THE ADVOCATE 901
VOL. 77 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2019
but he performed very well. Jim’s skill as a trial advocate was mirrored by
his accomplishments in appellate work. He conducted more than 85
appeals in the Court of Appeal and during one period won 13 appeals in a
In 1983, Jim was appointed Queen’s Counsel and remained Chilliwack’s
only Q.C. for many years. As a lawyer in the finest tradition, he followed
the advice of Shakespeare: “strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends”.
Jim enjoyed the company of many at the bar. He continued practising with
Baker Newby in Chilliwack until he retired at the age of 80 in 2016. By then,
he had been a member of the Law Society of British Columbia for over 50
years. Jim conducted his last Supreme Court trial in New Westminster at
the age of 79. On his retirement, his office was also retired and converted
to a lawyer’s lounge now presided over by his court robe and vest, which are
hung with dignity in the room. The renovation was one Jim heartily
approved. He considered the use of his office for other lawyers’ leisure
most appropriate indeed and took pleasure in the thought of it.
In 1991, Jim married Eran. They remained happily married until his
death. Jim and Eran divided their time between their homes in Hope and on
Hornby Island. He indulged his insatiable appetite for crime, spy and lawyer
novels while contentedly reposed horizontally at their Hornby Island residence.
It was not unknown by his partners that “JDB” occasionally adopted
that very same position and occupation at his office in Chilliwack.
Jim had many friends in all stations of life. He was concerned to help the
poor or disadvantaged and also enjoyed the society of the affluent. He saw
the common humanity in all people. One of his life’s pursuits was to do
what he could to help other people. His involvement with his community
was, in his earlier years, more formal. He was a member of many community
service organizations. As the years passed, he enjoyed more his ability
to help the disadvantaged informally and would often oversee cases where
there was a clear need for justice to be assured even if the prospect of a fee
was non-existent. He had an uncommon knack for assisting the common
person in extraordinary ways and delighted in seeing justice prevail
through the invisible hand of his discrete involvement.
While he fearlessly and determinedly would advance the position of his
client, Jim never lost sight of practical results and fairness of treatment. He
was very well known in the insurance bar as a lawyer possessing great
sense, fairness and integrity. This was really the essence of Jim. He was
before all else a man of his word. In this he was a model lawyer. If Jim Baker
said something would happen, it would happen. His moral commitment to
his integrity was singularly at his essence.