Local lawyer Deanna Ludowicz recently received the Legal Aid Leader Award from the Canadian Bar Association for her outstanding career in advocacy.
The Legal Services Society nominated Ludowicz before the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association reviewed its selection. From there, the national committee made its final decision.
Ludowicz was surprised when she heard she had been selected.
“It wasn’t on my radar as something that was coming or could happen, but it was a thrill for people to nominate me and to get awarded for it,” she said, adding she is the third person to receive this award.
Her journey as a lawyer began in 1992 when she was called to bar in the province and ended up working in Hazelton.
In 1994, the Legal Services Society opened a branch in Grand Forks and she relocated.
“I started work here as a staff lawyer, where we provided legal aid services predominantly for family law matters,” she explained. “Through the years, the government financing got tighter and tighter and its more efficient from the legal services perspective to just pay lawyers directly for their work and not pay for the overhead.”
Ludowicz pointed out she has worked as a lawyer and administrator during her time in Grand Forks, and is currently a director for the Legal Services Society for the province.
She added her role as a director includes managing how, as lawyers, they provide people with legal representation.
“It was always something I was interested in: addressing injustices and maintaining the rule of law that everyone has to abide by, the same rules, rich or poor,” Ludowicz said. “Legal aid is really important for people to ensure that everyone either has the chance to go to court and have their rights preserved.”
To those entering or interested in legal services, Ludowicz pointed out a person has to be willing to continue to learn since the law changes regularly.
“You do need to go to university and it is probably going to be an active market in the future, especially in small towns,” she said. “The advantage of living in a small town in the long run is that you do get to work one-on-one with your clients; you’re not stuck in an office punching up the same paperwork and never really dealing with clients.”
Prior to her legal career, Ludowicz spent 10 years as an anthropologist and archaeologist working in northern B.C.