A longtime Amherst lawyer was honoured by the Dalhousie University School of Law on Monday.
AMHERST – A longtime Amherst lawyer and community volunteer was recognized by his alma mater during Law Week celebrations here Monday.
Morris Haugg was recognized as a Bertha Wilson Honour Society by Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law Dean Kim Brooks during the Amherst Rotary Club’s weekly meeting.
“I’ve always been very proud to be a lawyer and always considered a privilege that I attended Dalhousie University,” said Haugg, a member of the Class of ’69. “The Dalhousie Law School is one of the most respected in the English-speaking world and means a lot to be recognized by the alumni association.”
Haugg was inducted into the society for giving back to his profession and community.
Born in Germany, Haugg made his home in Tidnish and there are few community causes he has not been part of.
He’s been a longtime member of the Amherst Rotary Club, the Amherst YMCA, the Amherst Toastmaster Club, the Amherst Township Historical Society, the Blueberry Harvest Festival and the Tidnish Crossroads Community Association, the Northport Home and School Association, the Highland View Regional Hospital Foundation and the Cumberland Health Care Foundation.
He also served on numerous commissions and boards, was a lecturer at Mount Allison University and has held executive positions with the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Cumberland Barristers’ Society.
He received the Queen’s Counsel designation in 1986, won Rotary’s Distinguished Service Award, was named Cumberland County’s Volunteer of the Year and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. “One of the most striking things I saw about Morris’ information was how much he has inspired generations of lawyers to engage in public service and to act in the best interests of the society,” Brooks said. “I think a colleague of his summed it up best when he said Morris had made the legal profession and the community at large a better place because of his involvement. This is exactly the kind of involvement our law school and this Rotary club wants to celebrate.”
The Bertha Wilson Honour Society was established in 2012 in tribute to the first woman appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal and the first female Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
The society recognizes the school’s alumni and showcases its contribution to law and society.
While speaking to Rotarians, Brooks talked about how the legal profession had changed. One of the biggest changes is how expensive a law degree is becoming and the difficulty in getting new lawyers to work in smaller communities.
“Lots of students are graduating with $80,000 or $100,000 in debt and in the Nova Scotia context that’s a big concern because we want to make sure lawyers will stay here after graduation instead of going to where the higher salaries are so they can pay off their student debt,” she said.
Brooks said there are changes to how lawyers article in that there aren’t as many placements available, while there are more foreign-trained lawyers coming to practice law in Canada.
Another challenge is the proliferation of the amount of law.
“If you rewound 60 years ago you could possible read everything about a particular area of law. That’s no longer the case. Law schools are now teaching a very small percentage of the amount of law that’s out there in each particular field,” Brooks said.
Other challenges, she said, include the rising costs in securing legal services, cuts to legal aid and Justice Department programs while more lawyers are leaving the profession because of the pressure and stress that go with the profession.
Brooks also talked about some of the pro bono work done by students at the Dalhousie law school including the artists legal information society, work with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Centre for Law and Democracy.
Josh Cormier, the vice-president of the Cumberland Barristers Society, talked to Rotarians about the significance of Law Day and Law Week and how it recognizes the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution in April 1982.
He said it’s a celebration of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Law Week is a way to celebrate the legal profession, the legal institutions and the law itself,” Cormier said.
Cormier said the judiciary has become the house of sober second thought protecting Canadians against abuses by the government.