April 1, 2021
Bencher Profile Series
Sony Ahluwalia
Having lived on three continents and practised law across Canada, Sony Ahluwalia brings a rich and diverse perspective to the Bencher table as he begins his first term.

Born and raised in Uganda and later moving to London, England with his family, it wasn’t until high school when Sony relocated to Canada to pursue post-secondary education.

“I first came to Alberta and sort of wandered from there,” he laughs.

Sony completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Regina before moving further east to Ontario where he completed his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Windsor. From there, he returned to England for a brief stint where he worked in conjunction with Amnesty International before returning to Canada once again, this time settling near the opposite coast in Golden, British Columbia. It was here that he was initially called to the bar in 1996 and eventually opened his own practice, only the third one in the small town.

“It was a mixed practice given the rural location, so I did everything from family to corporate to wills and estates to real estate law. I also did a lot of pro bono work during that time for women and children, as access was an issue within the local community.”

Sony was later called to the Alberta bar in 2004 and moved to Edmonton where he had the opportunity to work with the Federal Department of Justice as counsel in Indian Residential Schools (IRS) litigation. He worked on the resolution side of the process, leading the dispute resolution group and preparing opinions for the resolution of IRS claims.

Sandra Mah
Sandra Mah is one of nine Benchers who were newly elected in 2020, but don’t let her short time at the Bencher table deceive you. For the last 18 years, Sandra has been a volunteer with the Law Society, serving on multiple committees, task forces and as an adjudicator. After so many years of work with the Law Society, Sandra made the leap to running for Bencher for a number of reasons, but not least of which was to find a new challenge with her commitment to the profession.

“I was first appointed to a committee when I was a fifth-year associate,” says Mah. “I happened to know Cheryl Gottselig, who was the Law Society President at the time.

“She said, ‘Sandra, we need people like you’. She put me on these committees, and it never ended!”

Sandra is currently Associate Counsel with DLA Piper (Canada) LLP. She earned her Bachelor of Laws from Queen’s University and Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Alberta Bar in 1995. Sandra’s practice currently focuses on tax, trusts and estates, corporate/commercial matters and dispute resolution. In addition to her volunteer work with the Law Society, Sandra has also spent years volunteering with the Canadian Tax Foundation and Wood’s Homes in Calgary.

Although she started her career as a general practitioner, as a tax and trust lawyer, she notes that her approach is likely distinct from many of her colleagues at the Law Society.

Applications for the Viscount Bennett Scholarship Now Open
The Right Honourable Viscount Bennett, PC, KC, LLD, DCL, sought to encourage a high standard of legal education, training and excellence. In 1943, he established a trust fund with 100 shares of Royal Bank stock, valued at $100 per share. The value has increased significantly, allowing the Viscount Scholarship Selection Committee (Committee) to award up to three scholarships annually.

Award

Up to $20,000 may be paid annually to provide for post-graduate studies in an institution of higher learning, in common law, approved by the Committee.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be law graduates, articling students or members of the Law Society of Alberta, ordinarily resident in, or if not presently resident in, then with an express intention to return to Alberta. Award recipient selection is based on academic excellence, financial need and degree of involvement in law school, community and legal affairs.

Applications

Applications are to be sent to Barbara Billingsley, Dean of Law at the University of Alberta by April 30, 2021. Visit our website or the University of Alberta's website for more information on eligibility requirements and how to apply.
Alberta Court of Appeal Announcement

The Court is pleased to announce a new Court of Appeal courthouse in Calgary. Read the full message from Chief Justice Catherine A. Fraser here
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