776 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
out of doors on the grass beside Brock Hall. I can remember very clearly
carrying with me a yellow and white fourth edition of Fleming on Torts. Bill
Black, our young professor, kept asking, “What if …” I was mesmerised.
In 1971, Mary and I were only 21. Paul Williamson (later Williamson J.)
was a full ten years older. He’d already worked for many years as a journalist.
He was married and may already have been the father of a baby girl. He
drove a blue 1960 Volkswagen Beetle. He sold it to me in 1974 for $240. It
had no gas gauge.
Mary Newberry did not have the good luck I had to be placed in section 4
in our first year. As far as we knew, allocation to any one of the four available
sections was purely arbitrary. However, it did seem to us 4-ites that we were
a group of 50 containing a disproportionately large number of shaggy-looking
people, and that we were therefore special. Those who were not obviously
hippies included Mary Ellen Boyd and Jo-Ann Prowse. They later took
up judgeships, distinguishing themselves in practice even though they’d
hung out with the rest of us for the whole of first year. Mary Ellen was
appointed as a judge almost the minute she was eligible under the federal
Judges Act and Jo-Ann eventually reached the Court of Appeal, where her
standards of preparation were so high, and her questions so piercing, that
even very experienced counsel (e.g., me) tended to quiver in her presence.
Although Mary and I had been dropped into different first-year sections,
we cemented a friendship during the second half of the year when we
worked together as helpers in the office of the UBC Law Review. Lynn Smith
(later a sometime colleague and full-time favourite of mine, and a most distinguished
B.C. Supreme Court judge) was about to become one of three
equal co-editors of the Review. A year later, Mary, Bob Reid and I succeeded
the Smith team. As it happened, the three of us weren’t as egalitarian as our
editorial predecessors had been: Bob and I quickly used our majority to
elect Mary as editor-in-chief. Bob (later Professor Bob) was pretty philosophical
about not having the job for himself, just as he was philosophical
about most things, having survived an airplane crash in which he’d been
badly burned. All things considered, he and I both knew Mary was the best
I think I’m right in saying that only two of our section 4 classmates have
been disbarred along the way from law school. Many of the rest have done
very well indeed, thriving on their section 4-ness. Hamar Foster, who was
probably the smartest of all of us, became a distinguished professor of law
at the University of Victoria and one of Canada’s foremost legal historians.
After joining me for a summer at the Department of Justice and for articles
at S. L. & H., he’d been a partner in a short-lived law firm named Prowse