Kanchana Fernando

Legal Peers Name Kanchana Fernando An Inspired Future Leader

Staff Writer - 27 May 2019

Popular sessional instructor wins Women In Leadership Award

Kanchana Fernando , '07 LLB, a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Law, has been feted as a rising leader by her female peers in Alberta's legal community.

Fernando, who is counsel in the federal Department of Justice, received the Tomorrow's Leader Award at the Women in Law Leadership Awards.

The award celebrates the accomplishments of a lawyer called to the bar in the past 10 years who has already demonstrated significant growth, development and initiative, and shows great promise for superior legal capability and leadership.

"When I was in law school, I was very troubled to hear about the high rates of attrition of women in the legal profession," said Fernando. "I am very passionate about developing ways to reverse this trend, which led me to the Canadian Bar Association's Women Lawyers Forum, which works to support the advancement of women in law."

Fernando, '04 MA (Political Science and Government) and '07 LLB, has been with the Department of Justice since 2008, where she practices mainly Constitutional and criminal law, and has vast experience as lead counsel at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She frequently acts as counsel for the Attorney General of Canada at provincial fatality inquiries.

She has taught at UAlberta Law since 2016, and has created a public law advocacy course for second-and thirdyear students that requires them to complete three chambers applications while learning oral advocacy skills.

Additionally, she is a member of Alberta Justice's Provincial Court nominating committee, is a provincial council member of the Canadian Bar Association and is the national liaison and former co-chair of the Alberta branch of the CBA's Women Lawyers Forum.

Within the DOJ, where she was chair of its diversity council, and where she delivers mentoring and training, she has received four awards of excellence for her litigation skills, leadership initiatives and pro bono work.

She is also a volunteer lawyer with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre, was a longtime board member of the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society and a committee member of the Law Society of Alberta for three years.