578 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 4 JULY 2018
premises, featured a large photograph of a young, photogenic couple
descending down the Western Canadian Place escalator, captioned “glittering
Clint and Gail Ford arrive”. To know Clint, especially then, was in some
sense to want to be or to slightly envy him, because by at least some of the
conventional virtues of intellect, charisma, handsomeness, family circumstance
or career prospects, it was impossible for anyone to measure up.
To handicappers of the future fortunes of young lawyers, Clint was a prohibitive
favourite. Poised not to count the pencils in middle management
like other lawyers in their 30s at big firms, he would inevitably ascend
either to the top starring roles in Alberta’s biggest commercial disputes or
to long-term firm leadership in an expanding, potentially international,
partnership. Either way, he was certain to jump several rungs at a time on
the personal and professional ladder.
During the 1990s Clint’s practice and profile expanded into British
Columbia, when his clients recognized their litigation needs in B.C. and
Clint’s opportunity to serve them there. More stringent mobility rules of the
day required requalification, and Clint whizzed through the B.C. bar
courses and was admitted in 1996. From then forward, he stacked the
Advocate neatly on the side table in his always-tidy office, collecting them
like National Geographic magazines, serving, it seemed, like a silent rebuke
to those of us too narrow in our outlook, and deficient in our toolbox, to
have such broad qualification as B.C. bar membership.
Perhaps Clint’s closest client relationship then was as lead outside counsel
for Petro-Canada, starting in 1992 and extending over a decade across the
country. Clint was the key relationship lawyer at the top of the large
national exclusive client legal service team.
In 1992 Clint met Audra Rawlinson, 11 years his junior, who had moved
to Calgary from Saskatchewan to go to university, though only after seven
years of friendship did they recognize their true love for one another. In
1999 he moved in with Audra, with whom he stayed for almost 20 years in
a very close and loving relationship until his passing.
Audra’s big splash into the firm social scene saw her accompany Clint to
the firm’s national retreat in New Orleans in 2000. Audra and Clint, along
with others, spent some of the evenings leading up to the formal start of the
meetings on Bourbon Street, where by local custom Audra accumulated
dozens of bead necklaces. Maybe the lively new couple’s coming out was
Clint’s big stubborn Irish thumb-in-the-eye to the firm establishment and
conventional expectations weighing on him in it. More likely, it was a couple,
wonderfully matched, blooming with new love. Whatever it was, it was