There are two full-time lawyers on staff at our law firm. Both Tim Pearkes and Ahna Fernandez use their legal skills to assist their clients in dispute resolution. Between them, they have a robust and diverse practice involving a wide array of areas of the law where conflict arises.
Tim is a highly experienced barrister, and over the years, he has cultivated a rich and diverse practice in all areas of litigation. He has earned the good reputation of his colleagues and clients as a solutions-based legal advisor who sees the big picture of his client's dispute and uses strategic analysis to help his client find resolution. Tim serves as a mentor for young lawyers entering the field of litigation based on his belief that maintaining strong leadership for the next generation of legal practitioners is key to the enduring integrity of the profession. In addition to his full time practice with the firm, Tim and his partners have embarked on a progressive and full-scale renovation of one of Nelson's finest heritage buildings.
Tim obtained his Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts at Stanford University in California in 1983. During his college education in the United States, Tim was shortlisted for the Rhodes Scholarship, an international post graduate award for selected foreign students to study at the University of Oxford, England. Candidates for this award are selected based on academic achievement and strength of character. It is widely considered the world's most prestigious scholarship.
Tim was born and raised in Vancouver. He follows in the footsteps of his father, John A. Pearkes, who practiced law in Vancouver for nearly fifty years. His father was one of the earliest Chairman of both the Provincial and the Federal Wills and Trusts Sections of the Canadian Bar Association. Tim's family heritage takes its place as part of BC's greater history. His grandfather, Major General George Randolph Pearkes (1888 - 1984) was an incredibly accomplished man, and modeled the combined attributes of strength and kindness to Tim during his childhood. During his lifetime, George Pearkes Sr. was a Canadian politician; soldier; recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy awarded to British and Imperial forces; and the 20th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
Tim graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia in 1987, and was admitted to the Law Society of British Columbia in 1988. The early years of his career were spent litigating with the Vancouver law firm of Edwards Kenny & Bray LLP. While at Edwards Kenny, Tim worked with Cecil O.D. Branson, Q.C. who subsequently became the Executive Director of the B.C. International Commercial Arbitration Centre.
Tim enjoyed the privilege of working as a young lawyer under the tutelage of Thomas R. Berger, Q.C., who was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1972. Mr. Berger's professional achievements before and after his service to the judiciary include Royal Commissioner of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, leader of the Alaska Native Review Commission, Chair of the Vancouver Election Commission, and Conciliator for the Nunavut Land Claims Implementation Contract. Mr. Berger's strong work ethic and collective sense of society informed Tim as he grew in his own legal practice.
In 1994, Tim chose to relocate to the Kootenays. At that time, he founded his litigation boutique firm in Nelson. While strongly rooted in BC's Southern Interior, Tim has conducted numerous trials and made a plethora of appearances before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in the judicial districts across our province.
Tim is a true communitarian and has donated his time and expertise to local initiatives in need of professional service. Most notably, Tim served on the Board of Directors for the Touchstones Museum of Art & History for 8 years and provided support and advice for the design, renovation and relocation of the museum's premises to the downtown core of Nelson in 2006. He was an advisor to the Regional District of the Central Kootenays / City of Nelson Joint Facilities Planning Committee responsible for the public consultation process, planning and design of the Nelson & District Community Complex in 2006, which houses the town's fitness, hockey and pool facilities.
Tim's latest project outside the law is the full-scale renovation and development of one of the town's most prominent heritage buildings. The former Nelson Daily News Building was built in 1899 and is located on the most westerly block of Nelson's downtown Baker Street. With the help of local architect Thomas Loh, Tim and his partners have transformed it into modern and innovative commercial spaces, including a progressive co-working environment on the main floor. The custom designed offices of Pearkes & Fernandez occupy the entire second floor of the building.
Tim is a proud father of two sons, George and Jack, each successfully making his way in his career and adult life away from the Nelson community. Tim and Ahna are partners in life, as well as in law. Tim is the proud stepfather of one daughter through Ahna, named Nevé. He is thoroughly enjoying the presence of the young feminine in his life. When Tim is not working, he can be found on the squash court during the winter and the golf course during the summer, relaxing with his favorite four legged in front of the wood stove at home, or savoring a glass of BC's finest over candlelight with his wife, Ahna.
Ahna is a highly skilled litigator who advocates for the rights of her clients with passion and integrity. She is dedicated to developing and presenting her client's best case to the court to maximize the probability of success. Outside the courtroom, Ahna gives balanced and practical advice to educate and orient her clients so that they can make decisions from a position of strength. She provides strategic advice when there is an opportunity for resolution outside the courtroom that will benefit her client. Ahna is committed to positive rapport with her clients and to instilling confidence in her judgment and good counsel. As a result, Ahna's clients feel well represented and well taken care of during what is often a very challenging time in their lives.
Ahna graduated from The University of Calgary, Faculty of Law in 1994 and was admitted to The Law Society of Alberta in 1995. While at law school, Ahna excelled in the Mooting & Debating Program. In 1993, she was awarded the prize of Top Oralist at the Jessup International Mooting & Debating Competition in Toronto, a great honor in a competition among the top performing students from every law school across the country. Prior to attending law school, Ahna attended McGill University in Montreal and received her Honors Political Science undergraduate degree in 1991.
Ahna was admitted to The Law Society of Alberta in 1995, and began her career as a litigator in Calgary with the now international law firm of Bennett Jones LLP. Bennett Jones, by rights, continues to be the preeminent full service firm in Calgary for litigation. While Ahna was with the firm, the litigation department was chaired by John C. Major, Q.C. who went on to become a judge at the Alberta Court of Appeal, and was then appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
In 1997, Ahna moved to the litigation practice group of Macleod Dixon (now Norton Rose Canada LLP) in Calgary. She worked on regulatory matters including an internship with the legal department of the National Energy Board and appearances before the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board. Together with the legal team from Macleod Dixon, Ahna represented the Nova Scotia government in regulatory hearings that took place in Halifax before the Canada - Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board for the approval of the Sable Offshore Energy Project. SOEP was a consortium proposal to develop six natural gas fields near Sable Island. While at Macleod Dixon, Ahna also worked on appellate court matters before the Alberta Court of Appeal with senior counsel John J. Marshall, Q.C., who is now a leading mediator and arbitrator in the Calgary business community.
Inclined towards the natural resource sector of industry, Ahna accepted a position as legal counsel for Mobil Oil Canada Ltd. (now ExxonMobil Canada Ltd.) in 1999 under the tutelage of the then general counsel, Michael L.J. Morin, Q.C. With Mobil, Ahna managed the litigation portfolio for the company and provided legal advice on a wide variety of projects related to oil, gas and bitumen development and production.
Ahna chose to leave the corporate world of Alberta in 2000 and move her life and her career to the Kootenays. While grateful for the years of experience with the Calgary Bar, she has never looked back. After leaving Mobil, Ahna committed to using her legal expertise to carve out a new vocation supported by her past experiences in law and commerce.
Ahna maintained her work relationships in Calgary for several years post 2000. Her first project as an entrepeneur started right after leaving Mobil. It drew on her experience in corporate/ commercial law, and cultivated new knowledge in entertainment law. Through her Alberta based film production company, Ahna partnered with Walt Disney Motion Pictures in Los Angeles to develop and produce an IMAX movie entitled "Sacred Planet" which was released in theatres in 2003. This large screen documentary is about pristine places around the world and the last remaining indigenous cultures on our planet.
As a producer with legal experience, Ahna wore a variety of hats in getting the project "green-lighted" and in bringing this movie to the screen under budget. She travelled the world for eighteen months of principal photography as the unit production manager. She prepared the contracts for crew, talent, equipment rental and post production resources including music composers, supervisors and the record company licensors. The talent included the narrative voice of Robert Redford, which guides the audience through the film. Ahna's background in commercial law allowed her to structure the seed capital investment and negotiate the agreements for the financing, underwriting and distribution of the movie. She worked with legal counsel at Disney to prepare the distribution agreement and with the risk analysts at Film Finances Canada Ltd. to meet the industry standard insurance requirements for the film's deliverables..
In 2004, Ahna embarked on a Nelson based real estate venture now known as Kootenay Lake Village, a 450 acre waterfront development on the west shore of Kootenay Lake which is based on the model of a sustainable outdoor lifestyle community. As a developer, Ahna employed her legal skills to work with her partners and the local regulators to complete the subdivision and development of residential waterfront and water view lots close to the small community of Harrop / Procter (30 km northeast of Nelson). These lots were marketed to families living in Alberta with plans to retire to a sustainable rural community in the Kootenays with common infrastructure and outdoor amenities.
Ahna was admitted to The Law Society of British Columbia in 2006 (on transfer from her membership with The Law Society of Alberta). She formally returned to private practice in 2010 to hang her shingle in the good company of the Kootenay Bar. At that time, she joined business forces with Tim to service the public through their combined efforts as litigators. Together, in 2012, they founded Pearkes & Fernandez and opened their new offices on the 2nd floor of the former Nelson Daily News building in downtown Nelson: custom designed to meet the needs of their clients and to deliver the high quality of service they provide as litigators.
Ahna is qualified as a mediator, and conducts mediations at the offices of Pearkes & Fernandez (in all areas of the firm's practice other than family law).
Tim and Ahna are partners in life, as well as in law. They are mother and step father to their daughter, Nevé, who is proud to be a Kootenay Kid. Ahna grew up in St, John's Newfoundland; with her Maritime roots, she recognizes the value of an intimate, eclectic community like Nelson. She continues to appreciate the opportunities to her career and her family that the Kootenays brings. When Ahna is not working, she can be found on her mat at the yoga studio, enjoying the social amenities of the town with friends and family, or at home by the wood stove with the four leggeds.