730 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
bent, was saying could be said only by “a fool or a communist”. The
aggrieved opponent protested that he was not a communist, to which Jack
responded, “Exactly.” Jack graduated with his law degree in 1959.
Jack joined Farris—certainly not a haven for communists—as an articled
student in 1959. Farris had been established in 1903 by John W. deB. Farris,
Q.C., who became a Liberal senator and was still practising with vigour and
gusto when Jack joined the firm. Jack remained at Farris until his retirement
in 2007: as he said, he had one real job in his life. In his later years at
Farris, he pointed out that one of the advantages of “belonging to a firm that
is over 100 years old” was that “there is still one thing that is older than I
am.” He devised a firm motto—“constancy, courtesy and excellence”, which
also captured his approach to the practice of law.
When Jack joined Farris, the firm was still located in the Standard Building
at 510 West Hastings. One of the office’s prized attributes was its fireplace,
around which students and lawyers working elsewhere in the
building found excuses to congregate, whether or not they agreed with Farris’s
politics or clients. Jack and John Laxton, Q.C., also at 510 West Hastings
though certainly not at employer-oriented Farris, traded updates about
their respective salaries in the coffee shop at the foot of the building.
Jack was called to the bar in 1960, the same year that Peter Butler joined
Farris. Jack and Peter had been friends since their teens, as their mothers
played bridge together. Nonetheless, all the time they were at the firm, they
called each other “Giles” and “Butler”.
In his early years at Farris, Jack juniored (“carried the bags for”) Senator
Farris. Through Jack’s stories, later Farris lawyers felt as though they had
worked with the senator too, just as those who have joined Farris since Jack’s
retirement feel as though they know Jack. One day Senator Farris’s doctor
forbade him to go to court, and Jack assumed the role of lead counsel.
Jack and Peter became partners on the same day in 1967. As Jack said,
“Prior to that we spent a great deal of time discussing how the firm could
expect us to live on so little. After we became partners that subject of conversation
began to lose its utility.” As persuasive as Jack was, he admitted
that not even he could make Peter sustain efforts to brush his hair and
choose better clothes. This said, they continued to work together on many
cases and discuss others they had. Jack noted that their partnership “has
gone alright—he makes the news, I make the money.”
Even if Jack could not persuade Peter to choose a better tailor, he succeeded
in persuading an array of courts and other tribunals of the merits of
his clients’ cases, or at least that his words had to be carefully listened to.
The late Allan McEachern once described litigating against Jack as akin to