THE ADVOCATE 179
VOL. 78 PART 2 MARCH 2020
took a beer from the refrigerator, drank it and said to Sandy, “That was my
last drink.” And it was.
Len’s alcoholism, though destructive in so many ways, left him with an
uncommon understanding of the struggles faced by those unfortunates living
in despair with the disease of substance addiction and with other crushing
burdens in their lives. He always makes time for those who seek his
help. He counsels them, guides them, supports them morally and financially
if that is needed, and represents them if they require legal assistance,
all to help them to a better life. He does all of this pro bono. And privately.
If you ask, he will tell you that the most rewarding aspect of his success is
the satisfaction he gets from helping those who need his help.
Dave Crossin, former president of the Law Society and now Mr. Justice
Crossin of the B.C. Supreme Court, remarks on how Len has, in particular,
assisted those at the bar who have found themselves in difficulty. The stress
of the profession can take a toll, and Len has, quietly, over the past four
decades, fundamentally changed the lives of hundreds of lawyers in this
province as a result of his legal and emotional support. So many members
of our profession have been provided the opportunity to heal and to redeem
and renew themselves, all due to the firm and steady hand held out to them
by Len Doust. He has also inspired many others in the profession to follow
in his footsteps and to give back to the profession in this way.
Len is remarkable for the range of cases he has taken on. While he made
his name in the criminal bar, he brought the skills honed in that environment
(woe betide the witness in any forum who dares try to get a falsehood,
or even just a half-truth, past Len as cross-examiner) to the civil litigation
world with equal success. And the ferocity of his defence of civil liberties in
both contexts over many decades has been blind. It is applied, unrestrained,
on behalf of the privileged, entitled and indulged, as well as those that live
in the shadows of our justice system and on the very outskirts of opportunity—
the marginalized, disenfranchised and disillusioned.
Len sees the prospect of redemption even in those others would consider
unredeemable. He believes that everyone, given the right opportunity, support
and time, has the potential to make their way to a better life.
Len transcends lists, rankings and recommendations. He represents a
generational figure of legal excellence, in B.C. and beyond. Bill Smart, Q.C.,
describes Len as the most effective advocate he has ever worked with and
highlights Len’s integrity and candour among all of the qualities that have
made him so effective. Len is someone who can be trusted by everyone he
deals with, and he brings his heart to everything he does.
This is Len’s gift to us. To know him may make you a better lawyer; to
know him does make you a better person.