The Honourable Madam Justice Ellen Picard and Professor Emeritus Ron Hopp, Q.C. Recognized at Edmonton Bar Association Annual Judges' Dinner

Alumnus Dharam Dhillon (JD '16) was also recognized at the celebration.

Priscilla Popp - 12 October 2016

The Edmonton Bar Association's Annual Judges' Dinner - held this year on Tuesday, October 4 in the Empire Ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald - is an opportunity for members of Edmonton's legal community to reconnect, recognize the accomplishments of retiring judges and justices, and celebrate new appointments to the bench.

Three individuals honoured this year have strong ties to the University of Alberta Faculty of Law: distinguished former faculty members The Honourable Madam Justice Ellen Picard (LLB '67, LLM '80) and Professor Emeritus Ron Hopp, Q.C. (LLB '71), and recent alumnus Dharam Dhillon (JD '16). Justice Picard, a member of the Alberta Court of Appeal before her retirement in February 2016, was recognized for her many contributions to the legal profession throughout her career. Prof. Hopp was honoured with the Eileen Nash Memorial Award - named in memory of The Honourable Madam Justice Eileen Nash - which recognizes the efforts of individuals providing services on a pro bono basis to benefit the under-privileged. The award was established by the Edmonton Bar Association with the support and assistance of the Edmonton Community Foundation. Mr. Dhillon - currently articling at McMillan LLP in Vancouver - was awarded the Edmonton Bar Association Scholarship.

Justice Picard joined the Faculty of Law in 1972 - our first woman full-time faculty member - to teach torts, contracts, agency, and legal process. She served as Associate Dean on two separate occasions (1974-75, 1980-81). During her time at the Faculty (1972-1986), she founded the Health Law Institute (HLI), the first research institute in Canada in the health law field. The HLI - home to many leading health scholars, including Gerald Robertson, Q.C., Timothy Caulfield, Erin Nelson, and Peter Carver - began as a resource centre and evolved into an international centre for health law research. The HLI amalgamated with the Faculty's Health Law and Science Policy group in 2012 to work together to conduct health law and science policy research, disseminate scholarly outputs and policy work to a broad interdisciplinary community, facilitate collaborative opportunities with international researchers and organizations, and attract top graduate students to the Faculty.

"Not only did Justice Ellen Picard start the Health Law Institute, she is truly one of the founders of the discipline of health law," said Prof. Timothy Caulfield, Research Director, Health Law Institute. "For me, she has been both a mentor and an inspiration."

Justice Picard is the co-author with Gerald Robertson, Q.C. of Legal Liability of Doctors and Hospitals in Canada, and the former vice-president of the Law Reform Commission of Canada. She was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta in 1986, and in 1995 was elevated to the Court of Appeal. The University of Alberta granted Justice Picard Honourary Professorships in both Law and Medicine, and in 1992 she received an Honourary LLD. Each year, the HLI organizes the Picard Health Lecture in her honour.

Prof. Hopp joined the University of Alberta in 1975, teaching courses in the Faculty of Law and the Alberta School of Business. He continued to practice law in the areas of small claims, real estate, wills, civil litigation, criminal, and family law throughout his teaching career.

Prof. Hopp was nominated for the Eileen Nash Memorial Award by Sarah Sager, Executive Coordinator of Student Legal Services of Edmonton (SLS) and by Dean Paul Paton, on behalf of the Faculty, with the unanimous support of the Faculty Awards and Distinguished Service Committee. SLS is a non-profit society composed of student volunteers dedicated to helping low-income individuals in the Edmonton area understand and solve their legal problems. Prof. Hopp began advising students at SLS in 1976 and ultimately served as an advising lawyer at the organization for more than 40 years. He received a heartfelt and spontaneous standing ovation from the crowd of 250 people when he was presented with his award by his former student and Faculty of Law colleague, Prof. Barbara Billingsley.

"It is not an exaggeration to say that every lawyer in Edmonton knows of Ron Hopp and his longstanding commitment to pro bono work," said Prof. Billingsley. "To paraphrase a popular country song, 'Ron Hopp was pro bono before pro bono was cool.' His efforts have helped to create a culture of public service among members of the Alberta bar."

Added Sarah Sager: "Prof. Hopp's years of service and his commitment to SLS and pro bono principles have had a measurable impact on access to justice for the low income community in Edmonton."

The Eileen Nash Memorial Award comes with a small cash prize which is donated to a charity of the recipient's choice. Prof. Hopp elected to donate his prize to the Class of 1971 Bursary administered by the Faculty.

"In addition to his work at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law as Assistant and Associate Professor - and more recently as Professor Emeritus - Ron Hopp, Q.C. has been providing pro bono legal services in Edmonton in a variety of capacities, including through his own part-time practice and as Advising Lawyer for SLS, for more than four decades," said Dean Paul Paton. "His service to SLS is extraordinary, not only for its duration, but more importantly for the impact it has had on the lives of SLS clients and on the generations of University of Alberta law students who have been forever shaped by their SLS experiences."

The Faculty of Law would like to thank Justice Picard and Prof. Hopp for their many years of public service, and we offer Mr. Dhillon our congratulations on his EBA scholarship. All three individuals are tremendous ambassadors for the Faculty of Law.