Professionals' stories

Magnus VerbruggeMagnus Verbrugge

Partner, BLG Vancouver

During one of the world’s most gruelling endurance races, Magnus covered 260 kilometres of desert with over 35 pounds of food, water and shelter strapped to his back.

For six days, Magnus raced across treacherous terrain in 115-degree heat. And in a cruel twist of fate, five of those days were spent running directly into a 70km/h sandstorm.

Employing the same tenacity and perseverance he displayed in the Sahara, Magnus has become an integral part of BLG’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency and Corporate Finance practices.

As former President of the Canadian Bar Association’s banking subsection, a current member of the CBA’s insolvency subsection and the Chair of the BLG Reads to Kids Program, this is one bankruptcy specialist who, ironically, doesn’t know the meaning of the word “quit”.

Noella MilneNoella Milne

Partner, BLG Toronto

Success is measured in many different ways. For Noella, it is calculated not only in her notable professional life but also by the time and effort she devotes to her humanitarian work. Noella sits on many boards, including that of UNICEF Canada, and recently she travelled to Kenya with Elizabeth Dallaire to oversee the good work being done by this very important organization. Just recently, Noella received the Order of Ontario for her involvement with the organizations.

Noella credits her background for motivating her to give back and to help others who, like her, have had to make it on their own. At the age of 17, Noella arrived on her own in Canada from her home in Mumbai, India. She worked full-time during the day while putting herself through her undergraduate degree at night.

Given that Noella was also the co-chair of the 2009 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards, on the Dean’s Advisory Panel at U of T Law School, Vice-Chair of the board of George Brown College, on the Board of Governors of the Ontario Science Centre, former Chair of the Children’s Aid Foundation and former President of the Canadian Club, it’s no wonder she’s been profiled in the national media.

This mother of three is as motivated in her professional life as she is in her philanthropic work and as a Partner in the Toronto office, and as the former Regional Leader of the Real Estate Practice Group, her clients are among some of the firm’s most prestigious.

David ScottDavid Scott OC, QC

BLG Co-Chairperson & Counsel, BLG Ottawa

If the measure of a lawyer is what he or she gives back to the profession, then David Scott is quite simply in a league all his own. As long as he has been practising law, he has been taking on pro bono cases and fighting to improve the public’s access to justice.

In addition to being one of the founders of Pro Bono Law Ontario, David has helped to establish and run a variety of vital community agencies and centres, such as the Children’s Law Centre and the Law Help Centre.

As the chair of the first Pro Bono Committee, David was instrumental in putting a pro bono policy into place at BLG. And now he donates his time helping other firms put similar policies into place, and has been pleased to watch as his work has inspired other provinces to create their own formal pro bono organizations.

His altruistic drive, along with his reputation as a formidable litigator, has led David to be nominated for many accolades and honours. As well as being a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, David has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from both the Law Society of Upper Canada and the University of Ottawa, the Advocates’ Society Medal and the Carleton Medal, as well as the OBA Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation.

Catherine GuertinCatherine Guertin

Partner, BLG Montréal

Education experts agree that children who read early and often will be less likely to face roadblocks later in life. And that is precisely why Catherine and her colleagues established the BLG Reads to Kids program.

Every week, professionals from BLG’s six national offices spend time at inner-city schools reading to young children and igniting a passion for the written word.

In addition to her responsibilities as Partner and her very busy real estate practice, Catherine oversees the program, and manages the relationships with the schools, as well as the lawyers who are reading.

BLG donates thousands of dollars in books and other materials each year, but what makes this program truly special are the hours that Catherine and the hundreds of BLG volunteers devote. After all, you don’t fight illiteracy with a cheque – you fight it with reading.