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The Inn

The Law Courts Inn


The Law Courts Inn is operated by The Lawyers’ Inn Society, established in 1971.

The objects of The Lawyers’ Inn Society are to foster and promote understanding, co operation, exchange of ideas and comradeship between all members of the legal profession, and to provide a forum for the full and free discussion of all matters of interest to its members. ​

The Inn is modeled after the Inns of Court in London, England, where for centuries barristers and judges have convened for lunches and dinners. Call ceremonies and special events in the life of the profession are held at the Inn.

The home of the Bench and Bar – where the culture of the profession is passed from one generation to the next.

2018 / 2019 Board of Directors



President: Adam Howden-Duke
Vice-President: Angela L. Folino
Past-President: Angela L. Folino
Secretary: Nolan Hurlburt
Treasurer: Emily Chee


JoAnne Barnum
Brian Cheng
Denny Chung
Alysa Paez
Fred Wynne
Jonathan Woolley
Daphne Rodzinyak
Andrew Scarth
Julia Roos

(with credit to Bruce Fraser, Q.C.)


Vancouver’s Lawyers’ Inn Society was founded in 1971, first opening its doors in the Marc building on the corner of Hornby and Dunsmuir Streets. The founders of the Inn, mostly directors of the Vancouver Bar Association, thought it would be a good idea to bring the local legal profession together on a daily basis by establishing a dining and social club for lawyers and judges, modeled after the Inns of Court in London, England.

With the backing of the Vancouver Bar, and the convenient location, downtown lawyers and the judges gave the Lawyers’ Inn their full support. The doors opened on May 14, 1972. The Inn was an immediate success signing up 500 members in its inaugural year.

At the heart of the Inn was the Common Table. What distinguished this table, besides the people who ate there, was its size and weight anchored as it was by a half ton of steel supports. It was not meant to be moved. It attracted any and all members of the Bar – it was not exclusive.

The Inn’s social committee worked hard in making the Inn relevant to the Bar. They staged an annual Christmas party where a well-known member of the Bar would dress up in a fool’s outfit. If a willing fool could not be found the default person was the President of the Lawyers Inn.

The Vancouver Bar Association held its meetings in the Inn as did the various subsections of the CBABC. The Bar’s tutorial programs were conducted at the Inn before more formalized articled training began.

In 1972, Martin Taylor, with an eye for tradition, came back from a trip to Middle Temple Hall in London, England with four ancient Elizabethan oak floor boards dating back to the 18th Century, a gift from our brothers and sisters at the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. These boards were fashioned into a table with bench seating four persons. This iconic table remains on display at the Inn today.

Another tradition of the Inn was the awarding of a pewter mug to the lawyer who best exemplified the spirit of the Inn in that year. That tradition continues today.

In 1976, the legal community was excited to see the new Arthur Erickson designed courthouse rise up in the middle of downtown. The main feature of the design was Erickson’s trademark skylight. The structure, along with government office in the block to the North, created a park-like setting for the surrounding towers. One of the architectural features was a large space devoted to a restaurant. It seemed from the drawings that the whole complex was built around this room. It looked out over a large reflecting pool, later call Lake Nemetz after the then-Chief Justice.

The then Board of Directors of the Inn approached the Chief Justice and offered to take over the space and operate a public restaurant and the Lawyer’s Inn. The thinking was that, as good as the Marc’s location had proved to be, it was a building which would soon be razed and what better place for the Lawyer’s Inn than the Courthouse. The Chief Justice suggested that there be a judge’s table opposite the judge’s entrance to the Inn and it remains that way to this day.

February the 15th, 1981 was the Lawyer’s Inn last day at the Marc before it moved to the Court House. The occasion was commemorated at the Common table by a poem, with a serving of our butter tarts, which remain on our menu today:

The Law Courts Inn Society


According to the Society filings in the Registry in 1976, the Lawyers Inn Society had 321 voting members and 137 non-voting members. The Board of Directors included:

Bruce Fraser, Keith Benson, Christopher Holmes, Donald Risk, Dennis Creighton, Derek Cave, John Montgomery, Randy Zien, and Laing Brown.

Women did fraternize at the Inn but the first record of a female Director was when Lynn Smith sat on the Board in 1978. She was followed by Gina Quijano and Lorraine Shore, both joining the Board in 1982.

By 1984 the list of Directors doubled and the membership quadrupled. According to the Society filings, the Lawyers Inn Society had 1,347 voting members and 233 non-voting members. The Board of Directors included (as they were then): Wally Lightbody, Bill Scarth, QC, Lorraine Shore, Roderick Senft, Albert Mackinnon, Jon Tollestrup, David Fredrickson, Peter Steele, Anthony Pantages, David Frankel, Leigh Webber, Allan Francis, David Donohoe, Clive Bird, Donald Brenner, Winton Derby, Vince Orchard, David Macdonald, QC.

The Inn sustained those healthy membership numbers, hovering around 1,200, until 2003. Membership numbers have hovered around 350 since 2003, similar to the early days of the Inn.

The Law Courts Inn Past Presidents


  • David Vickers
  • Michael Herman
  • Bruce Fraser
  • Keith Benson
  • Jack Giles
  • David Frankel
  • Don Yule
  • Christopher Harvey
  • Bill Scarth
  • Peter Spencer
  • Alan Ross
  • Anne Chopra
  • Tim Delaney
  • Sandy Kovacs
  • Nazeer T. Mitha
  • Angela L. Folino

Our Supporters


Platinum $10,000

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Hakemi & Ridgedale LLP

Gold $5,000

Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP
Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP
Gowling WLG
KazLaw Injury Lawyers
Lawson Lundell LLP
Lindsay Kenney LLP
Singleton Urquhart LLP
Narwal Litigation LLP
MLT Aikins LLP

Silver $2,500

Boughton Law Corporation
The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia
Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman LLP
Dentons Canada LLP
DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
Edwards, Kenny & Bray LLP
Guild Yule LLP
Gudmundseth Mickelson LLP
Harris & Company LLP
Harper Grey LLP
Hamilton Howell Bain & Gould
Hunter Litigation Chambers Law Corporation
Lindsay LLP
Richard B. Lindsay, QC and Jan L. Lindsay, QC
MacKenzie Fujisawa LLP
McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Miller Thomson LLP
Murphy Battista LLP
Owen Bird Law Crporation
QA Law
Richards Buell Sutton LLP
Slater Vecchio LLP
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Trial Lawyers Association of BC
Watson Goepel LLP

Bronze $1,000

Branch MacMaster LLP
Collette Parsons Harris
Dolden Wallace Follick LLP
Eyford Macaulay Shaw & Padmanabhan LLP
Harris & Brun
Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP
Mackoff & Company
Murray Jamieson Barristers & Solicitors
Pettit & Company
Sager Legal Advisors LLP
ZSA Legal Recruitment
The Counsel Network
Dr. Gary Botting, Barrister

Friends $500

Wendy Baker, QC
D. Michael Bain
The Hon. Robert J. Bauman, CJBC
Douglas R. Eyford, QC
Bruce F. Fraser, QC
Christopher Harvey, QC
Arlene H. Henry, QC
Craig. A.B. Ferris, QC
The Hon. Lance S.G. Finch, QC
Sandra L. Kovacs
Walley P. Lightbody, QC
Michelle Ma (Phase 1 and Phase 2)
Karen F. Nordlinger, QC
Onyx Law Group
David P.R. Roberts, QC
Peter Roberts
Peter Spencer, QC
William Westeringh, QC
Jonathan L. Williams
Barbara Cornish
Robert D. Holmes, QC
Anthony A, Vecchio, QC
Herman H. Van Ommen, QC
John J.L. Hunter, QC
Anne M. Stewart, QC
Israel Chafetz, QC
Elizabeth M. Vogt, QC
Michael J. Slater, QC
Mark D. Andrews, QC
D. Geoffrey Cowper, QC
David Brown
Marvin R.V. Storrow, QC
Sharon Matthews, QC
Hein Poulus, QC
Donald W. Yule, QC
Nathanson Schachter & Thomson LLP
Claire E. Hunter
Stein K. Gudmundseth, QC
John D. McAlpine, QC
SHK Law Corporation
Elizabeth A. Reid
Julie Gibson
Andrew D. Gay & Tamara M. Levy
Douglas MacAdams, QC
Thomas Crabtree
George Douvelos


Dear Friends,

The Lawyers Inn Society was established in 1971 and operates the Law Courts Inn restaurant. The objects of the Society are to foster and promote understanding, co‑operation, the exchange of ideas, and comradeship among all members of the legal profession, as well as to provide a forum for the full and free discussion of matters of interest to its members.

The Inn is modeled after the Inns of Court in England, where for centuries barristers and judges have convened for lunches and dinners.  Call ceremonies and special events in the life of the profession are held at the Inn.  It is the Inn – as the home of the Bench and Bar – where the culture of the profession is maintained and passed on from one generation to the next.

We host countless significant events for the local legal community including judicial welcoming and memorial receptions following special sittings, the Lawyers Assistance Program’s annual Gratitude Lunch, law clerks’ dinners, firm holiday parties, the Inns of Court program and CBABC section meetings, among other things.  The Inn is also a physical space for lawyers, students, and the judiciary to come together on a daily basis to converse and dine.

The Law Courts Inn is an extraordinary space that is, essentially, our community centre.  In the recent past it had fallen into disrepair, but our directors have rolled up their sleeves and continue to work hard to revitalize it.

We determined that the best way to move forward would be to start again. In 2016, we engaged a new general manager, Steve Chamli, and a new executive chef, Jack Eng. “In 2018, Davor Pandza took over the role of Restaurant Manager in charge of day to day operations and events, with Steve Chamli continuing as General Manager responsible for overall strategy, sales, financial metrics and accountability to the Board. All of the Inn’s staff are committed to providing high quality food and exceptional service, and they look forward to welcoming you for lunch between 12:30 and 2:00 p.m. daily.

The Inn has undergone significant physical improvements over the last couple of years. Since 2016, we have implemented a new point of sale system, renovated both entrances, installed new window treatments, wallpaper, internet connectivity and sound system, and a commercial-grade espresso and cappuccino machine. Most of these improvements were funded through generous donations from our members, but since we are now at the point where improvements can be made through our operations, many of these recent improvements have been self-funded. This is a monumental shift, and one that would not be possible were it not for the efforts of the Inn’s management, staff, and you, our valued members.

We continue to offer programming, including our Lunching with Leaders series, and annual events, including the popular Trivia Night and our kids’ holiday breakfast with Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson rumoured as the man in red himself (we can neither confirm nor deny).

Additionally, the Inn has endorsed a Declaration of renewed friendship with the historic Honourable Society of the Middle Temple meaning any member in good standing of the Law Courts Inn, may visit Middle Temple Hall in London, England as an invited guest. If you plan to be in London, please let us know and we will make an introduction for you to visit the Middle Temple.

The ongoing support of our members is critical to our success, and so we ask for your support by way of becoming a member of the Inn. The annual membership fee is $150 and is pro-rated should you purchase your membership during the year. Members receive all benefits of membership, including the privilege of monthly invoicing, the ability to purchase tickets in advance to events like the Trivia Night, a 10% discount on lunches at the Inn upon the presentation of your membership card, and a preferred rate for Lunching with Leaders events.

Find 9 colleagues to join you and you will receive a 10% discount on your membership fees.  Even better; enlist your whole firm - a corporate membership of 20 or more lawyers receives a discount of 20%.

To sign up for a membership, please complete the individual or corporate membership application forms found on the “Membership and Events” page, email them to our business manager Diana Jovanovich, at diana@lawcourtsinn.com, and kindly arrange for payment.

We are pleased to welcome you to the Home for the Bench and Bar.

Yours truly, 

Adam Howden-Duke
President, Law Courts Inn


Here gather a merry band of men
Never to sit round this table again.
Ten years have we come to eat and talk
Telling daily what triumphs we’ve wrought

We place our orders the gossiping starts
Amid clam chowder, the student and tart
The law is also mentioned in passing
And what we learn here is long tasting:

Sandwiched between Jacob and Bert
Is to hear the wild wind blow
What one has forgotten about law and life
The other is sure to know

The firm of Brown Benson and Fiddes
Keep things lively it seems
Benson is droll, Deering robust
While silent Brown is never seen.

Those who dispense advice
Having dipped into wisdoms well
Are eminent counsel Oliver and Giles
So we hear them tell.

We remember the others who
No longer frequent this place
Chairman Tom, Norm Samuels
And Glen McMaster-His Grace.

Juniors are here we welcome all
There sits Aason and Bowes.
Montgomery comes late and Martin
Tells us only of what he knows.

The red head deserves a verse
You know of whom I speak
He rises without leaving a thought
Having talked for the whole week

There are gentlemen at Table
Albeit only a few
Soft spoken Alf Clarke and
Thoughtful Ken Yule are two

Who will move this half ton Table
To Erickson’s eerie on high
Weighted down with memories
And an occasional sigh?