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May Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 1 7 339 When one reflects on Joe Arvay’s career as a lawyer and advocate it is equal parts inspiring and humbling to see that there is almost no part of our constitutional lives that has gone untouched by his extraordinary work. Through his advocacy, Joe Arvay has given meaning and content to our fundamental rights and freedoms, he has shaped our understanding of equality, he has worked to secure access to justice and he has steadfastly fought in service of the vulnerable and unpopular, insistently reminding us of the duties that we owe one another. Joe Arvay has lived the highest ideals of a life in the law. But while Joe is most famous for his contributions to constitutional law, his litigation skills are broader than that, and he represents his institutional and corporate clients with the same fierce commitment and relentless energy. We were perhaps most impressed with Joe at the time of John Finlay’s death. John was a formidable commercial litigator. Just before he died, Joe was called upon to take over a complex insurance litigation matter, an area of law in which at the time Joe had not worked nearly as much as he had worked in the public law sphere. Undaunted and unafraid, he jumped into a complex lawsuit in Ontario and did the client proud. To be able to move into an uncharted territory without fear is perhaps one of the reasons why Joe is so impressive as a litigator. In a sense, there is nothing mysterious about Joe’s success—he just works very, very hard. He thinks harder about his cases than any other lawyer we know, and just as much about the other side’s case. He never stops looking for better evidence. He never stops thinking about how to improve an argument. His assistant Sally has many exceptional qualities that contribute to Joe’s success—but maybe the most important is her patience with the relentless pace of his work. When Joe gets tired of working, he swims or rides his bike to relax … and then he is likely to work some more. In his search for good ideas, Joe is very democratic—some might say indiscriminate—about where the next best argument might come from. He listens carefully not just to his partners and associates, but also to the most junior student—or better yet, the person who sits next to him on the plane. If somebody, anybody, has a truly good idea, Joe will listen to it and take it as far as it will go. And if it is one of your ideas, it is very rewarding. That is one of the great things for anyone working with Joe—he can take what sounds like a wild idea and wrestle it into something that can change the law. Of course, the results in the most challenging cases are sometimes mixed. Sometimes, with Joe’s cases, it is hard to tell whether he has won or lost, at least for a few years. He has convinced the Court of Appeal that he won in front of them for the purposes of a costs application, then gone on


May Advocate 2017
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