I was born and raised in Vancouver. I went to Queen Mary Elementary School and graduated from Magee Secondary. For many years competitive swimming was a big part of my life, and I swam with the Canadian Dolphins Swim Club and later with U.B.C. After high school, I went to university both in B.C. and in Britain, and ended up with 3 university degrees: a Bachelor of Arts from U.B.C. and law degrees from both the University of Edinburgh and U.B.C.
In 1987, I was called to the bar. After articling and practicing at Thompson, McConnell, a leading municipal law firm, I developed a large Personal Injury Law practice in the Lower Mainland. In 2006, I moved to Nanaimo. A short time later, with Laurie Crossan, Rod Mont and Michael Walker I practised under the banner of Mont & Walker Law Corporation and stayed there for 12 years. It was there I added Estate Litigation as a significant part of my practice.
Over the past 30+ years and, although most cases settle, I’ve had the privilege of representing clients in many Supreme Court of British Columbia trials, including several jury trials, and also in appeals in the British Columbia Court of Appeal.
In my career as a personal injury lawyer I’ve always acted against I.C.B.C., never for it. Among the more notable Personal Injury Law cases I’ve been counsel on is Alden v. Spooner, et al, 2002 BCCA 592which sets the highwater mark for personal injury awards for chronic pain/fibromyalgia injuries in British Columbia. I was Bonnae Alden’s lawyer both at trial and on appeal.
In the area of Estate Litigation, I have acted for disinherited children, beneficiaries defending the will, executors being challenged, and in a variety of other situations. Among the more notable cases I’ve been counsel on in Estate Litigation was Hagen–Bourgeault v. Martens, 2016 BCSC 1096. In that case, the deceased left nothing in her will to her adult daughter from her first marriage and everything to her second husband. I represented the daughter, who was the plaintiff. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge decided “what is adequate, just and equitable is that entire estate be for the benefit of the plaintiff.” I’m not aware of another case in which the court varied a will so completely as to redistribute the estate 100% to a disinherited child.
In 2003 I volunteered my time to represent the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association in the Sumas Energy 2 hearings before the National Energy Board of Canada My client opposed construction of a U.S. natural gas power plant, literally a few feet from the border near Abbotsford. The plant would then tie into the power grid by connecting to a B.C. Hydro power station in Abbotsford. Operating the plant would add to the already high levels of air pollution in the Fraser Valley. In a landmark decision, the N.E.B. decided against allowing the connection, killing the U.S. project.
Outside of the office, I spend most of my time with my wife Olga, the love of my life. She’s very active and she keeps me active too. I have two grown up children, Sean and Ian, whom I am very proud of.
I moved with my family from Singapore to Toronto in 1987. In 2001 we moved to Nanaimo. After moving to Nanaimo, I decided I wanted a career in the legal field and went to and graduated from Vancouver Island University’s Legal Administrative Assistant Program. After graduation I worked with Ramsay Lampman Rhodes and then in 2006 began working for Patrick McMurchy. My husband and I have two children who have successful careers and I am very proud of them.