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A History of Trusted Legal Advice, Community Involvement and Client Care


Brooke Downs Vennard LLP was originally established in Salmon Arm in 1980 under the name Robertson Brooke.  The office opened on the third floor of what is now the downtown Credit Union building.  The firm’s two partners were Peter Robertson and Gary Brooke, both with strong local connections, ready to start families and a business.  Services were offered for real estate, conveyancing, mortgages, wills and estate, and corporate/commercial matters.  However, those first years set the philosophy of the partnership - a small town firm providing trusted service and giving back to the community. 


Over the years, partners joined the firm including Derek McManus in 1981, Robin Jackson joined the firm as an articled student in 1980.  He practiced as an associate of Robertson Brooke McManus for a short while in 1981 and became a partner later that year. Jim Downs joined the firm as an associate in 1993 and became a partner in 1994.  Peter and Derek both moved on to other things in Salmon Arm.  Robin Jackson practiced until 2006 when he retired from the firm.  Robin was an extremely successful litigator and a very strong advocate for his clients.  He was highly regarded for his courtroom skills. 


Gary Brooke retired in 2012 after 33 years of practice.  He was well known for his practical advice and personable charm.  Gary’s clients were extremely loyal and dedicated to him and the firm.  He was a major influence on the current success that the firm enjoys.  Gary was one of the original directors and the first President of the Shuswap Community Foundation and a driving force for the locally owned, Salmar Community Association.


Jim Downs joined the office from Vancouver.  He was corporate counsel for the Jim Pattison Group and got his start in the big city.  However, like many who end up in Salmon Arm – Jim was attracted to the smaller centre, the beauty of the community and an opportunity for a balanced life style.  Jim brought strong skills in corporate commercial law and has been primarily responsible for the significant number of the firm’s satisfied corporate clients.  Jim also has given back by way of years of service to the Salmar Community Association and has been a member of the local Rotary Club.


Kathryn Vennard is the newest partner, joining in 2014.  Like several of her predecessors, she also has strong local roots, having been born and raised here.  Her work ethic reflects her parents’ dedication to Salmon Arm as a community that they cared very deeply for.  Kathryn was a member of the Salmon Arm Rotary Club for 10 years, a director for the Shuswap Hospital Foundation and a current director of the Shuswap Community Foundation.  She also finds time to lead her own charity event, She Shoe Swaps, raising money for two local charities.


Other lawyers joined the firm and then chose different paths, departing for bigger centres or other opportunities, but the firm has stayed true to the philosophy established in the early years and has become the largest law firm in Salmon Arm.  As members of the firm, we have chosen to live and work here in part because Salmon Arm allows us to be big enough to respond to the diverse needs of our clients but small enough that we remain in touch with our community.  Many clients have said that they have been with the firm for 5 years, 10 years, and beyond and the firm is always proud to hear that.

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