THE ADVOCATE 111
VOL. 76 PART 1 JANUARY 2018
However, John did, at times, share some of his views about practising
law. He talked fondly of his clerkship with Chief Justice Farris, who taught
him the importance of being concise in legal writing. John cautioned
against reliance upon legal arguments made in the alternative, which tend
to undercut the credibility and persuasive force of counsel’s primary position.
He distilled the central attribute of a good lawyer: having sound “judgment”,
being in his mind an amalgam of legal acumen and professionalism.
But he was never sentimental about his experiences in the law, nor did he
engage with legal concepts merely for the sake of intellectual curiosity; he
believed strongly in achieving “practical solutions” for his clients through
legal principles. While John had the capacity to engage with legal doctrine
in an articulate and sophisticated way, he held to a stern pragmatism which
did not distract from the basic interest of his client to achieve a satisfactory
resolution to a problem.
In 2002 John and his law partner Peter Voith (now Voith J. of the
Supreme Court of British Columbia) decided to leave the comfort and familiarity
of Davis & Company to form a five-lawyer boutique firm devoted
exclusively to civil litigation. That firm, Hunter Voith, challenged and invigorated
John, feeding his desire to pursue an independent litigation practice
free from the conflicts of a large firm. There he continued to enjoy a diverse
practice featuring a mixture of public law and commercial law cases. In
2004 he appeared as counsel for Weyerhaeuser in Haida Nation v. British
Columbia (Minister of Forests), a leading case on the duty to consult.
In 2006 Hunter Voith merged with another highly regarded litigation boutique,
Berardino & Harris LLP, to form Hunter Litigation Chambers, where
John would practise for over a decade until his appointment to the bench.
John led that firm through his commitment to excellent advocacy and high
ethical standards. In 2010 his daughter Claire joined the firm, and John
enjoyed practising with Claire on such cases as Robinson v. Furlong.
After completing his term as president of the Law Society of B.C. during
his Hunter Litigation Chambers period, John served as a representative to
the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, chairing its task force on the
Canadian common law degree and later serving as president in 2012.
In the 11 years John practised with Hunter Litigation Chambers, he continued
to act on important public law matters. He acted as counsel to the
Federation of Law Societies in a significant case about legal ethics (Canadian
National Railway Co. v. McKercher LLP) and in a constitutional challenge
to anti–money laundering regulations applicable to the legal
profession (Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of
Canada). In 2013 he was appointed amicus curiae by the Supreme Court of
Canada in the Reference re Senate Reform.