Kene Ilochonwu becomes 1st Black bencher elected to Law Society of Alberta

Kene Ilochonwu becomes 1st Black bencher elected to Law Society of Alberta
By Emeh Joy

Kele Ilochonwu, a legal counsel with Parkland Corporation and a Nigerian, has become the first Black person elected to the Law Society of Alberta, CTV News reported.

According to the newly elected bencher, Kele Ilochonwu, he didn't even know he was going to be the first Black bencher to be elected to the Law Society of Nigeria.

"Once I won the election, I got all these congratulatory messages from the minister of justice and my family and friends worldwide", Kele Ilochonwu said.

The Law Society of Alberta was established 113 years ago, and Ilochonwu acknowledges that it is important to be elected to the bench.

"Being the first Black person being elected shows that we are moving forward. It shows that the law society and lawyers in Alberta have created this environment to make it possible", Kele Ilochonwu said.

The Alberta Law Society board is made up of 24 members who are called benchers. Twenty of the board members are lawyers who are elected by profession while the remaining four are members of the public appointed by the Minister of justice.

For a lawyer from Nigeria, Ilochonwu says he brings a different way of thinking into the position.

"I'm an internationally trained lawyer. I've never studied in Canada, so I bring a diversity of thought I like to call it. I bring a diversity of opinion, when you have only people that look or sound or think like you, decisions would not be wide enough", the first Black elected bencher of the Law Society of Alberta said.

Who is Kele Ilochonwu?

Here is a brief profile of Kele Ilochonw:

Kele Ilochonwu is a Nigerian lawyer. He obtained his law degree from Abia State University in 1997 and followed it up with licensure from the Nigerian Law School Abuja in 2000.

Ilochonwu went further to obtain a Master of Law degree in information technology and telecommunications from the University of Strathclyde Glasgow, Scotland in 2004.

The young lawyer said he is grateful he was elected as a bencher in the Law Society of Alberta, but for him, this is only the beginning.

"It is very important. I am here to stay; I'm not going anywhere. So, as long as I am here as a lawyer, I would like to see a lot more representation.

"A lot more diversity of opinion and diversity of thoughts at the bench. It is just the beginning of good things to come", Ilochonwu said.