Lynn Cole has been in more than one courtroom in her 23-year career as a lawyer, but Friday marked the transition to a second career.
The next time Cole steps into the courtroom it will be as a judge.
She’s been posted to the Stephenville Provincial Court and will take the bench there on Monday.
Cole was sworn in as a provincial court judge during a ceremony in Corner Brook on Friday morning.
Before a packed courtroom filled with family, friends, fellow lawyers, Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador justices, provincial court judges and court staff, Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Chief Judge Mark Pike administered the oaths of office to Judge Cole.
Following the official ceremony Cole, who has spent the majority of her career with the Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission, said she had no fear that she would be able to make the transition from defence lawyer to judge.
And she plans to approach her new role by being courteous to all.
“I hope that I will have the ability to sit and listen and hear everything and to make a fair and just decision.”
Cole said fair and just are two words that are used loosely and quickly.
“But that is what we’re all meant to do, to be fair and to be just,” she said.
“When you have a trial before you, whether it’s a small claims matter, whether it’s a peace bond application, whether it’s a matter under the family violence act or whether it’s a criminal matter, in all things there are two sides and the role of the judge is to sit back and to listen impartially and to make a fair and just decision.”
Cole was born and raised in Springdale and graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s with a bachelor of arts honours degree with a major in French and a minor in political science. At the time there were a lot of career paths that she could have chosen to take, but for her law seemed to be the answer.
“I think that law school was probably the one that I felt would pose the biggest challenge to me,” she said.
She graduated from Dalhousie University in 1990 and went on to article at the Corner Brook law firm of Monahan, Seaborn.
Later she’d work at the firm under the name of Monahan, Seaborn, Marshall, Murphy and Allen-Westby. She also spent time as a partner in the firm of Matthews, Cole and Senior.
In 1997 she joined the staff at Legal Aid first in Stephenville and then in Corner Brook with one year in St. John’s.
“I thoroughly enjoyed working for the Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission. There were many times I felt that was my vocation.”
And her commitment to her profession spilled over into the community. She has served on a Justice committee on violence against women and as a member of the John Howard Society.
She said becoming a judge is something that she has thought about for some time and would not have applied for if she didn’t want.