The Law Society is governed by the Benchers (much like a Board of Directors) who are 17 lawyers elected by their colleagues (with regional representation) and four members of the public appointed by a Committee which includes (and is chaired by) the Chief Justice of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Minister of Justice and two others appointed by them. Benchers meet regularly to formulate policy on matters related to the governance of the legal profession. Benchers, in conjunction with various committees such as the Executive Committee, the Accounts and Finance Committee, the Complaints Authorization Committee, the Insurance Committee and the Education Committee, work to protect the public interest in the delivery of quality legal services.

Lay Benchers have the same authority and responsibility as elected Benchers and are required to attend regular Benchers’ meetings (a full day) five or six times a year as necessary. They may also be required to serve on various Law Society committees, including the committee that screens complaints against lawyers. Lay Benchers are appointed by the Appointing Committee which is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division and are eligible to serve a 4 year term but may be reappointed upon the expiration of his or her term.

In addition to provincial concerns, Benchers also consider matters impacting upon the profession and the public nationally and internationally. As a member of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (“the Federation”), a national organization of Law Societies throughout the country, the Law Society has access to a broader range of resources to assist it in carrying out its mandate. Matters of national importance may lead to the creation of and implementation of uniform best practices and provide for a larger pool of precedent on which to draw when interpreting matters locally. It also ensures that mobility between provinces is more seamless. All of this is of benefit to the profession and protects the public interest.

The following is a list of elected and appointed Benchers.

Elected Benchers


Eastern District:
Donald E Anthony Suzanne M Orsborn John J Hogan
Ann Martin R Paul Burgess, QC, Past President Joan MB Dawson
Scott Worsfold Valerie A Hynes Gladys H Dunne
Douglas W Wright Leanne M O’Leary Ian S Patey
Rodney J Zdebiak
Central District: Western District: Labrador District:
Renee L F Appleby James E Merrigan, QC Adrienne S Edmunds
Rebecca A Redmond MacLean Trevor A Stagg

Appointed Benchers

Ross Elliott Linda Harnett
Glenda Reid Allan Skanes