Then tell the story of our profession.
Ken Walton, QC on Lawyers Doing Good in the Community
John Alexander (pictured left).
Some months ago, I attended a meeting of another Rotary Club in my community. Two lawyers were present. Each was asked to tell a lawyer joke. I refused, telling the Rotarians that such jokes were offensive. I then asked how many members would be relying on RRSPs for their retirement. Sixty percent of the hands shot up. None knew that prior to November of 2008 their savings pool was subject to creditor seizure. I told them that lawyers, through the work of the British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, had protected their nest egg from seizure through recent creditor protection legislation.
A 1997 study found that while lawyers as a whole were held in disrepute, those sentiments did not extend to client’s dealings with their own lawyers, whose virtues were held in a positive light.
It’s time for that positive light to be spread on us all!
Municipal lawyer – and outstanding rower – John Alexander has been with the renowned 13-member Victoria firm of Cox Taylor since 1982.
Cox Taylor is the epitome of a firm that places value on its lawyers being leaders in the profession as well as in the community. Alan Cox, deceased, was at one time the Treasurer of The Law Society of British Columbia. More than a decade later, the Honourable Mr. Robert Johnston served as Treasurer. Lawyer Ted Hanman for years was on the executive of Saanich Minor Hockey, while Frank Carson, QC served as an Alderman in Oak Bay for a total of nine years, over three different terms. Bill Murphy Dyson is the voice of the Oak Bay Tea Party in addition to many other community involvements over the years. A former member, Ray Bryant, was the Mayor of Esquimalt.
John marvels at the indulgence that Rodney Taylor, QC and Alan Cox, QC showed to him as a young lawyer allowing him to embark on service work outside of the profession.
In the years that followed, among many other notable accomplishments, John:
- was a major force in raising $400,000 to build the Boathouse at Elk Lake;
- spearheaded construction of the new clubhouse for the Cordova Bay Soccer Club, as well as a field lighting project;
- became President of the Island Swimming Association.
In 2005, John was awarded the B.C. Master of the Year by Sport B.C., an organization which he was aware of but not involved in. The award was the product of John winning five rowing gold medals at the Edmonton World Masters Games.
Sport B.C. is an umbrella organization that represents British Columbia’s amateur sport-governing bodies, from basketball, hockey, soccer and baseball, to very small organizations like the B.C. Broom Ball Association, B.C. Judo and everything in between. Sport B.C.’s goal is to promote healthy communities with an emphasis on the role that sports can play. Everyone should be involved, particularly youth.
Sport B.C. requested John’s name be put forward for the 13-member Board. John is now serving his second term as Chair.
John’s journey to this important Board has been typical of the journey that many private practice lawyers take in our province. In John’s words: “Every single Board I have been involved in has relied heavily on people in the community lending their expertise. A big part of that comes down at some time with assistance with legal issues. From my experience in various Boards, I know how important it is for various community associations in our province to have the expertise of volunteer lawyers as a resource. Without this free work, many of these organizations would simply be unable to function.”
The story of Cox Taylor, and John in particular, is an example of what lawyers typically do to make our communities a better place.
I know that most of you have a similar story. Tell it the next time someone mentions a lawyer joke.
I wish you success in your personal and practice life.
This article was published in the February 2010 issue of BarTalk. © 2010 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.