Misty Matthews-Emery is the 2024 recipient of the CBA’s Legal Aid Award

  • February 14, 2024

Misty Matthews-Emery, senior lawyer with the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission, is the recipient of the 2024 Legal Aid Leader Award in recognition of her long-term commitment to legal aid work and access to justice.

She was chosen by the CBA Access to Justice Subcommittee for this award which recognizes lawyers in Canada who have made significant contributions to providing access to justice to people in need.

Ms. Matthews-Emery obtained a Bachelor of Arts from St. Thomas University and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick. She was called to the New Brunswick Bar in 2002 where she began her career in private practice with a focus in family law. Her dedication to legal aid started early as she accepted legal aid certificate work and encouraged other members of the Bar to do the same.

In 2012, she joined the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission, and she currently holds the roles of Assistant Director of Family Law Services and Manager of Child Protection Law Services. During her time with the Commission, she has been instrumental in ensuring that Legal Aid lawyers be paid on the same wage scale as Crown Lawyers.

She continues to practice primarily in child protection law where she tirelessly advocates for her clients on a daily basis. In fact, the ripple effect of one monumental case Ms. Matthews-Emery was involved in in 2022 has resulted in greater access to justice for parties involved in child protection matters. Not to mention, it has brought countless changes at the Legal Aid Commission including the expansion of services provided by Legal Aid to all parents named as parties in such cases, implementation of a simplified application process, elimination of financial qualifications and more.

She has also made time to volunteer in her community and is currently a volunteer executive board member for her local Domestic Violence Outreach organization. She is also committed to giving back to the legal community. She provides in-house training for her colleagues as well as mentorship for others within and outside of the Legal Aid Commission.

Ms. Matthews-Emery also has an unwavering dedication to sharing her knowledge and fostering a sense of responsibility for access to justice in other legal professionals. She has been a speaker and panelist at important events such as CBA-NB Mid-Winter Conferences, the Saint John Law Society and UNB’s Law School.

Her extensive legal expertise and tireless work ethic set her apart. But it is her empathy, integrity and compassion for those facing systemic barriers to justice and legal services that inspires others and profoundly impacts the profession for the better.