778 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
This means the section 4 difference must have lain in the seven members
of the faculty who were assigned to mould us. If I’m right about that, then
the credit for the moulding is due to Dean George Curtis, who recruited the
group that became our section 4 faculty, and to his successor, Bertie
McClean, who must have approved the section 4 assignments, and who left
the assignees alone to experiment. There were seven experimentarians: Bill
Black, Michael Jackson, Leon Getz, Andy Thompson, Jim Matkin, Steve
Wexler and Darrell Roberts. They brought with them three LL.M.’s from Harvard,
another from Yale, another from NYU, a doctorate and a Harvard J.D.
In time, four of the seven were appointed Queen’s Counsel.
Even less-than-astute readers will have noticed that the members of this
group of seven were all white and all male: so much has changed! Nonetheless,
this was an extraordinary cohort of mainly young professors who had
committed to try to turn our class of section 4 misfits into good analysts and
thinkers and into responsible citizens. It wasn’t going to be easy: we must
have looked, and at the beginning acted, like members of the cast from
But this was the new way, 48 years ago, when tiny shoots of social justice
were beginning to push their way upwards, looking for lawyers to tend
them. One night in early April 1972, we saw some of those shoots in the garden
outside Michael Jackson’s Point Grey home. He’d invited all of us there
for a pre-exams party. It was an extraordinary night, so strangely beautiful
as a light snow fell, and we thought nothing could stop us.
Michael was the moral core of our studies. He was also the social core
because we all believed he’d worked in London for a firm of solicitors who’d
acted for The Beatles!
Jim Matkin was one of the Harvard LL.M.’s. He’d clerked for Mr. Justice
Martland at the Supreme Court of Canada and he taught us constitutional
law, frequently wandering down byways that seemed to him to be perfectly
clear of debris but to us appeared as would the aftermath of a hurricane. Jim
went on to a distinguished career in government service and eventually
became secretary (CEO) of the Law Society of British Columbia. He was
never a bencher but he was a particularly effective policy maker. He was
instrumental in the development of the rule that took Canadian lawyers out
of the cash business when government, showing off its new anti-money
laundering hat, sought to oversee transactions as between lawyers and
clients without regard for vital lawyer independence considerations.
I remember one day Jim telling the benchers (I was one of them) that
they shouldn’t worry about being audacious in their decision making as
guardians of the public interest in the administration of justice. Jim’s mes-