Rhonda Ruston, QC
I was born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta and have a long history as a lawyer and active member in my former home community:
I obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Lethbridge in 1979 and my Law Degree from the University of Ottawa in 1982. I worked as a lawyer in Lethbridge for almost 30 years primarily as a civil litigator. My early years were spent in the family law area. As I became known for my advocacy and my desire to be the voice for those who could not easily speak for themselves, requests to work on other matters allowed me the opportunity to branch out into many areas of the law – such as wrongful dismissal, estate disputes, legal negligence, medical malpractice, WCB claims, adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and victims of abuse in enforced institutional residencies.
As a strong believer that volunteerism – serving something outside of ourselves –allows us to experience our interconnectedness and builds healthier, more empathetic and kinder communities, I devoted countless hours through the years to volunteer endeavors in Lethbridge, both as a community member and as a lawyer. I served on the Board of Governors of the Community College, elected member to the Public School Board, was a founding member of Samaritans Society for suicide prevention, member of the Board of Directors for the United Way, board member of the Community Foundation, board member and President of YWCA, member of the Regional Police Force’s committee to coordinate response to domestic violence, and Advisory Counsel to the University’s Dean of Fine Arts. I was a contributing presenter for the Legal Education Society of Alberta and Canadian Bar Association, and lecturer for the continuing (legal) education programs of the Community College. I served as pro bono legal counsel to the Aids Connection Society, YWCA Harbour House Emergency Women’s Shelter and the Humane Society. I served three terms as a “Bencher” for the Law Society of Alberta (the governing body of the legal profession), served on the Alberta Judicial Affairs Committee to review potential federal judicial candidates and was appointed to Alberta’s Provincial Unified Family Task Force to make recommendations for the creation of a Unified Family Court. I taught as an instructor of a legal issues course for the University’s Political Science Department.
I was awarded the YWCA’s Woman of the Year for community service, and inducted to my high school’s “Wall of Fame” for my contribution to legal education and community service. I was appointed “Queen’s Counsel” in the province of Alberta in recognition of my contributions to the legal profession and in public service.
My commitment to volunteerism has continued upon becoming a full time resident of BC and member of the BC Law Society and I enjoy providing pro bono legal advice in myriad ways in my community.
When people are given legal advice which helps them solve problems in their own lives they are stronger for it – an increasing need in a world where everything seems to be more difficult to manage these days. This is why it is vital that the legal profession make legal services accessible to all who require the assistance.