Bencher Profile Series: Grant Vogeli, QC

July 28, 2021

For Grant Vogeli, QC, giving back to society was a practice instilled in him as an articling student and he has maintained that outlook throughout his nearly four-decade legal career.

When Grant was an articling student, a senior lawyer at his firm told him that as a lawyer he has a duty to serve society through volunteering and charity work. “I got involved in the community early in my career and haven’t looked back. It’s been personally gratifying to use my professional skills in service of others, because it really is true that the more you give, the more you get.”

As a Partner with Lawson Lundell LLP, Grant promotes this spirit in the next generation of lawyers by mentoring young lawyers and fostering early-career involvement with pro bono work. He is a strong believer that volunteering within the legal community leads to further involvement in the broader community. Much of his volunteer work has been outside of the legal sphere, as he has served on and chaired several charitable and non-profit boards including the Multiple Sclerosis Society in both Saskatchewan and Alberta, the Calgary Telus Convention Centre, the Celtic Soccer Club and Glenmore Christian Academy.

Running for Bencher was an extension of these volunteer efforts. He has wound down some of his other volunteer work to focus on serving the public interest through the work of the Law Society. A lot of his perspectives on how to fulfill the Law Society’s mandate are shaped by his experiences.

“There are a great number of people who don’t have the resources or ‘know-how’ to access legal services. I often encounter situations where Albertans are disadvantaged because they have limited ability to interface with the legal system, both in terms of understanding and finances. While part of the solution is greater public education and awareness about the system as a whole, there are still people struggling to obtain equitable access to the legal system. This needs to change.”

Grant’s start in the law began in Saskatchewan, obtaining his law degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 1982 and practising in Regina until 1988. Since moving to Calgary in 1988, he has practised exclusively as a litigation and dispute resolution lawyer, receiving his Queen’s Counsel designation in 2013. He has extensive experience in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal. He has also appeared in the British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario superior courts, the Federal Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Regardless of his seniority and knowledge, he is approaching the role of Bencher with an open mind.

“I am at the beginning of my three-year term, so I’m at the point where I’m listening to understand the issues that our profession faces, before wading in with possible solutions. For instance, I didn’t anticipate an interest in the discipline side of the Law Society; that is certainly not what compelled me to run. But my involvement with that work has sparked a passion about the importance of lawyer competence and a conviction that if lawyer competence can be improved, some issues and problems can be avoided.”

And while the strategic issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, and access to justice were already on his radar before he started his Bencher term, his involvement with Law Society Committees has further corroborated those views and made him look forward to the work ahead.

“I don’t think the legal system is serving the public as well as it should and could. I was discouraged by aspects of the system before being elected but learning what the Law Society is doing to address these issues through the Strategic Plan encourages me. There are a number of significant challenges to overcome, but I am confident we can address them and make notable improvements. That is the primary reason I am at the Bencher table today – because I want to be involved with making a difference in our profession and ultimately for the public. The Benchers and Law Society staff are delving into tough issues and executing a strategy that will support the profession over the long term.”