How much do you know about our hard working Allard Law Alumni Association Board Members? Each month, we will profile a board member interviewed by a fellow board member. This month, Bessie Jackson profiles Shauna Towriss.
By Bessie Jackson
In January, 2014 Shauna Towriss (LLB ‘05) joined the Allard School of Law Alumni Association Board of Directors. What Shauna loves about the Alumni Association is that it brings together so many generations of law graduates to share their career experiences.
Shauna was born in Princeton, a small town in southern BC.The paternal side of Shauna’s family settled in Princeton in the late 1800s and homesteaded between there and Westbank, Kelowna where the original homestead still stands at the Quail’s Gate Winery. Shauna and her family eventually moved to Campbell River on Vancouver Island, where she grew up and attended Southgate Secondary. While at Southgate, Shauna was an avid athlete for the Southgate Gators playing multiple sports, including volleyball, softball and basketball. Reflecting back, Shauna strongly believes that her participation in sports played a large role in preparing her for the practice of law since it taught her how to focus on achieving goals and the importance of being a team player.
Shauna spent her highschoool years in Campbell River helping out at her family’s business, a Buns Master bakery franchise, where her parents ingrained in her a strong work ethic, an entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to customer service. These qualities were further instilled in Shauna when she and her siblings spent time every summer in Hope, B.C., where her maternal grandparents owned and worked tirelessly operating the first cable television provider in the region and were well known for going above and beyond for their customers. Shauna’s strong work ethic brought her to her next job at the Tyee Pub in the Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River, where she waitressed for eight years in order to save money to pay for university and law school. Working at the Tyee Pub further prepared Shauna for the practice of law as it taught her to handle high pressure situations with demanding customers, and to provide services that were quick, timely and accurate.
Since Shauna’s mother did not attend university following highschool and always lived in small towns, she strongly encouraged her kids to leave home after graduation and to experience something different, live in a big city and go to university. Interestingly, Shauna’s mother also ended up attending law school and is currently a practicing lawyer on Vancouver Island. A fun fact about Shauna is that her mother actually started law school at the University of Victoria at the age of 47 after Shauna’s first year of law. She now has a thriving general solicitor practice in Duncan, B.C.
Shauna attended Simon Fraser University where she majored in Political Science and minored in English. It was there that Shauna decided her next step was to go to law school. Interestingly, Shauna’s goal in attending law wasn’t to simply become a lawyer; oh no, Shauna had much bigger plans than that. She wanted to go to law school because she had grand aspirations to become the next Prime Minister of Canada.
Shauna had thought about what she had to do academically to become a Prime Minister, and thought that since the majority of our past Prime Ministers were lawyers, the next logical step was for her to attend law school. During her time at SFU, Shauna had the opportunity to go to Ottawa to work for Canada’s then-Finance Minister, Paul Martin. This was going to be Shauna’s big break in starting her political career. Shauna made the trip out to Ottawa and eventually decided that a career in politics wasn’t for her. However, when she got back to SFU, she had decided to stick with her original plan of law school even if eventually leading the country was now out of the question. Considering back in the early 2000’s, law school only cost about $3,000 a year, Shauna figured it was a reasonable investment and never looked back.
Shauna enjoyed her time at law school and still to this day has a circle of close friends that she leans on. While at law school, Shauna took up marathon running, which she still does to this day. Shauna became interested in marathon running because it took her away from the rigors of studying law and allowed her to get outside and clear her brain. She strongly encourages law students to find something outside of the law that they are passionate about as an outlet. Shauna has run in various marathons, including the Nike Women’s half marathon and marathons raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Shauna started her legal career at Clark Wilson LLP, where she summered and articled and was eventually hired back as a general corporate solicitor. Shauna soon transitioned to the commercial real estate group as a result of working with James Speakman, who is currently the managing partner at Clark Wilson and also part of the commercial real estate group. Shauna’s hard work and client focus resulted in her promotion to partner at Clark Wilson. James describes Shauna as a great person to work with, naturally empathetic, a great mentor and a team player. Shauna loves helping her clients solve their problems and being an important part of her client’s teams, and loves that she can travel around BC and see various different buildings and projects resulting from the transactions she has worked on.
What is little known about Shauna is that she is also an avid salmon fisher – no doubt as a result of growing up in the “Salmon Capital of the World”! In fact, Shauna is a member of the Tyee Club of BC. In order to become a member of the Tyee Club, you must fish in a rowboat with no motor, and can only catch salmon that weigh more than 30 pounds. In 2009, Shauna caught the biggest fish of the season, which weighed in at a whopping 47.5 pounds and as a result, she won the coveted Tyee Man trophy. In fact, James’ fondest memory of Shauna was her describing her victory as “This is the best thing that ever happened to me ever!”, which as he describes, is completely indicative of her excitable and easygoing personality.
Outside of practicing law, Shauna loves hiking with her two German Pointers and camping in her 1970’s Boler travel trailer with her husband. Shauna and her husband also spend the majority of their spare time fixing up and renovating a 1920’s fixer upper they recently purchased in New Westminster and has become an expert in old wiring and old wood.
Learn more about the Allard School of Law Alumni Association Board of Directors.