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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 17 ON THE FRONT COVER HERMAN VAN OMMEN, Q.C. By David Crossin, Q.C. Herman Van Ommen, Q.C., quit school in grade 10, at the age of 15, and went to work as a farmhand and logger in and around Salmon Arm, British Columbia, in order to contribute to the exceedingly modest family circumstances. On January 1, 2017 he began his term as president of the Law Society of British Columbia. Those two facts may reveal to you all you need to know about the kind of person we are getting as our next president, but I will tell you more. The family I speak of consisted of his Dutch parents who had migrated to Canada after the war and four siblings. A loving family to be sure, but life was not easy on the farmland around Salmon Arm. By the time Herman was 18, he had his own small logging business and had been joined by his younger brother, John, who had also quit school at 15 to follow in the footsteps of his older brother (John, by the way, is a highly successful businessman in British Columbia). At 21 Herman had concluded that the future in the bush looked a little bleak. He decided to return to school. He entered Okanagan College and obtained his grade 12. He went to SFU for a year and then to McGill. The family simply had no resources for this kind of thing and the cost of all this fell on Herman’s shoulders. This meant logging in the summers. Having earned enough money and carefully budgeted for the year at McGill, extravagance overtook him and he squandered the funds early in the school year (a habit of extravagance he proudly maintains to this day). This resulted in him spending most of the school year living in the rented converted boiler room in the basement of one of the buildings.


Jan Advocate 2017
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