900 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2019
play golf, sometimes not so well. He was a devoted member of his fraternity
and considered his fraternity brothers as lifelong friends.
When Jim graduated from law school in 1962, he articled at Lawrence &
Shaw (now McMillan LLP) and then started practice at Robertson, Liddle &
Shrum (now McCarthy Tétrault LLP). He was impressed by the most
accomplished barristers of the time and sought their guidance. His ambition
led him to the prosecutors’ office for the City of Vancouver. Recruited
by Stewart McMorran, he first learned the barristers’ craft by prosecuting
the criminals of the day.
The rich, colourful history of the criminal world in the 1960s was a fascination
for Jim. He was old-school and quickly got to know the police and
other lawyers. Jim’s image can be found on the well-known City of Vancouver
prosecutors’ photograph where he joins many of the great British
Columbian barristers of that generation.
By 1965, Jim’s restless drive gave vision to opportunity and he moved to
Chilliwack. For a gentleman from the city, this appeared to be a big step at
great distance from the urbane world he enjoyed. But Jim resolved the challenge
of distance, first with a Jaguar XKE and then his favoured Mercedes
two-seater SLs. He joined David Hinds, who was later appointed to the B.C.
Court of Appeal, and Bill Davies, who was later appointed to the B.C.
Supreme Court, at their firm in Chilliwack. The firm had been started in
1937. This began his uninterrupted involvement with the firm of Wilson &
Hinds, later Hinds Davies. Eventually the firm would be renamed Baker
Newby LLP, bearing his name and that of his longstanding partner, Max
Newby. The firm carries on their tradition of excellence to this day with
Jim was an ambitious and aggressive partner to Messrs. Hinds and
Davies. He steered the firm to ad hoc prosecution work while developing a
robust criminal defence practice. In this field he honed his premier skill as
an advocate before juries.
Jim had an air about him that people could not miss. It made people want
to follow him, and indeed they would copy him. This skill suited Jim and
clients didn’t complain when jurors fell prey to his charm. He was general
counsel. He could argue either side of any case and generally convinced the
court that his side was the just and right one. As his practice developed, he
focused less on criminal cases and more on civil claims. He was preferred
defence counsel for insurance companies whose managers and adjusters
curiously were never troubled that he was also very effective plaintiffs’
counsel. Jim did all manner of tort cases and happily also conducted administrative
law and commercial claims—the latter he did almost as a diversion,