94 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
I then practised with D. Victor Allan, and after a few years we took over
Neil Fleishman’s practice. He had the largest divorce practice in B.C., and
because I was the barrister in the firm, it fell to me. The law was just
changing to permit no-fault divorce, and there were thousands of separated
people waiting for that event. In my first few years thereafter it was
not unusual for me to have three to four uncontested divorces every Friday.
Eventually the law firm bifurcated and I practised as a sole practitioner,
with a series of associates.
In the early ’70s I became aware of the Association of Family and Conciliation
Courts, an organization out of California composed of judges,
lawyers and social workers practising in the courts. It shaped how I practised
family law. My relationship with this organization lasted over 20
years. I was able to bring from it, to B.C., the Family Mediation and Parenting
After Separation program, which was taken over by the Justice
Education Society, which turned it into a province-wide program.
I took my turn as chair of the family law subsection of the CBA and
chaired the Employee’s Assistance Society, which was eventually to provide
services to lawyers. The eight years I spent as a bencher were among
the most gratifying of my legal career. While not always of a legal matter,
my contribution to the Advocate will never be equalled, although, to be
sure, there are few who remember s.m.a.l.l. As I write this, I realize that
currently my sole contribution, if one does not count the Lawyer Show,
is to chair the Senior Lawyers’ subsection, which is more social than legal
and more retired than practising.
I have appeared at every level of court and, when numbers permitted,
before every Supreme Court judge in B.C. When the need arose, I served
as pro tem family court judge in Vancouver and in the Yukon. I have
found the practice of family law to be gratifying, and I believe I had a
modicum of success in it. My last years of practice were spent in the company
of my middle son, and I can think of no happier way to end a career.
Oh, and when not practising, I attended concerts, theatre and lectures
and travelled to most of the countries of the world … and of course I
fished. But as a wise man once said, “In the time allotted to man, God
does not count the time spent fishing.”
The task that remains is to relate anything that Jerry did not treat adequately
or left out of his auto-obituary. Of assistance in this regard are an
autobiography that he started and a curriculum vitae that he prepared in the
months before he died.
The first thing he left out was his years at the University of British Columbia,
where he obtained degrees in commerce and law. He was also a member
of the debate team, president of his fraternity, a finalist in an intramural
boxing competition, a member of the moot court team and a member of the
cast in every UBC Musical Theatre Society (“Mussoc”) production and eventually
the president of Mussoc.
The next thing he left out was the 18 months he spent touring the world
immediately after being called to the bar. He visited England, Scotland, Aus-