THE ADVOCATE 913
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
one still practising, with a weekly lesson (never missed) and the occasional
performance with other musicians. What makes his commitment and the
level of his play so remarkable was that Geoffrey often says that he was
blessed with the poignant combination of “no ear for music and no talent”.
Despite the prominent role that his family and NST played in his life,
Geoffrey and Louise also fostered a broader community. When their children
were young, Geoffrey and Louise were looking for a sense of community
to raise the boys in and decided to become members of the Unitarian
Church. Before long Geoffrey was on the board and then its president. From
time to time he would share with some of his partners (although you had to
ask him for it) an essay he had written for a Sunday service, one of which
addressed the important role community plays in the lives of its members.
Geoffrey’s deep appreciation for, and commitment to, community are
apparent from how he engages with the world, from his family, from the
friendships he has made and from the closeness of his extended family,
who gather almost every year at the family cottage on a lake north of Montreal.
And, of course, we saw this first hand at NST, where Geoffrey was critical
to making NST an interesting, engaging and a joyful place to practise
law for all its lawyers. This will stand him well with his new colleagues on
the bench and will be to the benefit of those who appear before him.
Despite all the above qualities and habits, one still might wonder if Geoffrey
is up to the physical rigours and great demands of being a judge. One
final anecdote provides an answer.
Several years ago, one of us invited him to join in a hike/climb on a
mountain near the B.C. border with Washington. The weather was awful.
The approach to the base of the glacier was in the pouring rain and a river
had to be forded to arrive at the gloomy campsite. Everyone was exhausted
and soaking wet. It was impossible to start a fire. As the small group huddled
against the rain, Geoffrey turned to one of us, grinned his wonderful
and mischievous grin, and said: “My God, this is fun.”
And he meant it.
1. Rumours that we are still recovering from Geoffrey’s
unexpected and first ever desertion of the firm are
categorically denied. Indeed, this was not the first
time Geoffrey deserted NST. That was in 2006 when
he and his family moved to Oxford so that he could
pursue a BCL at England’s second highest ranked law
school (in fairness to Oxford, it is also the world’s
third highest ranked law school).
2. Unlike Geoffrey’s parents, Geoffrey’s colleagues at
NST had no reprieve from his love of debate over his
31 years of practice with us. One of us recalls a day
when a heated debate in a boardroom between
Geoffrey and an unnamed partner over an esoteric
aspect of the law of trusts was concerning enough to
their assistants that they wondered if another lawyer
ought to intervene. Finally another lawyer intervened
only to discover that the trust issue remained
unresolved, but both lawyers were smiling at the fun
they had had.
3. One of us recalls a very complicated formula in a
government lease that none of us could understand.
It was taken to Geoffrey. He stared at it, grinned, and
then wrote down a math formula, noting: “It is obviously
a polynomial.” Obviously.
4. See supra note 1. We aren’t upset. Seriously.