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Carman J. Overholt

Champion of the legal profession

Carman J. Overholt, Q.C., is a highly respected labour and employment lawyer who practises law in Vancouver. He is a Past President of the B.C. Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and has been involved in continuing legal education (including working with Queen’s Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace).

But it is his impressive work with the community – everything from founding Pro Bono Law of B.C. to introducing new Queen’s grads to the Vancouver legal community – that has made him the 2013 winner of the Kathleen Beaumont Hill Award.

[photo of Carman Overholt]It’s the highest honour given by the Vancouver Branch of the Queen’s University Alumni Association to a graduate for outstanding service, advocacy, dedicated support and contributions to the betterment of Queen’s and our country.

He started working on the Pro Bono Initiative in the late 1990s and the process took more than three years. There were many young lawyers who wanted to give back and Carman realized there was a need to structure and formalize the delivery of pro bono legal services and to promote the importance of pro bono work to the legal profession. He never anticipated the range of issues that would need to be addressed. In the end, the B.C. legal community supported the Pro Bono Initiative to supplement government-funded legal aid but not to replace it.

Carman credits his Queen’s student days and his work with the Queen’s Legal Aid Society with inspiring his drive to start Pro Bono Law of B.C.

Carman still has close ties to Queen’s University. He helps organize Homecoming reunions for Law’84, has served on the Dean of Law’s Alumni Advisory Group, and introduces new Queen’s law grads who move out to B.C. to the Vancouver legal community.

He has been recognized by several organizations, such as The Canadian Legal LEXPERT Directory and Best Lawyers in Canada 2012, as one of the country’s leading labour and employment law experts.