With unbridled enthusiasm, ELC Legal Director Calvin Sandborn has taught over 400 Clinic students and mentored more than 20 articled students. But even before joining the ELC in 2003, Calvin was busy providing workable solutions for BC’s key environmental problems and acting in the public interest to protect people and communities. He fought for farmworkers’ rights, pushed government into enacting sustainability measures, and went to court in order to protect communities from pollution and species at risk from loss of habitat. (See “Calvin Fun Facts” below for more details.) Which is why it’s so delightful for us to share the announcement that Calvin has received the honourary title of Queen’s Counsel (QC).
The honourary title of Queen’s counsel (QC) is conferred upon members of the legal profession to recognize exceptional merit and contribution. Nominated by their peers, candidates must also have demonstrated personal integrity and good character, and they must have been a member of the BC bar for at least five years. Then an advisory committee, comprised of judges and representatives from the legal profession, makes recommendations to the Attorney General.
No more than 7% of practicing BC lawyers can be appointed as Queen’s counsel. As of September 2017, there were 11,907 practicing lawyers in BC – 491 with the QC designation.
Calvin Fun Facts:
- As legal counsel to the Forest Practices Board where, he acted at the request of the Haida Nation and successfully blocked logging of marbled murrelet habitat in the Eden Lake area of Haida Gwaii;
- As Associate to the Commissioner on Resources and Environment in the 1990s, he participated in negotiations that let to an unparalleled expansion of the BC Parks system and wrote two books that recommended comprehensive sustainability strategy for the province;
- While he was staff counsel for WCEL, he successfully represented numerous environmental groups and helped to establish initiatives, such as BC Hydro’s Power Smart program, and provincial pulp mill effluent regulations aimed at elimination of organochlorines;
- Early in his career, as staff counsel for Farm Workers Legal Services Project, he litigated on behalf of farm workers on labour, safety, housing, human rights and wage complaints; and he drafted the first farm pesticide safety regulations as part of the first set of farm worker health and safety regulations.
It would be easy to go on and on about Calvin’s contributions and accomplishments in the legal realm. But this award provides an opportunity to also acknowledge Calvin’s strong driving force (aside from his significant legal brain power): a huge heart that constantly demonstrates an earnest desire to help people succeed.
You will often find him singing to students about saving Orcas to his re-vamped version of This Land is Our Land (he once wrote a song for students who were discouraged about concerning changes to environmental laws), lunching with undergraduate students who are considering law school, or maintaining his hundreds of connections with clients and colleagues worldwide.