THE ADVOCATE 747
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
When the chambers date arrived I was met at the court by my opponent,
David Hart. He was the epitome of an English gentleman. He was dressed
in his best Brooks Brothers, and we chatted about the law and various other
matters. Then the court application began. David proceeded to eviscerate
my application, and at the end invited the judge to join him in dismissing
the application, which in fact occurred.
By the end of his submissions I felt that it would have been almost
ungentlemanly to disagree with what David said. The lesson I learned that
day was not to underestimate David Hart.
(I mean no disrespect to Sefton Levine if he is looking down, or to Neil
Fleishman if he is looking up.)
Over the ensuing years I ran into David from time to time and always
enjoyed our conversations. In 1998 our firm was growing and we needed to
hire a junior solicitor to do family law. To my surprise, I received a phone
call from David who indicated that he wanted to leave the Vancouver area
and expand his practice into the New Westminster and Fraser Valley areas.
We hired both a junior lawyer and David.
Suffice it to say that David stayed with us as an associate until his retirement
earlier this year. He was a great asset to the firm: he was a devoted
mentor to young lawyers and staff, he loved to organize and attend office
lunches, and he was a regular supplier of Krispy Kreme donuts.
I came to understand that under the English gentleman’s exterior was an
excellent barrister. We enjoyed each other’s company—in the courts, in various
bar association meetings and at all of those lunches.
His English persona was always with him. He drove his roadster with his
English driving cap on, and his computer password for the network was in
fact “pippip”. His legal persona was always present. David and his wife Jane
acquired a Shih Tzu after a trip to Japan and following an attempt to introduce
the dog as So Sue Me to the confusion of their Japanese homestay students,
the dog ended up as just Sumi.
David had an impish sense of humour, once collaborating with
Madeleine Patton to set up Sefton Levine by having an ecdysiast pose as a
client. Asst. Ed. – For those readers who may not know, “ecdysiast” is, as the
Washington Post succinctly put it in an August 2011 article, “a fancy word for
stripper”. Once in Sefton’s office, she proceeded to ply her trade, forcing
Sefton to flee the building in front of several of his colleagues gleefully waiting
David was an outstanding mentor to junior lawyers. He was patient, he
wanted to help them by letting them do things on their own (especially
things that would get their name in an order or judgment) and he never