THE ADVOCATE 267
VOL. 79 PART 2 MARCH 2021
The Honourable Ronald R. Holmes
There were no lawyers in Ron’s family, so why did he
take law? He said there were two influences. The
first was the summer during his commerce studies,
when he worked for an insurance company tabulating
claims. He could not see himself doing that for a
lifetime. The second was Ralph Loffmark, who
taught a course on law in the Faculty of Commerce
at UBC. Those taught by Ralph know he made law into a fascinating subject.
Ron remembered Ralph selling his pocket watch over and over again. There
was always a problem with the offer, acceptance, consideration, fraud, mistake
and on and on.
As a result, after graduating with a commerce degree, Ron entered law
school as part of the Class of 1963/64. His classmates included Paul Fraser,
Q.C., Paul Beckman, Q.C., and Winton Derby, Q.C.
Ron articled with Guild, Yule, Schmitt, Lane, Collier and Hinkson (now
Guild Yule LLP), where he started down the road to his inevitable appointment
to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1989.
Ron became part of the Guild Yule traditional learning approach to the
practice of law. He juniored senior counsel such as K.L. Yule, Q.C., Frank
Collier, Q.C., Ted Hinkson and Bud Hollinrake, Q.C. He worked with Pat
Nowlan on a few trials before Pat returned to Nova Scotia to take his father’s
seat in the House of Commons. Ron found the doors to the offices of senior
counsel in the firm were always open for his questions. Over time, in the
Guild Yule tradition, he acted for clients first on smaller cases and later on
larger and more complex lawsuits.
Ron brought something to the practice that few lawyers have. He was a
natural. Whatever the problem, he always knew what should be done. His
ability to pick out the relevant facts and distill the issues became legend in
the firm. There was a calmness to the way he practised law. His soft-spoken,
unassuming approach fooled many an opposing counsel and most
When the late Chief Justice Lance Finch, Q.C., was appointed to the
Supreme Court of British Columbia, Ron took over a particularly difficult
file on which Lance had been counsel.
One challenge in that file was that the parties adverse in interest to Ron’s
client did not speak English. Cross-examination required an interpreter. It