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THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 2 M A R C H 2 0 1 7 181 A general practice has taken Jane through decades of mediations, real estate law, wills and estates law, family law, foreclosure law and even a bit of air law. Other than in chambers, she has made just a few reluctant appearances in all three levels of court. Her retainer agreements specifically contemplate the appointment of a barrister, British-style, if a matter requires trial, and she does not hesitate to refer out issues while marshalling the transaction. Despite her generalist practice, in the last decade Jane has ventured dangerously close to acquiring a specialty, at least in terms of her volunteer work and cross-Canada speaking engagements: elder care issues. She became active in a non-profit care home for the elderly in Vancouver starting in 1991, and in White Rock has served as director of an adult day care service since 2008. Having been referred elderly clients who had been taken advantage of, and having successfully assisted them, Jane continued doing what she referred to as “geriatric law” until discovering that other lawyers had coined the practice “elder law”. Her elder law practice requires a knowledge of more than estate law; it sometimes necessitates knowledge of various care homes and individual caretakers. She recalls, in the early days, driving her client, a WWI veteran over 90 years old, around White Rock looking for the right care home (having taken the precaution of placing a plastic sheet on the passenger seat in case of an accident). She is quick to remind other lawyers that they, too, may experience old age in all its frailties. Since 2005 Jane has been a member of the National Elder Law Section of the CBA and is past chair. She was a member of the BC Law Institute– Canadian Centre for Elder Law “Assisted Living in British Columbia” research project. Her recent CLE and LE (legal education for non-lawyers) work includes a national CBA panel on financial abuse of the elderly, as well as other presentations on elder law issues in Calgary, Fredericton, Toronto and St. John’s, where she also presented a seminar for the Newfoundland and Labrador Municipal Pensioners’ Association on financial issues for pensioners. To non-lawyers, she has been speaker for non-profit societies; on “rounds” for doctors at Peace Arch Hospital; for commercial institutions with respect to wills, estates, powers of attorney and representation agreements; on legal issues in a financial literacy course; on sex in seniors homes; and on elder law issues for estate planning organizations and accountants organizations. With this frequent exposure to elder law issues, it follows that with her husband, James Spears, Jane has made efforts to seize the day in seeing the world before experiencing a care home first hand, with much of this effort being made on a bicycle. Although she had attained a self-described “high


March Pages 2017
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