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Law Society of British Columbia elects bencher

Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 12:30 PM | By Carolyn Gruske


A byelection held by the Law Society of British Columbia needed seven rounds of voting to declare a winner.

The byelection was necessary due to Justice Sharon Matthews being named to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. Before her appointment, she was one of the benchers who represented District No. 1 in Vancouver.

Eight candidates ran for the position. They were Karen L. Snowshoe, Jon Festinger, Michael Thomas, Ashley Syer, Gurminder Sandhu, John Turner, Kyla Lee and Graham Lee Zilm. One candidate was dropped off the ballot after each round of voting.

Snowshoe led each round of voting, followed by Festinger in second place, until Snowshoe was elected with 580 votes to Festinger’s 543. A total of 562 were required for the victory. Only 9,008 eligible voters participated in the byelection, representing 18 per cent of the total number eligible to vote.

Snowshoe is a lawyer with a private practice and a specialization in arbitration. She is also a member of the Tetlit-Gwich’in nation (Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories).  

Much of her recent work has involved representing clients before the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat, the Northwest Territories Human Rights Adjudication Panel and the Workers’ Compensation Tribunal of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. She is also an active member of two federal land claim arbitration panels.

Her platform included her commitment to promoting diversity at all levels of the legal profession, to advancing the law society’s work of implementing relevant recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, and to supporting the law society’s efforts on promoting wellness among the legal profession, specifically relating to mental health and addictions.