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Jan Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 113 After playing football at Oregon, Ray played for three years in the Canadian Football League—two with Edmonton and one with Winnipeg. His second year in Edmonton was 1954, when the team won its first of many Grey Cups. His teammates that year included such CFL legends as Jackie Parker and Normie Kwong. After his football career ended, Ray eventually found his way to law school at UBC. While studying law, he also worked full-time selling insurance. The practice of law students working for a living was, at the time, neither common nor looked upon with much favour by the law school. After graduation, he articled with the late Tom Griffiths and was called to the bar in 1964. He remained at Griffiths and Company after being called and was immediately thrown into the deep end, acting by himself for plaintiffs in personal injury jury trials. Later in the 1960s, he and Dan Small formed the firm of MacLeod & Small, which later became MacLeod, Small and Bray. Although Ray’s practice there focused on securities law, he also acted for Torazo Iwasaki, a Japanese-Canadian whose property on Salt Spring Island had been seized and sold during the Second World War. Two decades before the federal government acknowledged and apologized for its historic wrong, Ray advanced a breach of trust claim that sought the return of Mr. Iwasaki’s property or, in the alternative, damages. In 1968, the Exchequer Court held that the government appointed property custodian had been “under no trust in favour of an alien enemy.” The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal in a single paragraph. That loss did not dampen Ray’s passion for representing the underdog against well-funded adversaries and often at long odds. He became a sole practitioner in 1978 and over the next few years his practice came to consist exclusively of acting for plaintiffs in medical negligence cases. While a few plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers did the occasional medical malpractice case, Ray was for many years the only lawyer in B.C. with a practice entirely dedicated to that work. By the 1990s, the majority of his clients were families with children who had suffered catastrophic injuries at or around the time of birth—perhaps the most challenging category of cases within a challenging area of law. He continued to run these often complex cases with no help from partners, associates, or anyone else, other than his long-time legal assistant, until 1995. That was the year he was looking for someone with experience in the field to join him and be ready to take over the practice when he eventually retired. I jumped at the opportunity and we worked together until he left day-to-day practice in 1999.


Jan Advocate 2017
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