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Local lawyer joins King’s Counsel

By May 2, 2024No Comments
Lawyer A.J. Fox at Fox Wakefield is believed to be the first female lawyer in Lloydminster to receive a prestigious King’s Counsel (KC) designation. Fox will also receive her Masters degree in alternative dispute resolution in June. Supplied Photo

 

Lloydminster lawyer, Andrea Fox, who goes by AJ. Fox professionally, can add the title of King’s Counsel (KC) to her credentials at Fox Wakefield in the coming weeks.

She is one of 103 Alberta lawyers to recently receive the honourary KC designation in recognition of outstanding contributions to the legal community.

Fox is also believed to be the first female lawyer in Lloydminster appointed KC.

“The King’s Counsel designation is a prized distinction within the Canadian justice system. By making positive contributions to the profession, these honourees represent the legal profession at its best,” said Mickey Amery, Minister of Justice and Attorney General in a statement. 

Fox specializes in real estate and estate planning and has become a champion of alternative dispute resolutions to ensure everyone has access to justice.

“The big push right now is trying to make sure access to justice is readily available, and that’s a bit of an uphill battle. That’s an important part of today’s legal world,” said Fox.

“It’s always in the back of my mind. Certainly, access to justice is a really important element that I’m concerned about.”

Fox says the court system is so clogged right now, that it can take three or four years to get something to trial.

That prompted her to seek a Master’s degree online from Osgoode Law School in Toronto in alternative dispute resolution, which she says is a burgeoning and exciting field.

“I’m convocating in June,” she said.

Fox says alternative dispute resolution focuses on arbitration and mediation as ways to settle legal disputes and can save clients time and money.

She says it’s an area that has a lot of potential.

“That was part of the reason I did my Master’s degree to potentially switch the focus of my practice to what’s called a ‘neutral practice’ where I’m acting as mediator or arbitrator,” she said

“That’s something I’m looking at.”

Fox says alternative dispute resolutions are mandatory in some jurisdictions now.

“Before you can proceed further in court, the rules of court demand that you proceed with judicial dispute resolution and mediation. It’s something most courts are really in favour of,” explained Fox.

She says she was “greatly surprised” by her inclusion to the list of King’s Counsel appointees.

“I’m humbled to think I’m part of that group. I am very thrilled about it,” said Fox.

The selection committee is made up of representatives from government, the three levels of Court, the Law Society and the Canadian Bar Association.

Fox was nominated for the KC distinction by her firm and two supporters.

She is currently a member of the Practice Review Committee for the Law Society of Alberta and has served as a board member on the Environmental Appeals Board of Alberta and the Public Lands Appeal Board of Alberta.

Fox grew up on a farm just outside of Lloydminster Saskatchewan and after graduating from Lloydminster Comprehensive High School, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and a law degree from the University of Tasmania in Australia.

After practising law “Down Under” for a while, Fox returned to Lloydminster to pursue a career close to home.

She and lawyer Jeremy Wakefield took over the firm as partners 20 years ago from former owners and have since added associate lawyer Jordan Bolt and articling student Spencer Bossaer to the staff.

Fox will receive her KC designation in a ceremony at the Law Courts Building in Edmonton on June 5 with the following procedures in place.

The Chief Justice of Alberta will call each counsel individually, in order of seniority, directing him/her to come forward as his/her name is called. 

The new King’s Counsel will move to the front of the courtroom, bow to the Court and then to the other King’s Counsel and then proceed back to his/her assigned chair in the inner bar. 

Counsel is required to gown in either their silks or, if not available, in a regular gown for this ceremony.                

The tradition of appointing lawyers to be King’s Counsel dates back the 16th century England. In Canada, the practice predates Confederation with the first KC appointees admitted in Upper Canada in 1841.