Branch President 2016-17: Jeremiah Kowalchuk

  • August 08, 2016

Jeremiah was a bullfrog, he was good friend of mine
I never understood a single word he said

But I helped him drink his wine….

With insincere apologies to Three Dog Night/Hoyt Axton (as well as to Jeremiah) I thus introduce Jeremiah Kowalchuk, the newest President of the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch. Truth be told, however, as an introduction the oldies song snippet rather misses the mark. For one thing, amongst his many fine talents, Jeremiah happens to be an outstanding communicator, and an exceptionally forward thinker. And (any paradox aside) being the wannabe Saskatchewanian that he is (having been born in Hinton Alberta but having lived half of his life in Saskatoon) the drink he is most likely to have available for sharing happens to be a Pilsner. 

By way of elaboration Jeremiah well recognizes the importance of being a contributor — and is best described as a consummate professional. 

Since entering law school he has devoted extraordinary time and energy to “giving back” so as to advance the interests of both the profession and the public. Illustrations of Jeremiah’s dedication to the administration of justice include: his being one of the very first pro bono volunteers at the Edmonton Community Legal Centre (continuing on to its Board of Directors where he recently completed a two year term); his CBA volunteer service prior to joining the CBA Alberta Branch Executive in 2013 — his having sat on and chaired a number of CBA committees and sections, including the Alberta Law Conference (Co-Chair in 2011 and 2013), Law Day (Co-Chair from 2008 to 2011), and the Construction Law Section (North); and his participation as both an instructor and evaluator for the Bar Admission/CPLED course.

Jeremiah is likewise a gifted advocate, familiar and experienced with many facets of the law and practice. As a student he worked at the Alberta Law Reform Institute. After articling at Field Law and being called to the bar in 2003, he practiced as an Associate and then, from 2006 to 2012 carried out a broad and successful practice as a sole practitioner. Returning to Field in 2012 as a partner, he soon began serving his current role as Chair of the Edmonton office’s General Litigation Practice Group. And in perhaps the pinnacle of any challenging law management career, he is currently serving on the Space Planning Committee for the relocation of Field’s Edmonton office. 

To the above, Jeremiah adds a healthy complement of balance and perspective. Sources, many of whom wish to remain anonymous, confirm that much of his good judgment stems from his marriage to his wife of nine (9) years Jodie Hierlmeier, also a lawyer (with Alberta Justice), and likewise a Field Law alumni. 

With Jodie, he shares a love of travel—their relationship has taken Jeremiah to many destinations outside of the Saskatchewan rectangle of his upbringing, starting with Jeremiah making a trek to Tanzania to visit Jodie, where she was working as a legal intern after they first started dating. They have since been eagerly covering the real estate in-between.

One of his preferred modes of travel happens to be via his trusty “Triumph” motorcycle—others who make frequent trips to Sylvan Lake may have spotted him hanging out at the Big Moo, milkshake in well-leathered hand. 

Being somewhat of an unnatural athlete (i.e., having played both football and basketball and now being a recreational runner) Jeremiah is also an avid sports fan—including, I venture, as a follower of the almost famous, but now defunct in-line hockey team, the Anaheim Bullfrogs.

Some of his talents, not surprisingly, are hidden to all but his closest friends and family. I understand, for example, he enjoys both cooking and live music—not something many of us can say they have tried at the same time.

Jeremiah also comes with a sense of humour. Don’t be fooled, for example [spoiler alert], by his contention that, having been abandoned by wolves and raised by his parents, his real name is Jebidiah. He is also the author of two, perhaps three, hilarious tweets.

Finally, he is both modest and ambitious. One of his goals remains to be the first construction lawyer to land a four-part bid contract maneuver (dubbed a “mod-quad”). He also has a keen ability to listen and take advice, one of his mentors being that famous Edmonton philosopher, Dave Semenko, who taught him that sometimes you just have to stop fighting for what you believe in, and instead do what is right….

All seriousness aside, this is but a brief opportunity to offer a glimpse of Jeremiah’s outstanding character and integrity. But soon we will all be demonstratively benefiting from Jeremiah’s dedicated, collaborative leadership at the helm of the CBA Alberta Branch (and beyond!). I thus acclaim him, and commend him to you. And as the rest of the song goes:

And he always had some mighty fine wine
Joy to the world
All the boys and girls now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me [and to the CBA!]