Learn More about Our Newfoundland & Labrador Lawyers

Our lawyers in Newfoundland and Labrador are experienced barristers, solicitors and notaries who can help you with various legal matters. Learn more about our education, experience and expertise below. Click on a name to read more about that specific lawyer, and call us today to get started with our services.


James D. Hughes, Q.C.

Katrina A. Brannan, Q.C. (Retired as of July 31st, 2019)

Vanessa Laite, B.A., J.D.

Philip Whalen, B.A., J.D.

James D. Hughes, Q.C.

James D. Hughes received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Brunswick in 1981 and then attended the University of New Brunswick Law School where he graduated in 1984. In 1986, he established the law firm now known as Hughes & Brannan Law Office in Clarenville where his general practice includes personal injury, civil litigation, corporate, wills, estates and real estate. His active criminal practice includes both criminal defence and prosecutions as an agent for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. He was designated Queen’s Counsel in 2008. He has appeared before all levels of court including the Federal Court of Canada. He is a member of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador and is twice past President of the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association (APTLA) of which he is still an active member. He currently sits on the board of the Discovery Health Foundation. He is married with two daughters.


“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

-Desmond Tutu

James D. Hughes, Q.C.

Katrina A. Brannan, Q.C. (Retired as of July 31st, 2019)

Katrina A. Brannan moved to Newfoundland and Labrador with her family in 1973 and attended Holy Cross Central High School in Eastport. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1983 and then attended Osgoode Law School, graduating in 1986. She was the recipient of the Hunt Award in 1987. She articled with White, Ottenheimer and Green, as it was then known, and practiced with them in St. John’s from 1987 to 1990. Since 1990 she has been practicing with the law firm of Hughes & Brannan Law Office in Clarenville. Ms. Brannan was designated Queen’s Counsel in 2011. Her general practice includes a special focus on family law. She is one of the most experienced family law practitioners in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has appeared before all levels of court in the province and is an agent for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. From 2005 to 2008 she was a legal member of the Canada Pension Plan Review Tribunal, chairing many hearings across the country. Ms. Brannan is married with a son and a daughter.


“We educated, privileged lawyers have a professional and moral duty to represent the underrepresented in our society, to ensure that justice exists for all, both legal and economic justice.”

-Sonia Sotomayor

Katrina A. Brannan, Q.C.

Vanessa Laite, B.A., J.D.

Vanessa is from Head of Bay d’Espoir and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Memorial University and Juris Doctor from the University of New Brunswick. While attending law school, Vanessa was a candidate for the Gillis Scholarship for completing the 2009/2010 academic year in the top 30% of her law school class. Vanessa has earned the bronze, silver and gold awards for the Duke of Edinburgh Program. Vanessa also volunteered as a coach for the first year law school moot and sat on the graduation committee. She was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar on February 15, 2013 at which time she joined the law firm of Hughes & Brannan as an Associate. Vanessa has a varied legal practice including real estate, wills and estates, family, civil litigation and criminal law. She has appeared before the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador and the provincial court. Vanessa is an agent for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Her personal interests include volleyball, volunteering as a leader for Girl Guides of Canada, hiking and camping.


“Knowing what's right doesn't mean much unless you do what's right.”

- Theodore Roosevelt

Vanessa Laite, B.A., J.D.

Philip Whalen, B.A., J.D.

Originally from Springdale, Newfoundland and Labrador, Philip joined Hughes & Brannan as an associate in February 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Mathematics from Memorial University in 2010. Philip studied law at the University of New Brunswick and obtained a Juris Doctor in 2013. While at law school, Philip was heavily involved with the UNB law journal and, in his final year, held the position of editor-in-chief. Philip’s legal practice is varied and includes real estate, family, civil litigation, and criminal defence. He has appeared before the Supreme and Provincial levels of court. Outside of work, Philip is active in local sports and helps out with a local basketball league. He enjoys outdoor activities including hunting and salmon fishing. Philip considers the Clarenville region to be an exciting place to practice law in Newfoundland and Labrador.


“A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it's lowest ones”

-Nelson Mandela

Philip Whalen, B.A., J.D
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