260 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 2 MARCH 2021
Before becoming a lawyer, Mike worked as an engineer. He graduated
from the UBC School of Engineering in 2002 but ultimately decided to leave
engineering and pursue a career in law. Knowing Mike, I suspect he was
bored with the dryness of engineering and its distance from both ultimate
questions about how to live and the immediate turmoils of social and interpersonal
politics. One day, a group of us associates were whining about having
to attend an upcoming lawyer’s party. Mike chuckled, “If you think this
is bad, you should try engineer parties.”
Mike graduated from Thompson Rivers University law school in 2015. He
split his articles between McLean & Armstrong and Gwendoline Allison’s
firm in nearby Dundarave.
Before being hired by M&A, Mike also interviewed with Jenkins Marzban
Logan. John Logan interviewed Mike, and despite having only that brief
encounter with Mike, John continued to ask after him over the years. In
I wanted to hire him, as there was something very nice about him that
was very different from the usual candidate I see. I thought he seemed
like an “old soul” (someone more enlightened than other people his age)
and had a nice, disarming manner, which would be useful if he wanted to
pursue a career in dispute resolution. After doing everything I could to
interest him in JML, and despite warning him that at M&A everyone
wore flip-flops to work, he went to work with you folks.
McLean & Armstrong was equally keen to hire Mike due to his intelligence
and technical knowledge. Mike was quickly able to translate his engineering
experience into the technical explanation of construction terms
relevant to legal cases. He worked on major files involving transmission
lines, proprietary wall systems and new school construction, among others.
Mike’s colleague Chris Moore recalls working late preparing to crossexamine
an expert who had penned an enormous report in an area the
client said “only three people in the world understand.” Mike and Chris read
countless journals over several evenings. Chris has fond memories of eating
greasy Chinese food, laughing and learning enough to conduct a four-day
cross-examination of the expert.
On first meeting Mike, his personal style, humour, environmentalism
and leftism struck me as unmistakably West Coast. His dress was faded
baggy jeans, untucked plaid shirt, worn-out shoes and waterproof shell
jacket. With an impish twinkle in his downturned eyes, his brown hair
always dishevelled, Mike sometimes reminded me of a llama.
Mike rode his “vintage” bike to work over the Lions Gate Bridge to Ambleside.
He listened to audiobooks on his commute. In our first discussion, I
suggested Mike find the audiobook of Philip Roth’s Operation Shylock. He