In 1977, Rhodie Mercer, Gordon MacNab, and James Vavasour founded the law firm of Mercer MacNab and Vavasour by combining their practices with the practice of Isaac Mercer, Q.C. The intention of the partners was to establish a diversified legal practice to provide a broad range of legal services to its clients, concentrating on Real Estate, Family Law, Estate Planning and Administration, Corporate and Commercial, Personal Injury, and Civil Litigation.
Anne M. Fagan joined the firm in 1986 upon the retirement of Isaac Mercer, Q.C. Sheilagh M. Murphy joined us in 2017. This further enhanced the ability of the firm to expand its client base.
Building upon the solid foundation established in 1977, MacNab Fagan & Murphy continues to provide reliable professional legal services to our wide range of clients. In keeping with the desire to offer cost-effective and efficient professional services with a personal touch, we elected to remain small in terms of numbers. With our 136 years of combined experience, we continue to attract a wide range of clients. Our extensive practice now includes most legal areas including Real Estate, Family Law, Estate Planning and Administration, Corporate and Commercial, Personal Injury, and Civic Litigation. In addition, we are proud to offer Alternative Dispute Resolution Arbitration and Mediation Services.
R.A. Gordon MacNab, Q.C., Anne M. Fagan, Q.C., and Sheilagh M. Murphy, Q.C., are all members in good standing with the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador and members of the Canadian Bar Association. The firm is a Member of the St. John’s Board of Trade Business.
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Corporate and Commercial
Wills and Estates
Gordon MacNab was admitted to the Newfoundland Bar in January, 1973. Prior to admittance to the Bar, he received a Liberal Arts Degree from Colby College, Waterville, Maine, U.S.A. in 1969 and a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of New Brunswick in 1972. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1991.
Mr. MacNab has a general practice with emphasis today on Commercial and Corporate Law, Telecommunications Law, Real Estate, and Marine Law. He also has extensive experience in the Newfoundland Supreme Court, primarily in the areas of Marine, Environmental and Fisheries Law, including a case defining the fishing rights of the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. He also conducted the last substantive charge under the Official Secrets Act.
Mr. MacNab is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, and is a volunteer and director for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
Wills, Estates, and Elder law
Litigation and Personal Injury
Anne Fagan was admitted to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in April, 1986, having received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1982, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of New Brunswick in 1985. She furthered her education in 1996 by receiving Certificates in Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution from the University of Windsor. Ms. Fagan was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2011.
Ms. Fagan has extensive litigation experience and practices in the areas of elder law, Wills and estates, real estate, family, corporate, commercial, personal injury, product and manufacture liability, fisheries, environmental, and marine law. Her professional practice also includes alternative dispute resolution and mediation. Ms. Fagan is counsel for the Public Prosecutions Service of Canada.
Ms. Fagan was appointed as Counsel to the Commissioner of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry in 2009 and served until 2011. This Inquiry was established after the crash of Cougar's Sikorsky Helicopter Flight 491 on March 12, 2009, while enroute to the Sea Rose Oil facilities offshore Newfoundland.
Ms. Fagan is currently a member of the Disciplinary Panel of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has been a volunteer for the Canadian Bar Association and has held the positions of president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer of the Newfoundland branch. She was a member of the national board of directors and has chaired several committees. Ms. Fagan was also a member of the board of directors, a member of the management board, and has chaired a number of committees for the Canadian Bar Insurance Association. She has also served on the Rules Committee of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ms. Fagan is a member of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Canadian Bar Association, the Atlantic Provinces Arbitration and Mediation Institute, Canadian Maritime Law Association, and the Business Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Mediation & Arbitration
Independent Workplace Investigations
Wills and Estates
With more than twenty years’ experience, Sheilagh’s main area of practice is currently neutral labour relations work as an arbitrator, mediator and independent workplace investigator. Sheilagh has a diverse client base, including private and public companies, Crown corporations, engineering and construction firms, municipalities, and individuals. She continues to have an extensive legal practice in civil litigation, professional standards, residential and commercial real estate, Wills, estates, and personal injury law.
Sheilagh graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts. She received a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick, earning awards in jurisprudence and professional conduct.
Sheilagh is a former Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Relations Board (2007-2017). She is a member of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s roster of qualified arbitrators and is listed as a qualified external adjudicator of the Canada Industrial Relations Board. She regularly presents at continuing legal education seminars on labour and administrative law.
A member of the Canadian Bar Association since 1999, Sheilagh served on the provincial executive of the NL CBA branch for nearly a decade, and was President of the Newfoundland Branch in 2006-2007. She was also a member of CBA’s National Board of Directors in 2006-2007 and served on a number of national committees of the CBA for six years. For the past eleven years, Sheilagh has served as a board member on the CBIA / Lawyers Financial Board of Directors and has chaired several committees, including audit and strategic planning. She served as Chair of the Board of Directors of CBIA from December 2017-December 2019 and continues to serve as Past Chair of the board.
Sheilagh has always believed in giving back to her community. She has volunteered with numerous communities and professional organizations, including the Royal Lifesaving Society of Newfoundland, the Institute of Chartered Accountants (now CPA-NL), the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the Gathering Place, and others.