“When we give of ourselves to serve others in the community, we engage in the act of repairing the world – we help to make it a better place now and for the future. In my tradition this concept of ‘Repairing the World’, in Hebrew tikkun olam, has been the basis on which we give – to strengthen and improve where we live and, more importantly, where we are blessed not to live.”
When Darrel Pink received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal on December 5, 2012 at historic Province House in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he shared these words with the audience gathered for the ceremony. His commitment to volunteerism is rooted in a family tradition of giving to others. Darrel grew up in a household in the town of Yarmouth, where his parents were always involved in the local community: raising money through door-to-door canvassing and large capital campaigns, preparing Christmas and Easter favours for hospital patients, advising and leading organizations and being available to serve others.
He continues this volunteer tradition marking 20 years of commitment to United Way Halifax. He has served on funding distribution committees, has chaired the Board for a number of years and today, continues to challenge and champion United Way because he believes United Way should be able to respond to relevant change in community conditions. He has said that no major community decision should be made in Halifax without input, consultation, collaboration or involvement of United Way Halifax. He is fully engaged with United Way in developing ways to address challenges and has led a social engagement movement through his work with our Social Capital Council. This group of diverse volunteers are seeking ways to promote a sense of belonging so everyone can feel included in community life. This work is reflected in the way we design our neighbourhoods, our parks and places where people gather to participate. Volunteers like Darrel bring rich and innovative vision to our world.
Darrel is highly regarded as Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS), the public interest regulator of the legal profession in Nova Scotia. He was recently named a national “Access to Justice All-Star” because of his unique leadership skills in collaboration and bringing together the right people to have the right conversations to move forward access to justice initiatives. His nomination by an advocacy group for self-represented litigants described him as the “eHarmony of access to justice.” This honour has been granted to 10 Canadians.
In his professional life, Darrel is on the leading edge of change in urging law societies across Canada to consider taking the leap into a new world of legal regulation, one that is more proactive and principled, and better reflects current and future realities and innovation in legal service delivery. He has been invited to address conferences and retreats in other provinces, where he can be relied upon to bring visionary thinking to the role of legal regulators. In the late 1990s, he predicted email and cell phones would have a significant impact on the legal profession. Many in the audience thought he was a bit crazy!
The personal and professional qualities that motivate Darrel every day have also led him to international regulatory work in Tanzania, with the Tanganyika Law Society. He spent six months on leave (July-September, 2009 and February-April, 2010) to assist law societies in the region to strengthen their capacity in governance and regulation. This work was funded by the World Bank and other donors to improve institutions related to the business environment.
In addition to volunteering in his local community, Darrel has served on the board of Volunteer Canada, which represents and advocates volunteerism, also chairing its national board for two years. He was also a member of the founding Board of Directors (including a term as Chair) of CanLII, a non-profit organization that aims to make Canadian law accessible to the public for free on the internet.
In his closing remarks at the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee ceremony, Darrel said, “It is poignant to accept this honour on the eve of the 95th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. That tragedy resulted in one of the greatest volunteer efforts in our province’s history. Thousands gave so that others could be saved and comforted. The community supported those in need. People pledged time and virtually everything else they had. Though most volunteering does not have such a significant impact, it is worth reflecting on the power that it does have and remembering that the gift of time and effort can save and change lives.”
Watch the video "The Revolution in Legal Services Delivery" with Darrel Pink – Part 2
Watch a video by United Way "Together: We are Possibility"
On the Precipice: The Future of Legal Regulation,” Darrel Pink’s remarks to the Law Society of Alberta Benchers' Retreat,
Jasper, Alberta, June 5, 2014
The consultant and the student, by Darrel Pink, The Society Record, Vol. 28, No. 2, July 2010, page 32-33; reflections on his time as consultant to the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) in Tanzania.
Working within small communities: Unique ethical challenges, by Darrel Pink and Victoria Rees, The Society Record, Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring 2013, pages 22-26
Understanding access: Collaboration helps law societies develop practical strategies, The Society Record, Vol. 32, No. 2, Fall 2014, pages 27-28; article about Living on the Edge, presented by United Way Halifax during the 2014 Annual Conference of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (with Darrel Pink as Chair of the event planning committee).