Madam Justice Mary Victoria Newbury practised principally as a corporate commercial lawyer. However, she was best known as a "lawyers' lawyer". At both her former firm, Ladner Downs, and her last firm, Fraser & Beatty, her partners looked to her when they were confronted with legal problems of exceptional difficulty. Her vast legal knowledge, her superb analytical skills and her ability to reach a conclusion speedily were renowned. One of this writer's many fond memories of her is the occasion during her early years as an associate when he was acting in a transaction in another city and was confronted with a conflicts of laws problem involving the laws of four different jurisdictions. He telephoned Mary Newbury with some trepidation it being the late afternoon of a pleasant summer Friday. Mary Newbury responded enthusiastically stating that there was nothing that she enjoyed more than a challenging conflicts of laws problem. She had the problem resolved by the following day ...
Born in Calgary, Mary Newbury grew up in various cities of British Columbia, attended the University of British Columbia where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours English) in 1971 and her Bachelor of Laws degree in 1974. She then obtained her Master of Laws degree at Harvard University in 1975. Mary Newbury had an outstanding academic career, received many scholarships, ranked near the top of her class throughout law school and was granted her Masters degree summa cum laude by Harvard.
Mary Newbury articled at Ladner Downs and became the first woman associate of that firm upon her call to the Bar in 1976. She practised with Ladner Downs for eight years becoming the first woman partner of that firm. In 1984 she became a partner of the firm of Mawhinney & Kellough (as it then was) and continued as a partner of Fraser & Beatty after the merger of Mawhinney & Kellough and Fraser & Beatty in 1990 until her appointment to the Bench. She was also called to the Alberta Bar in 1986.
Mary Newbury has always had a great sense of commitment to the legal profession. She participated in and wrote papers for innumerable CLEs. She served as head of course for company law in the PLTC and the preceding student program for a number of years. In 1983 she was appointed to the British Columbia Law Reform Commission and served on that Commission until her appointment to the Bench. For many years she served as a director of the Court House Library Society and was Chairman of that Society for a three year period. Most recently she has been an active member of the Competency Committee of the Law Society.
While Mary Newbury will be very much missed by her colleagues in the profession those who know her well are confident that she will make a great contribution to the law as a Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.