D. Bruce Clarke, QC is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School and was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1982. He articled with and joined the firm of Burchells, and became a partner in 1988. His practice is in the areas of Corporate and Commercial Law, Bankruptcy and Insolvency, and Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.
Corporate organization and commercial transactions have been a core part of Bruce’s practice since its inception. He represents a number of major banking and commercial clients. He also has the honour of acting for many local and regional businesses. Bruce was a lecturer for the Nova Scotia Bar Admissions course on the drafting of commercial documents for over a decade. He is well recognized as having expertise in the drafting of agreements, leases and licenses, the preparation of joint venture and shareholder agreements, in bank financing transactions and in business re-organizations.
Bruce acts as counsel for many of the insolvency practitioners in Nova Scotia, as well as for debtors in CCAA proceedings. He is the Bar representative on the Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justices’ Committee on Bankruptcy and Insolvency issues. He has tried insolvency cases in the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court, Trial Division and Appeal Division, and the Nova Scotia Supreme Court and Appeal Court. Bruce was the Chair of the CBA Bankruptcy and Insolvency Subsection from 1998 to 2000 and was a member of the part-time faculty at Dalhousie Law School, teaching the Bankruptcy and Insolvency course from 1994 to 1999. He has presented papers at many conferences on Insolvency issues.
Bruce has been active in the area of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights since 1983. He appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in the landmark cases of Simon in 1984, Donald Marshall in 1998, Powley in 2003, Bernard/Stephen Marshall in 2005, Sappier/Gray in 2006 and Daniels in 2015. He has acted as a contributor to numerous publications on Aboriginal issues and has often been a conference presenter on Aboriginal issues. He is active on aboriginal matters in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador and is the senior leader of Burchells’ Aboriginal Law Group.
Bruce was a contributor to The Mi’kmaq Treaty Handbook (1987), the Netukulimkewe’l Aquatic National Life Guidelines (1990, 1994), the Netukulimkewe’l Land Based and Fowl Natural Life Guidelines (1990, 1995), Mi’kmaq and the Law (1991), Towards a Better Understanding (1993) and Completing the Circle (1997). Bruce is also the author of “Aboriginal Peacemaking Circles” (2001) and “The Limitation of Litigation as a Means of Reconciling Aboriginal Rights”, published in “Legal Aspects of Aboriginal Business Development” in 2005. Bruce has acted as an external reviewer for the Indigenous Law Journal.
Bruce has been recognized in “Best Lawyers in Canada” in the field of Aboriginal Law each year since 2010.
In 2005 and 2007, Bruce was elected to the Council of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society. He was a member of the Bar Society’s Complaints Investigation Committee from 2005-2010 and the Chair of that Committee from 2010-2014. Bruce was also a member of the Queen’s Counsel Advisory Committee for the three year term from 2016-2018.
Bruce is a long time resident of Dartmouth, where he resides with his wife Caroline. All three adult children (as well as his grandson and granddaughter) live in Dartmouth or on the nearby Eastern Shore. Bruce has long been heavily involved with church, community activities and minor sports.