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that she truly saw herself as benefitting from it too. There was no question
she was the elder stateswoman of the exchange, but she made you understand
it was an exchange—and that we all have a responsibility to one
another to do our utmost to contribute meaningfully and in earnest to the
trade of information, knowledge and ideas. Anne’s premise was that we all
benefit if we give our best to considering the questions that face us—
whether in the courtroom, at the symposium or together at the dinner table.
One of my most valuable flashbulb memories from my early days clerking
for Anne has my arm outstretched, handing her a research memorandum
that had taken me to my mental and physical limit—it was as right as
I was ever going to get it, but who knew if it was right enough? As I handed
it to her I’d said it had been quite a go, but here it was, and I was sorry if it
was not quite on. I recall I said that last bit, with the disclaimer apology in
it, to her as I was handing it over, as she was reaching out to receive it from
me. But as I said it, she stopped. And she said: “Now, Maegen, do not give
me something you are going to apologize for. You’ve either done it or you
haven’t. Are you ready to give it to me?” Decide, and stand by it. Don’t
hedge. Anne’s firm warning, in one stroke, really turned me from student
to professional. Of course there’s a buffer while you are clerking, and it
really is an interstitial space—there are enough protections in place that
you can’t really hurt anyone, yet—but Anne made me understand that
already I had a role and a responsibility, and my work would have consequence.
It is a fundamentally important understanding, and I was lucky to
learn it so decisively and early in my legal career.
That sense of responsibility for one’s role—by both conversation and
example Anne made sure you knew it extended beyond the courtroom and
beyond legal work, into your role as community member and as a citizen.
Conversations with Anne were a great pleasure—she was informed, skeptical,
engaged and wry. She brought a tremendous depth of historical knowledge
to current questions and couched it all in her energy, curiosity and
quick wit (and wonderful laugh). Lunch with Anne meant you should be
ready for range: from news of financial mismanagement in Rome to neighbourhood
zoning changes in Vancouver to the latest cases.
Anne had a great skill at creating the space to ensure good conversation
happened. She brought people together, and presided, and we loved it. The
elegance of Anne and Afton’s home, their dining table, but also the kitchen
party (and, in recent years, the whim party!)—it was all lively, interesting
Through her many years of work as counsel, trial and appeal court judge,
and in education, engagement and mentorship, Anne Rowles is woven into