762 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE
to their heightened anxiety and mental health problems can be challenging.
But James handled matters sensitively and effectively with a calm and
steady hand. Clients spoke highly of James. Everyone liked James, be they
clients, lawyers or staff.
James mentored junior lawyers, sharing his knowledge and experience
generously. He became the go-to person for a number of lawyers when they
had practice questions in family law and child protection law. James
insisted on a high ethical and professional standard, holding himself and
others in the profession to this standard.
James was also a case management lawyer with the Legal Services Society
for many years. In that capacity he would review legal aid lawyers’
requests for authorization to represent clients beyond the base number of
hours initially permitted under the legal aid tariff. In that capacity, he
became known as “Mr. Yes” because he tended to approve such requests.
That was not because James was a pushover, but because he had an appreciation
for how complicated family matters could be, and also because he
understood that clients often needed representation beyond the bare minimum
set out in the tariff.
James was a sympathetic and practical lawyer. He advocated for his
clients in a positive way, always looking for common ground and what was
in the children’s best interests as well as his client’s. He never lost track of
the real goal, which was keeping a family intact as much as possible.
In his capacity as a case review lawyer, he worked with many staff members
who also held him in high regard. Several gathered to write the following:
Many words came to mind when we thought about James. He was kind,
compassionate and respectful in nature. We truly appreciated how
approachable he was: he treated everyone equally and mentored so gently
and effectively. His dedication to giving back to the less fortunate
made him a true “LSSer”. We are in awe of a man who led such a full and
rich life, both personally and professionally. He was well respected in the
legal community and cherished by his family. How lucky he was to have
so many things to be proud of: his career, his friendships, all the people
he helped and, most importantly, his wife and children, who were the
centre of his universe. What an absolute honour it was for us to work
alongside James. He will be dearly missed.
But James was not all business; he was also fun to be around. He had a
warm personality and a great sense of humour. It was a sense of relief and
joy when you saw James at court. One lawyer recounts an experience
where she was acting for the husband and James was acting for the wife.
The wife began calling her husband’s lawyer regularly to discuss things
unrelated to the case, woman to woman. The husband’s lawyer called
James to make sure James was OK with her having contact with his client.