This month’s spotlight shines on Ron Usher of The Society of Notaries Public of BC.
How did you first get involved with CLEBC?
During my articling year in Vernon (80-81) the firm was very generous in sending me to CLEBC programs in Kelowna and Kamloops. Every course provided useful information that could be immediately used in practice.
My first presentations for CLEBC were in the mid-late 80’s – mostly on law practice management and technology topics. This included a course where I gave what is likely the first demonstration to BC Lawyers of the “World Wide Web.”
What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
I recently worked with Ludmila Herbst, QC on a program on the key points BC lawyers and notaries need to know about the Cullen Commission report.
What made you decide to become a lawyer?
My first job after graduating from UVic was with “Citizen Advocacy Victoria,” a non-profit that paired and supported community members that advocated on behalf of disabled persons. I came to see that many of the issues were legal. Law school was obviously the place to learn about the law and public policy.
Apart from practicing law, you have had quite a varied career, including establishing your own firm as a legal technology consultant, 8 ½ years at the Law Society, serving as General Counsel at The Society of Notaries Public of BC, and being a visiting professor at SFU. Does any particular experience stand out for you?
At the Law Society, I was very involved in the fallout from the Martin Wirick / Tarsem Gill affair. My role as the staff lawyer to the “Conveyancing Practices Task Force” launched many years of work on fraud matters and involvement with the evolution of real estate practice. It was very satisfying, after years of work on Juricert, to note the successful 10,000,000th -e-fling into our Land Title system earlier this year.
What is the most valuable piece of advice that you have received in your career?
Being told that many very interesting career opportunities are available following a law school education if one is flexible and open. I certainly did not anticipate that I would become the first person in BC to be admitted by the BC Supreme Court as a “Barrister and Solicitor” and a “Commissioned Notary Public.” Both certificates are proudly on my office wall.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
Family, housing, and music.
So, you play the ukulele?
For many years I’ve enjoyed playing ukulele and bass for the Vancouver (and other) Ukulele Group(s). The community and fellowship is remarkable. My father was a well-known musician who encouraged me to get involved with music early on. As a teenager, I travelled for a year playing tenor saxophone – it was an amazing alternative to Grade 12! Ukulele groups have reconnected me with the shared joy that making music brings.
What do you look forward to most in 2023?
In the next year, I will be moving towards retirement. That said, I remain passionate about the opportunities I have supporting legal professionals as they serve clients in the context of our remarkable Torrens land system. I look forward to being involved with the ramifications of the Cullen Report recommendations and the evolution of the regulation of legal services.
And, of course, there will be some fascinating fraud-busting to do and CLEBC programs to attend along the way!