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have had a voice, as he strongly believed in giving everyone the respect
they deserved and an equal chance.
While James’s face would light up when he spoke about his clients or
some legal tidbit, it especially lit up when he talked about his children and
He was an active parent, heavily involved in both his daughters’ lives. In
particular James was involved in their sporting activities, in which they
excelled, including soccer and track and field. James beamed with pride
when Heather won a soccer scholarship and happily settled her into her
residence when she attended the University of Calgary. His daughters both
acknowledge that his greatest impact on them was listening to their concerns
and giving them a very logical perspective to assist them on any topic.
Family vacations included camping and cabining in hot places, sport tournament
trips and skiing. The family had perhaps one of their best vacations
ever when they went to London, England about a month before James died.
James was quick to enjoy a good pun, play a round of golf and get outdoors
to enjoy the real world. He took fitness seriously particularly because
there was a family history of stroke. Running, walking and carrying his golf
bag were all part of James’s routine. It was at an endurance race in Whistler
that James collapsed, dying three days later.
With news of his sudden passing came stories that reinforced impressions
left of someone who was kind, smart, generous, humble and blessed
with a great sense of humour. James had all of these gifts, in abundance.
In addition to his private practice, James was also a member of the Vancouver
Family Duty Counsel Program since its creation in 2002. He provided
free legal advice and some assistance in court to low-income
individuals who had family law problems or who had their children
removed from their care by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
There is a roster of lawyers who provide these services a few times
each month, writing out memos of legal advice and next steps that are given
to the client at the end of the meeting. James was wonderful with clients,
giving advice that was always practical and reliable. James was a wellrespected,
intelligent and efficient lawyer. As opposing counsel, he was
capable and reasonable, a combination that is encountered less frequently
than one would like in family law.
Much of James’s practice consisted of legal aid work, providing representation
to those who could not afford a lawyer. This was a perfect fit for him.
He always treated everyone with respect, regardless of their circumstances
or their mental state. In the area of family law, and even more so in the area
of child protection law, dealing with clients who are sometimes difficult due