Two new lawyers called to the bar in Swift Current
Two new lawyers were formally admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan during a call to the bar ceremony in Swift Current, Sept. 21.
Representatives of the local legal profession, family and friends attended a special sitting of the Court of Queen’s Bench to welcome Ashley Falk and Jean Jordaan to the profession.
The newly admitted lawyers were officially introduced by members of the legal fraternity in Swift Current.
Falk was presented by Andrea Argue from the law firm Kanuka Thuringer LLP and Jordaan was introduced by Neil Gibbings from Anderson & Company.
This was followed by the administration of the oath and signing of the register. Words of welcome were presented by Justice T.J. Keene on behalf of the Court of Queen’s Bench and by Judge K.P. Bazin for the Provincial Court, while John McIntosh Q.C. brought greetings from the Law Society of Saskatchewan.
Justice Keene said it was a pleasure to preside over this wonderful and meaningful ceremony.
“It has been a long journey for our two new lawyers ... and they've almost reached their destination,” he mentioned. “The final step in becoming a lawyer in our tradition is to be formally presented to a superior court in Saskatchewan, being the Court of Queen's Bench. This call to the bar ceremony in this, the most beautiful court house in Saskatchewan, is full of significance. It means that in just a few minutes from now and every day thereafter, both of you will be formally introduced to the court and will become known as lawyers and be deserved to be called a lawyer.”
The admission to the provincial law society will give the two new lawyers the right to appear before all the courts in Saskatchewan.
In terms of the rules of the Law Society of Saskatchewan it also provides them permission to appear in any court across the country, including the Federal and Supreme Court of Canada.
“You worked very hard to obtain your legal education,” he said. “Today we're part of celebrating with you that great accomplishment. In doing so, we're not celebrating an ending, but more so the beginning of a career in law that now commences. The legal profession is a unique and special one. Lawyers are part of a privileged group. Only lawyers may practice law, but this privilege which has been now given to you come with a corresponding responsibility.”
An important part of that responsibility relates to professional ethics and their obligation of integrity and good faith towards the courts, their clients, to legal colleagues, and to the public. Justice Keene encouraged them to be involved in community activities outside their law practice.
“Lawyers are an integral part of our society,” he said. “In addition to the functions that are part of a lawyer's professional duties, you often find lawyers volunteering their time in their community. ... “You're entering this profession at a time of unprecedented opportunity. I wish you good health, happiness and success.”
Judge Bazin thanked local members of the legal profession for their support and guidance to Falk and Jordaan while they completed their articles in Swift Current. He noted that both have already appeared in front of him in provincial court, and they represented their clients admirably. He added that provincial court is a useful place for them to develop their litigation skills.
“Practising in rural areas does have its challenges, but there are many opportunities for you that do not exist in the larger centres,” he said.
McIntosh spoke on behalf of the Law Society of Saskatchewan, which represents about 1,700 lawyers in the province. The organization sets the standards for law students and their examination. Falk and Jordaan have both passed the examination and they are now fully qualified and approved as lawyers.
“We know that you have worked hard and have shown fortitude in the face of adversity,” McIntosh said. “You now have opportunities before you and I would ask you to remember that the practice of law is never boring. Probably you will add new distinction to the legal profession in ways that we never had before. This is your special day, Ashley and Jean, and we honour you and that honour is richly deserved. I'm sure I speak on behalf of all the lawyers in Saskatchewan and particularly those lawyers who are present here today when I wish you the very best in your future endeavours and we look forward to working with you as colleagues.”
Falk grew up on her family's farm near Rosenhof, south of Swift Current. She went to Wymark School until Grade 9 and graduated from Swift Current Comprehensive High School. She continued her postsecondary studies at the University of Saskatchewan.
“I’ve always been interested in law and I see how allpervasive it is,” she told the Prairie Post after the ceremony. “Law is part of everything and so I just think being a lawyer is a great way of giving back to the community.”
It was a different experience for her to be the focus of attention during the ceremony, because she is used to be in a courtroom to represent a client.
“Usually I’m on the other end, but it was great to see all my family here,” she said. “It’s a really awesome legal community in Swift Current. It’s a small community, but everybody is just great to work with. So it’s awesome to be able to experience that.”
She completed her articles at Kanuka Thuringer LLP and is now an associate at that law firm. She is interested in litigation with regard to both criminal and family law. She also enjoys estate litigation and working with real estate transactions.
“As an articling student you do something of everything,” she said. “They try to give you a broad range of exposure so that you can get a better sense of what you would like to specialize in the future. In Swift Current we a do a broad range of more general practice. So I got to experience everything we’ve got, a really good exposure, and I’ve been able to figure out more so where my strengths are and where my interests lies.”
Jordaan previously practised law in South Africa, where he was called to the bar in 2007. His main focus was on consumer law. He moved with his family to Swift Current in 2016, where he has worked with Anderson & Company as a paralegal while studying to requalify as a lawyer in Canada.
“It was quite a challenge after 10 years to go back to the books and to start studying and memorizing cases and things again, going back to the theory of law, but it was interesting too to look back after 10 years and to see the theory after you’ve been in practice so long,” he said.
He noted that the law systems of the two countries are quite similar, but the court processes are a bit different.
“I’m very happy,” he said about being called to the bar for the second time. “It was a long road and a lot of work, but with the support from my wife and kids we finally managed to get it done and get back and settled. So it’s a great day.”
He plans to focus on civil litigation and other court work as a lawyer in Swift Current. They decided to relocate to Saskatchewan because the province is immigrant friendly.
“We saw a promotional video of Swift Current on YouTube,” he recalled. “That seemed very interesting and when we got here we just felt right at home.… It seemed not too big, just the size we were looking for. I particularly don’t like big cities. I enjoy more small towns and this was perfect for us.”
Two lawyers were called to the bar in Swift Current, Sept. 21. They are pictured after the ceremony with local judges and the lawyers who introduced them. From left to right, Andrea Argue, Ashley Falk, Justice T.J. Keene, Judge K.P. Bazin, Jean Jordaan, and Neil Gibbings.