from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Laws degree. Mr. May was called to the bar in 1988 and is a partner with the law firm Cox & Palmer in St. John's. He has appeared before various administrative tribunals in the province, the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada, and the Supreme Court of Canada. His paper The Terms of Union: An Analysis of their Current Relevance, commissioned and published by the Royal Commission on Renewing and Strengthening our Place in Canada, was described in the commission's final report to have provided an insightful analysis into the forces that gave shape to the terms under which the province joined Canada. He is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Chief Electoral Office of Newfoundland and Labrador. He has been a member of the Law Society's insurance committee and has served as a lecturer in the Law Society's Bar Admission Program on discovery process and advocacy. From 2007 to 2015, he served as a member of the board to the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association, the reciprocal providing professional liability insurance to lawyers practicing in six of Canada's provinces and its three territories, and served as the board's chair from 2013 to 2015. He has served as a member of the Cupids 400 Committee and the board for the Lakecrest Independent School.

Jennifer L. Mercer
Jennifer L. Mercer, originally from Grand Falls-Windsor, attended Universitè Ste-Anne, where she completed intensive French Immersion and her Bachelier ès Arts (français). Her studies continued at Dalhousie Law School from where she graduated in 1997. Ms. Mercer articled with Miller & Hearn in Labrador City and was admitted to the Bar in 1998, winning both the Hunt and Penny Awards. She practiced with Miller & Hearn until 2007 when she joined the Department of Justice as a Crown Attorney, subsequently becoming Senior Crown Attorney (Labrador) in 2015. Ms. Mercer continues her career with Department of Justice and Public Safety taking on the acting role of Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions. She has enjoyed offering her time to volunteer with, among others, NLOWE, Work out World, the Rotary Club and the Polaris Figure Skating Club Board of Directors.

Judy Morrow
Judy Morrow (nee Neil), born in Spaniard's Bay, graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in 1982 and Dalhousie University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Laws. Judy articled with the law firm of Curtis Dawe until she was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in April of 1986. After a brief period of time practicing law in St. John's, Ms. Morrow and her husband, Bill Morrow QC, relocated and started their own practice in Bay Roberts in 1989. They continue to operate their full service law firm, Morrow & Morrow, and in 2013, expanded their practice to include an Accident & Injury Centre in Carbonear. From 2001 to 2004, she was Chief Adjudicator for the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission. As well, she served as the Vice Chairperson/Secretary of the Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission and as the Chairperson of its Appeal Board during various times from 1992 to 2000.

Peter O'Flaherty
Peter O'Flaherty was admitted to the Bar in 1990 and currently practices in St. John's with the firm O'Flaherty Wells Law. Mr. O'Flaherty is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and the University of New Brunswick Law School, and has a Master of Laws from the University of London (London School of Economics and Political Science). His practice is focused on civil litigation and commercial law with a special interest in the fields of natural resources and aboriginal law. Mr. O'Flaherty serves on the Boards of Air Labrador and Sport NL and he is a proud member of the Swilers Rugby Football Club in St. John's.

Andrew Parsons
Andrew Parsons, the province's Minister of Justice and Public Safety, Attorney General and Government House Leader, has represented the District of Burgeo - La Poile in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly since 2011. Mr. Parsons earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Brunswick before earning his law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2004. He was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 2005, after articling with Ches Crosbie Barristers and Marks & Parsons Law Office. Mr. Parsons practiced with Marks and Parsons Law Firm, a general practice located in Port aux Basques, where he practiced in administrative law, criminal law, family law, wills and estates, among other areas. In his time in the Official Opposition, Mr. Parsons served as Opposition Justice Critic in addition to Opposition House Leader. Now, in his first year as Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General, Mr. Parsons has established safe access zone legislation that ensures abortion services are provided in a secure, respectful and private environment and continues to work toward a Drug Treatment Court, expansion of the Family Violence Intervention Court, establishing a Serious Incident Response Team as civilian oversight for Police, and a pilot program for free legal advice for sexual assault complainants in criminal matters.

Kari Ann Pike
Kari Ann Pike attended school in Corner Brook and graduated from Regina High School in 1986. In 1990 she graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in philosophy, with a concentration in jurisprudence. In 1993 she graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Laws degree. While attending law school she was accepted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Crown Apprenticeship program which set the path for her legal career as a Crown Attorney. After articling with the Crown Attorney's Office in Corner Brook, Ms. Pike was admitted to the Bar of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1994. Since then she has remained with the Department of Justice and Safety, and she is currently in their Stephenville office. Over the last 22 years she has appeared before the Provincial and Supreme Courts. Ms. Pike is of Mi'kmaq First Nations heritage and her family has always actively practiced and celebrated their culture. She is involved in her community particularly with fundraising for the Bay St. George Sick Children's Foundation, the Relay for Life, and the Make a Wish Foundation. She is particularly proud to be a founding member of the Stephenville Turtles Running Group.

Darlene Russell
Darlene Russell is originally from Bay Roberts. She graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree and in 1993 from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Laws degree. Ms. Russell articled with William Morrow, QC. She was called to the Bar of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1994 and has been practicing in the field of civil litigation at Ches Crosbie Barristers ever since. She has been recognized by her peers in Best Lawyers in Canada for her practice in personal injury litigation. She is a past member of the Board of Regents of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and has served on various committees with the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is a current member of the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association and the Canadian Bar Association.

2017 01 13                              1:30 p.m.