Jeff is a graduate of the University of Manitoba, receiving his B.A. in International Relations in 1983 and his LLB in 1986. Called to the Bar in 1987, Jeff practices in Winnipeg as a partner with Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, primarily in the areas of administrative law, commercial litigation and professional negligence.
His administrative law practice is centered on professional regulation for self-governing professions and he provides advice to a number of those professions as counsel to discipline and complaints committees, as a prosecutor, and with respect to policy development. Jeff also assists several self-governing professions with issues related to The Regulated Health Professions Act of Manitoba. He has represented and continues to represent counsel on professional negligence cases and has both prosecuted and defended members in Law Society proceedings. Jeff was selected for inclusion in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of Best Lawyers in Canada for Administrative and Public Law.
Jeff is a past President of the Law Society of Manitoba (2009-2010) and a Life Bencher having served from 2002 through 2010. In 2008-2009, Jeff chaired the Law Society’s Special Committee on the Independence of the Legal Profession. He served as Chair of the Law Society’s Complaints Investigation, Discipline, Nominating and Equity Committees. Jeff has also served on the President’s Special Committee on Re-Visioning Regulation as well as a representative to the Queen’s Bench Statutory Rules Committee and the Community Legal Education Association. He continues to sit as a member of the Law Society’s Discipline Committee and its Access to Justice Steering Committee. Jeff also served on the Court of Queen’s Bench Access to Justice Committee.
Jeff is the immediate Past President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. The Federation is the national coordinating body of the 14 provincial and territorial law societies in Canada which have the responsibility to regulate Canada’s over 120,000 lawyers, Quebec’s 4,000 notaries and Ontario’s 7,200 paralegals. Jeff represents the Federation on the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments.
Jeff is an advocate for enhancing Canadians’ ability to obtain legal services and access to justice. He represents the Council on Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters where he is a member of the Steering Committee. The Committee released its report “Access to Civil & Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change” in October 2013.
Jeff and his wife, Liz Murray, live in Winnipeg with their son, Davis.
Primary Practice Area
University of Manitoba, B.A., International Relations, 1984
University of Manitoba, LL.B., 1986
Repeatedly selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in Canada for Administrative and Public Law
On November 4, 2016, Jeff received the Richard J. Scott Award at the 2016 Isaac Pitblado Lectures. The Award honours former Chief Justice Scott of the Manitoba Court of Appeal and is presented annually to an individual who advances the rule of law through advocacy, litigation, teaching, research or writing.
In the Community
Jeff is a past Executive and Board Member of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Winnipeg Jewish Theatre.
Jeff has been a frequent lecturer and seminar leader in civil procedure, examinations for discovery, negotiation skills and ethics for the Law Society’s Bar Admission course (CPLED). From 1995 to 2014, Jeff taught the third year Remedies course at the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba. He will be returning to Robson Hall in January 2017 as a sessional lecturer to teach a course on access to justice.
Speaker on “Access to Justice 2016 Update”, Law Society of Yukon, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, November 1, 2016;
Panelist on Cross-border Trade in Legal Services - Can Mutual Recognition Agreements Take the Strain?”, International Bar Association Conference, Washington, D.C., September 2016;
Panelist on “Entity Regulation”, Law Society of Saskatchewan Annual General Meeting, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, June 2016;
Panelist on “Leading the Way; Regulating the Unregulated”, 11th Annual Bar Leaders’ Conference, Barcelona, Spain, May 2016;
Speaker on "Access to Justice 2016; Crisis, Change and Opportunity in Legal Services", Distinguished Visitor's Address, Robson Hall, Faculty of Law, Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 2016;
Speaker on "Access to Justice and Why You Should Care", Robson Hall Faculty of Law, Winnipeg, Manitoba, October 2015;
Keynote speaker on “Access to Justice; Core Business for Law Societies”, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Annual Meeting, June 2015;
Panelist on “Access to Justice”, 5th National Pro Bono Conference, Regina, Saskatchewan, September 2014;
Plenary speaker on “The Complaints and Discipline Process under The Regulated Health Professions Act of Manitoba”, Interact Conference, Winnipeg, Manitoba, October 2013;
Panelist on “Accessing Legal Services for the Working Poor” for the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties, Winnipeg, Manitoba, October 2013;
Speaker on Regulatory Board Governance Essentials, 2013 QNET Excellence Conference, Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 2013;
Speaker on Access to Justice at the CBA 2013 Envisioning Equal Justice Summit, Vancouver, British Columbia, April 2013;
Plenary speaker on “Challenges for a Self-Regulated Profession: Is Pro Bono a Professional Responsibility?”, 4th National Pro Bono Conference, Montreal, Quebec, November 2012;
Plenary Speaker on “Practising Law in the 21st Century: Evolution or Revolution”, Isaac Pitblado Lectures, Winnipeg, Manitoba, November 2009.