498 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
her law degree, was valedictorian and won the John Willis Award for the
student who best embodies the spirit of leadership.
The lure of the road was too strong to ignore and following law school
Melissa again set off with little more than her backpack and hiking shoes.
For months on end she travelled through eastern Europe (before the fall of
the Berlin Wall) and through a host of developing countries in Africa. She
engaged with people who, despite overwhelming poverty, hunger and political
unrest, demonstrated indomitable human spirit. Her experiences while
travelling made a lasting impression on Melissa, raising her social awareness
and ultimately laying the foundation for a legal career in public service.
Melissa landed in Vancouver where she articled and briefly practised at
Davis & Company before being hired in 1991 as the 13th Crown counsel in
the Surrey office.
Not long after arriving in Vancouver, Melissa met and then married Brent
Stickland. Living, breathing examples of opposites attracting, Melissa and
Brent are best friends and true partners. They raised two great children,
support one another’s hectic legal careers and enjoy a wonderful life
founded on shared values, interests and laughter. Like her mother, Melissa
is fiercely devoted to her family and incredibly proud of her children,
Jeremy (25) and Sophie (23). Jeremy, a graduate of the UBC Sauder School
of Business, works in financial technology while Sophie is a recent UBC
Okanagan graduate with a degree in psychology. Melissa has also been a
loving de facto mother to a long line of loyal, patient and smelly Labradors.
A visit to the “Stickespie” home is always a fun and often a raucous event.
Melissa’s career with the Crown was lengthy and distinguished. Along the
way, she was mentored and encouraged by an impressive array of prosecutors,
defence counsel and judges who recognized her talent and potential. She
worked as a frontline Crown counsel in Surrey, Burnaby and New Westminster,
prosecuting a wide variety of criminal cases before becoming Administrative
Crown Counsel in Surrey in 2000. Melissa became Deputy Regional
Crown Counsel in 2003 then Regional Crown for the Fraser Region in 2005.
As with all her previous Crown iterations, Melissa assumed the challenging
and demanding role of Regional Crown with aplomb. Her many
achievements and contributions to the legal profession were recognized in
2009 when she was appointed Queen’s Counsel.
Fair, compassionate and tenacious, Melissa was a favourite with Crown,
police and defence counsel alike, even when she was called on to make difficult
and occasionally unpopular decisions.
Melissa has always made every effort to connect with her community,
legal and otherwise. As a lawyer she chaired countless committees, presented
at many conferences and instructed at untold courses for police,