Peter A Allard School of Law

J. Donald Mawhinney Lectureship in Professional Ethics - Ethical Lawyering in a Pandemic

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has required the court system and the legal profession to quickly find new mechanisms and new technologies for hearing cases.  These modifications can present particular challenges for counsel who must continue to discharge their ethical obligations in the face of unprecedented change.  This panel, drawn from the judiciary and the litigation bar, will discuss some of these challenges; how to manage and respond to them; and what the legacy of these changes might be for the justice system.


Chief Judge Gillespie, Provincial Court of British Columbia

Chief Judge Gillespie received her law degree from the University of Toronto, called to the BC Bar in 1991, and appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2009. Chief Judge Gillespie was sworn in as a Provincial Court judge in 2012, and in addition to sitting assignments, was active in delivering education programs to Judiciary members, as well as to the legal community. She also served as a member of the executive of the BC Provincial Court Judges Association. Chief Judge Gillespie was appointed an Associate Chief Judge for a two year term in 2016 and reappointed for a three year term in 2018. A member of the Board of Directors of the Justice Education Society, she has participated in a Justice Education Society project to strengthen the criminal justice system in Guyana. She was appointed Acting Chief Judge on May 7, 2018 and appointed Chief Judge on October 19, 2018.

Cheryl D'Sa, Managing Partner, Narwal Litigation LLP

Cheryl D’Sa is the managing partner of Narwal Litigation LLP in Downtown Vancouver, an elected Bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia, Past President of the Vancouver Bar Association and recipient of Business in Vancouver’s Top Forty under 40 award. She received both her B.A. and LL.B. from the University of British Columbia, and was called to the Bar in 2008. She devotes her practice primarily to plaintiff personal injury.

Vicky Law, Program Lawyer, Virtual Legal Clinic, Rise Women’s Legal Centre

Vicky Law is the Program Lawyer at Rise Women’s Legal Centre , a new initiative to provide legal services to women outside the Vancouver Lower Mainland. She finds innovative ways through technology to improve access to justice for women. Vicky Law has worked in the fields of immigration law and family law for women experiencing intimate partner violence. In her career as a legal advocate and a lawyer, she has supported many women and families in navigating their immigration status in Canada, and the complexity of the family law system. Vicky obtained her Juris Doctor (Honours) from the University of Saskatchewan and has built a legal career in BC where she passionately advocates for women’s rights.

The J. Donald Mawhinney Lectureship in Professional Ethics was established in honour of J. Donald Mawhinney to recognize his outstanding contributions to British Columbia's legal community, his commitment to legal education and his dedication to practicing with the very highest standard of professional ethics. 2006 was the inaugural J. Donald Mawhinney Lectureship in Professional Ethics. Each year the law school hosts an individual from the judiciary, the practice of law or academia to come to UBC as the J. Donald Mawhinney Lecturer. During the visit, the lecturer presents two lectures, one to students and one to members of the bar, the judiciary and the general public.

This lecture commemorates Mr. Mawhinney's dedication to professional ethics and legal education, and recognizes those whose contributions enabled the Lectureship in Professional Ethics. A special thank you to family, friends and colleagues whose generous contributions have made this lecture possible.

This event qualifies for 1 hour of CPD credit in Ethics.

Please note there is no fee to participate in this lecture.

Please register here to receive the Zoom link.

  • Development
  • Allard School of Law
  • Alumni
  • Continuing Professional Development
  • Faculty
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