Prominent Vancouver lawyer gets Law Society of B.C. award

The Law Society of B.C. has released a video tribute to one of the province’s top criminal defence lawyers in recognition of his “extraordinary” contributions to the legal community.

The tribute to the career of Leonard Doust was produced due to the fact that a dinner to present the Law Society Award 2020 to him had to be cancelled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award, given out every two years, honours the lifetime contributions of a “truly exceptional” person who inspires others in the pursuit of excellence.

In the short video, a number of the top members in the legal community gave tribute to Doust, 79, who has been a lawyer for more than 50 years.

Born in Ontario and the son of a miner, Doust graduated from the University of B.C. law school in 1966. The father of three has been known for taking on a range of cases and being a mentor to many young lawyers in addition to having conducted the public commission on legal aid.

B.C. Court of Appeal Chief Justice Robert Bauman, the province’s top judge, noted that the award’s criteria included integrity, professional achievement, service and law reform.

“I can’t think of any lawyer today who has more fully achieved these objectives, who more embodies these qualities, than Len,” said Bauman.

Lisa Martz, a colleague of Doust, said that Doust wasn’t just the best lawyer because of his skills, but also because he practises law with joy and compassion.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Crossin said that beyond being the best criminal defence lawyer, Doust has also been the “best friend of the bar.”

“If you ever reached out your hand for help or comfort, he would take it. If you needed someone to lean on, he would stand with you. He never wavered. He was always there and for me that is his legacy,” Crossin said.

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