The Honourable Justice S. David Frankel

Class of 1972-1973

He’s a natural storyteller. His recollections of law school, of colleagues and of trials take shape as fully formed narratives. He speaks with a hint of laughter in his voice and as though he has all the time in the world for these tales; you’d never guess he had 45 volumes of material on a construction case vying for his attention.

He is newly a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal for BC and Judge of the Court of Appeal of Yukon, but once upon a time, just over a decade ago, the Honourable S. David Frankel was lead counsel for the Federal Government on the “fishing cases”—Van der Peet, Gladstone and NTC Smokehouse: “Early on,” Frankel recalls, “the [Court of Appeal] held a number of pre-appeal conferences, because the logistics of hearing a number of cases with multiple parties and so many interveners was unheard of. At one of the early ones, I’m sitting there at counsel table, we’re waiting for the judge to come in. And Tom [Berger] was sitting behind me and he says in a sort of a loud whisper, ‘I don’t know why Frankel’s involved in these cases. He doesn’t know anything about Aboriginal rights!’ So I turned around and I said, ‘Tom, what you don’t understand is, you know those tags they put on salmon to track them?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Well, those are actually little wiretap devices and that’s why I’m here— because this is really a wiretap case!’ That quieted him down for a minute.” ...