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Scruton rewarded by an early fascination with Charter

Kamloops criminal lawyer Lisa Mae Scruton set off on the path to her future career at an earlier age than most.

Before her 10th birthday, Scruton was already fascinated by the stories her justice-of-the-peace step-father would bring back from work as he regaled her with tales of search warrant applications and bail hearings.

“Becoming a lawyer has been my main goal since the age of nine, and his work was a large part of that,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.  “I liked learning about Charter rights before I was old enough to really know what one was.”

A couple of decades of learning later, Scruton is putting her knowledge into action as principal of LMS Litigation, where her practice is dominated by criminal defence litigation, including a growing niche advancing creative Charter challenges on behalf of clients facing serious charges as varied as home invasion, sexual assault, assault, assault with a weapon, robbery, impaired driving, fraud, and theft.

“I’m very passionate about defending the rights which are entrenched in the Canadian Charter, and making sure they are preserved,” Scruton says.

After growing up in Kamloops, Scruton obtained both her undergraduate and Juris Doctor degrees at Thompson Rivers University, the latter as part of the law school’s inaugural graduating class in 2014. She is currently combining her full-time practice with part-time LLM studies in criminal law and procedure from Osgoode Hall Law School.

“It’s definitely a challenge to fit it all in, but it’s working,” she says.

In addition to her criminal law practice, Scruton also acts for family law clients, primarily on child protection files, but also assisting with matters including adoption, cohabitation agreements, separation and divorce.

Whatever the subject matter of a case, Scruton is unafraid to show her fiery side to judges, taking a literal approach to her professional duty to zealously advocate on behalf of her clients.

“I’d describe myself as a little fierce in the courtroom, and it does occasionally get me into trouble,” she says.  

Her courtroom style can come as a shock to clients, who may struggle to recognize this version of her as the same person they dealt with during client meetings back at the office.

“I tend to be very empathetic with clients, and work hard to listen to them,” Scruton explains. “I’m interested in finding out what their other issues are. Primarily I’m there to help them with a criminal law problem, but most of the time there are other underlying issues driving things.

“Whether that’s mental health or housing problems or something else, I try to find out how I can help or connect them with resources that can assist,” she adds.   

Outside of her practice, Scruton is also a board member of the Kamloops Bar Association and a member of the Criminal Defence Advocacy Society, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, the Women’s Law Forum, and the Canadian Bar Association.

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