Over the course of the ceremony, four recent graduates were administered their oaths and signed the registrar with Justice R.D. Maher. A selection of legal authorities provided words of welcome and introductions to the group, which included Dannielle DesRoches, Melissa Isbister, Maja Starovic and Evan Strelioff.
Among those welcoming the new lawyers were David Thera, past president of the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Bar Association; Dan Heffernan, president of the Saskatchewan Trial Lawyers’ Association; and Ron Parchomchuk of the provincial Law Society.
“It’s easy to be preoccupied with the demands of our clients and the demands of our employers,” Thera told the new inductees. “But my advice to you is to take a moment from time to time and step back and consider the broader role that lawyers play in our society.
“If you are a young associate of my firm I would hope you would not do that for too long or too often. But consider it nevertheless. Your involvement in the Canadian Bar Association provides a unique opportunity to become directly and meaningfully involved in that aspect of our noble profession.”
Each inductee received a special introduction from more accomplished lawyers. Local attorney Val Harvey provided the introduction for DesRoches and told the audience of her lifelong residency in Prince Albert.
“I’m from here,” DesRoches said of her decision to practise law in her hometown. “My family’s here, so I wanted to come back here.”
DesRoches graduated from Carlton Comprehensive High School in 2003 before receiving her bachelor of arts in sociology from the University of Saskatchewan. She took part in the Program of Legal Studies for Native People at the university before beginning law school in fall 2007. En route to graduating from law school in 2011, she became a member of the Aboriginal Law Students’ Association.
I just can’t wait to start serving my community. - Evan Strelioff
Attorney Leo Pinel introduced inductee Melissa Isbister, who is also a native of Prince Albert. After graduating from high school in 2000, Isbister earned her degree in sociology and attained her law degree in 2011. She has worked with the Ministry of Justice and spent one summer with the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 2010.
“I’ve had a little experience in the legal community here,” Isbister said. “So it felt normal to come back.”
The third inductee, Maja Starovic, had a long path to practising law in Canada. She originally studied medicine in Sarajevo, Bosnia before completing her degree at the University of Belgrade. Later, she moved to Calgary, earned a bachelor of science in genetics and served as the co-author of four publications.
Praising her decision to study law, lawyer Peter Abrametz said Starovic had shown initiative, judgment and the ability to quickly adapt to new situations.
Last to be inducted was Evan Strelioff. Introductory speaker Mitch Holash pointed to Strelioff’s impressive academic and athletic history, which included being named Defensive Lineman of the Year at Carlton Comprehensive High School. Initially studying natural sciences at the University of Saskatchewan, he soon moved into more philosophical and social areas of study, beginning law school as an undergraduate.
Of his decision to study law, Strelioff said, “I appreciated the skill set and challenges involved … and I like running my mouth.”
Strelioff said life in the legal profession was not what one might expect, pointing to a lot of reading, writing and “stuff that closely resembles babysitting.” Still, he was looking forward to begin practicing law in Prince Albert.
“I just can’t wait to start serving my community.”