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retained to commence a lawsuit. He meticulously prepared the pleadings,
commenced the action, then served the lawyer across the street. The
lawyer (whose name is lost to history) apparently called Tom to his office,
tore up Tom’s pleadings, sat him down and showed him the appropriate way
to draft the documentation required to sue his own client!
Tom never forgot this lesson in collegiality. The fight is between the
clients, not their lawyers. Tom was always generous with his time and available
to provide advice and assistance to less experienced lawyers.
In 1973, Tom left Fort St. John, separated from his wife and joined the
Crown as assistant district prosecutor in Cloverdale. He remained there
until 1976, when he joined Jim Norquist and Robert Shantz to form the firm
Norquist, Shantz and Davies. Their primary office was located in Maple
Ridge. Tom opened a branch office in Surrey. He practised in the areas of
criminal and family law.
In 1978, Tom married Linda. They never had children together. However,
Linda looked upon Tom’s four children as her own.
The practice thrived, and for the first time in his life, Tom started to make
some real money. In the late 1970s he and his partners invested their savings
and borrowed additional money to make a real estate investment that,
if successful, would have enabled them to retire at an early age. However,
in 1981, interest rates climbed to over twenty-one per cent, and the real
estate market collapsed. The bank called their loan. The value of the property
had collapsed to the point that it was not sufficient to repay the loan.
The easy way out would have been to declare personal bankruptcy. This
was not in Tom’s character. He refused. Instead he made a settlement with
the bank and eventually repaid every penny. It took years. The ugly process
aged him and perhaps took some years off his life.
Tom became a bencher of the Law Society in 1987, filling Ronald McKinnon’s
vacancy when he resigned to be appointed to the County Court. In
those years, benchers who resigned were replaced by an informal referendum
among the members of the county bar. Tom topped the polls and was
appointed to fill the vacancy. He went on to serve two additional two-year
During this time, he also served as president of the New Westminster Bar
I first met Tom in 1991. I was looking for a job. I had three young children.
We had recently purchased a home on the west side of Vancouver when the
downtown law firm for which I had been working informed me that I was
about to be laid off due to the recession that hit Vancouver in the early