June 4, 2013 - 9:02pm

NANAIMO, BC – Prominent and long-time lawyer Ron MacIsaac was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws at Vancouver Island University’s spring convocation June 4.

A Vancouver Island lawyer since he arrived in Nanaimo 1949, MacIsaac has the highest number of years of continuous practice in BC. He founded a firm that has flourished for more than six decades.

MacIsaac has enjoyed a long career combining his passionate commitment to social justice, service to others and reverence for the natural world. He has tried cases at all levels of court in BC as well as in the federal courts, and tried immigration applications in India, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Colombia and other countries. MacIsaac was also instrumental in the revival of civil juries in British Columbia for injury cases.

Working for a just and humane society has always been part of his life.

MacIsaac has extended legal services to those in need, and established pro bono legal clinics and promoted pro bono work among his legal colleagues. He has embraced and worked with the Aboriginal community as a founding patron of the Aboriginal Law Students Scholarship Fund and a member of the boards of the Metis Association and the Caring for First Nations Children Society, and has been a firm supporter of equal rights for women. In the 1950s, he became the first and only male member of Voices of Women, a group committed to helping organizations around the world that are working to help women and children in dire conditions.

Many other organizations have benefited from MacIsaac’s time and expertise including the Vancouver Island Rights Coalition, Together Against Poverty, Mothers and Others Against Drunk Driving, the Victoria Child Sexual Abuse Association and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

MacIsaac’s work on the landmark trials of the Clayoquot anti-logging protesters was followed up with a book and an international tour to promote the protection of old growth forests and the biodiversity they represent.

As a philanthropist, MacIsaac has generously supported arts, education and environmental organizations. One of his significant early achievements was to work with others to establish a law foundation for the charitable use of money generated by trust account interest payments. This idea has now become standard practice across North America. He is also a gold sponsor of Ducks Unlimited.

MacIsaac’s past honours include the Rankin Pro Bono Award, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Canadian Bar Association Community Service Award and the International Law Education Society Medal.

[Go here to view recordings of all VIU’s spring convocation ceremonies](


Ron MacIsaac received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from VIU.

Tags: In the Community

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