THE ADVOCATE 661 VOL. 76 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
watching the St. Thomas More Knights and one particular player: Brian,
#81, a receiver on offence and a linebacker on defence.
Given his natural athletic ability, he was awarded a football scholarship
in 1968 to Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. Like many young
people attending university away from home, Brian became homesick and
missed one person in particular: his high school sweetheart, Teresa, whom
he would later marry. They were together for seven years and remained
close friends after their marriage ended.
Upon his return from Whitworth College, Brian went on to UBC and completed
a bachelor of arts degree with a major in modern post-Napoleonic
European history. During his UBC years he regularly played poker at the
Lutheran Campus Centre with his lifelong friends that he met in high
school, Randy Mottus (LL.B. 1985) and Ken Oliver (LL.B. 1988), leading the
matron of the centre to lament that it was a “den of iniquity”! To fund his
education, Brian worked at Stong’s grocery store in Dunbar and took a great
interest in the customers who often would line up to be able to go through
his checkout, as he was always interesting and fun to talk to. Instead of pursuing
his high school goal of becoming a teacher and football coach, he
decided to become a lawyer and enrolled at the UBC law school in 1975.
Brian’s good friend, Jim Pozer, noticed Brian on the first day of law school
on September 2, 1975. There, sitting in the back row of the class during a
Real Property lecture, was the most interesting person in the room—a wirylooking
guy with a huge head of curly, Brillo-pad hair forming an impressive
afro, smoking a cigarette, and wearing a checked lumberjack shirt and
a sleeveless down vest. At 9:30 a.m. the professor walked in, shut the door
and began his opening remarks. About 30 seconds later a student opened
the door and walked in. He told her she was late and to get out of the class.
She said, with conviction, “No”. He told her to get out once again and she
replied, “What is this, kindergarten?” She was immediately kicked out of his
class. The professor then scrawled on the chalkboard “Kelsen v. Imperial
Tobacco Company”1 and sternly said, “Be ready to discuss this case next
class” and stomped out. Big drama five minutes into law school. The story
buzzed throughout the building.
Two days later the professor walked in at precisely 9:30 a.m. and shut the
door. No one was late that day and there was a palpable tension and nervous
anticipation in the air. The professor barked out: “What do you think about
the respondent’s argument in Kelsen?” Perusing the class list, he slowly said,
“Mr. Higgins, Mr. Brian Higgins.” Silence. You could hear a pin drop. Then,
at the back of the lecture hall, the guy with the afro, smoking another cigarette,
exhaled, leaned forward and said, “I thought it was bullshit!”2 At that