Oral History Project

One important element of the Allard School of Law History Project is an ambitious Oral History Project to interview and record former faculty, staff, and students about their memories of the law school and the impact of their time here on their lives in the legal profession and in other walks of life.  The oral history project will build a rich repository of recorded interviews which will be lodged in UBC Archives for the use of historians and others.

Please email us at historyproject@allard.ubc.ca if you have suggestions for interview subjects. Visit the Oral History Project - Faculty page for a list of interviews provided by Faculty members of Allard Law. Below are a list of interviews from Allard Law alumni.

Interviews

Class of 1947 - Blair Baillie
“I was born in 1922, when you had to have cranks to start the cars - some of us have remained cranky ever since. I was born in Saskatchewan in a snow storm ... My father was a general manager there. He remained in the prairies until about 1925..."

Class of 1949 - Valerie Taggart
Of the some 130 members of the class of 1949, four were women: Joan Hall, Virigina Galloway, Helen McCoy and Valerie Manning. Valerie Taggart (née Manning) was born in 1926 in Cranbrook, and into a family with strong legal ties...

Class of 1949 - Alec MacQuarrie
“I was born in a tar paper shack in Saskatchewan called Piapot, where Buff Sainte-Marie is from. My parents moved from Vancouver to get free land. It was the biggest mistake they made. They were there for about five years – that’s where I was born – and then they came back to Vancouver..."

Class of 1949 - Harry Bell-Irving
Born in Vancouver in 1927, Harry Bell-Irving was the youngest of four children. During his early school years, his teachers attested that he “knew everything” and moved him up a grade. He first enrolled at UBC in 1943 in Commerce two years before the Law School came into being...

Class of 1951 - Constance Dora Holmes Isherwood
Contance Isherwood was the first female gold medalist. "At that time, there were very few women in law school. I was one of only eight girls in a class of 200 men. So the odds were pretty good," she jokes.

Class of 1952 - The Honourable Mary Southin
The Honourable Madam Justice Southin was a woman of “firsts”: she was the first woman to article at Bull Housser, the first woman appointed Queen’s Counsel, and the first woman Treasurer of the Law Society of British Columbia

Class of 1952 - Frank Karwandy
Born in Neidpath, Saskatchewan, in 1927, Frank Karwandy came from a family with roots in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Keen on education, his father served as a councillor and reeve in the Municipality of Lawtonia...

Class of 1952 - The Honourable Patricia M. Proudfoot
“Did I suffer from all these things that women say they suffer from in a group of men? No. I gave as good as I got. I made it very clear that I wasn’t going to make the coffee and I wasn’t going to clean up their cups. I sometimes listen to some of these things that people complain about and frankly, I just roll my eyes..."

Class of 1954 - Joan Cave-Brown-Cave
“Let me add a prequel, as it were. Joan and I were two of five women in the class of 1954 who graduated in 1954. In 2004, she and I put together the fiftieth reunion of the class of ‘54, which in and of itself was an extremely interesting activity because we discovered a lot about the class, our classmates...

Class of 1954 - Jane Banfield
“Let me add a prequel, as it were. Joan and I were two of five women in the class of 1954 who graduated in 1954. In 2004, she and I put together the fiftieth reunion of the class of ‘54, which in and of itself was an extremely interesting activity because we discovered a lot about the class, our classmates..."

Class of 1956 - Thomas Berger
Hard choices. The work of any judge. The hallmark of the examined life, the one worth living, worth emulating. The title of Carol Swayze’s biography of Thomas Berger: Hard Choices.Tom Berger was counsel for the plaintiffs in Calder v. Attorney-General of British Columbia (1973) ...

Class of 1956 - Rafe Mair
A member of the Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Rafe Mair is probably best remembered for his 19 year career in radio. He has been hired, fired, lauded, and reprimanded for speaking his mind over the last 57 years...

Class of 1957 - Jim MacIntyre
James MacIntyre’s family has a distinguished pedigree in law. His grandfather, James Murray MacIntyre, was a judge in New Brunswick; and his father, Malcolm MacIntyre, was a Professor of law at UBC from 1948-1964...

Class of 1960 - The Honourable Ross Collver
"I bought my first umbrella when I started at UBC because I had no experience with winter rain and that was a phenomenon that took a few weeks to get used to...

Class of 1962 - The Honourable Lance Finch
Lance Finch notes that life is “full of funny twists and turns”. Indeed, it was the chance advice of a friend that prompted him to talk to a professor and ultimately make the decision to pursue a legal career, one which ultimately included serving as Chief Justice for the Court of Appeal of British Columbia and Yukon Territory...

Class of 1962 - The Honourable Martin R Taylor
Justice Taylor’s employment with the newspaper business as a police reporter in Sarnia was his first exposure to the law. Journalism eventually brought him to BC where he had the opportunity to interview Norman MacKenzie, then President of UBC, who encouraged him to pursue his interest in a legal career...

Class of 1962 - Marvin Storrow
Marvin Storrow is an accomplished lawyer whose career includes several groundbreaking cases that have steered the course of legal history in Canada. He has received many distinctions including the highest award from the Canadian Bar Association's British Columbia Branch...

Class of 1962 - Leon Getz
Leon Getz grew up in a liberal household in South Africa where his parents strongly encouraged argumentation and debate. His father had an interest in the law and encouraged both Leon and his brother to study law...

Class of 1966 - The Honourable Wallace T. Oppal
Born to immigrant parents in Vancouver, Wally Oppal grew up with a strong work ethic and a will to learn. After finishing broadcasting school he worked in lumber mills and as a disc jockey in order to put himself through his undergraduate and law degrees at UBC...

Class of 1966 - Selwyn Romily
Selwyn Romily was born in Trinidad and left home when it was still a British colony. His father, a school principal, had always insisted that his kids get professions. Romily’s brother Valmond also decided to practice law and became a judge like his brother...

Class of 1966 - The Honourable Randall Wong
The Honourable Justice Randall Wong is a pioneer in Canadian law. He served as the first Chinese Canadian provincial Crown Counsel (1967) and became a BC Provincial Court judge in 1974. In 1981 he became the first Chinese Canadian federally appointed judge with his appointment to the British Columbia County Court

Class of 1967 - Elizabeth Edinger
According to Elizabeth (Liz) Edinger - and there is little reason to doubt her assertion - she holds the distinction of being the first student in UBC Law history to give birth in the midst of her studies. Edinger’s decision to study law was pragmatic; law promised an income...

Class of 1968 - Anne Rowles
Born in Empress, Alberta, Anne Rowles was the youngest of three children. Her family moved to Kelowna in 1948, where her father operated a poultry farm. She was educated in a one-room school,  and remembers that in those days there were “excellent teachers and a number of bright students" ...

Class of 1968 - The Honourable Mike Harcourt
Michael Franklin Harcourt, mayor of Vancouver from 1980 to 1986, and premier of British Columbia from 1991 to 1996, “never planned to go into politics.” The progression into politics, however, seemed natural for someone who decided to study law because he “wanted to make change" ...

Class of 1968 - Jim Taylor
Remember those people who spent so much time at university you thought they should probably just set up camp? Well, Jim Taylor did. Student, professor and now citizen of the burgeoning University Town at UBC, Taylor is a resident of Hampton Court and chair of the University Neighbourhoods Association...

Class of 1969 - Allen Soroka
Allen Soroka attended law school at the University of Virginia, where he recalls that every second student was the son of a governor. He worked as a criminal defense lawyer for four years before relocating to New York and working at the Federal Reserve Bank...

Class of 1970 - Carey Linde
Originally from New York City, Carey Linde was best known for his student radicalism. He had a fond interest in field biology, which led him to initially major in zoology at UBC at the start of 1960. A chance encounter with a roommate led him to explore other endeavours...

Class of 1970 - Bill Ferguson
“It starts before Vancouver Island because I was born in Coal Creek … that was a town that once existed outside of Fernie, which was once a coal-mining town. I moved from there as an infant, I suppose when the mine shut down, a lot of people moved to the Cumberland area, around that time when the mine shutting down"...

Class of 1970 - Stuart Rush
A partner with Rush, Crane, Guenther, Stuart Rush provides ongoing litigation and counsel for the Okanagan, Kwakiutl, and Pic River Ojibway First Nations as well as the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and speaks extensively on Aboriginal rights and the use of oral history evidence...

Class of 1970 - The Honourable Lynn Smith
Asked why she decided to study law Lynn Smith answers, “Who knows?” Uncertainty of motive, however, does not seem to have inhibited either her abilities or her commitment. Her decision to study law seems to have stemmed from her interest in social change...

Class of 1970 - Joost Blom
Joost Blom was born in Pitt Meadow and received his BA from UBC in 1967. He went on to complete a LLB at UBC in 1970 before pursuing a BCL from Oxford in 1972. Universities were vigorously expanding throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s: more students were coming and more professors were needed...

Class of 1970 - David Mossop
"I always wanted to be a lawyer from a very little guy onward," says David Mossop, whose distinguished career with the Community Legal Assistance Society spans more than four decades, "I used to watch Perry Mason..."

Class of 1971 - Peter A. Allard
Peter Allard is of mixed French Canadian and English-Scottish ancestry. The Allards came from Poitiers, France, to New France in the 1680s, while his mother's family, the Dallamores (Peter's maternal grandfather) came from St. Helena and South Africa via Somersetshire, England at the beginning of the nineteenth century...

Class of 1972 - Stephen Owen
"More and more expertise in a single field is a wonderful way to practice, but the potential for law being relevant to so much - certainly to public policy, history, international affairs - [allows it to] accommodate the widest possible interest..."

Class of 1973 - Robin Elliot
Professor Robin Elliot joined the Allard School of Law in 1976 as Assistant Professor, after he was called to the Bar of B.C. in 1975. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1983 and to Professor in 1991.

Class of 1973 - The Honourable Jon Sigurdson
John Sigurdson arrived in UBC law in the fall of 1970 amidst great change. “I was one of the first Canadian students to write the LSAT,” he recalls. “Law school then was really focused on case study and the Socratic method,” Sigurdson said ...

Class of 1974 - The Honourable Linda A. Loo
"It's hard for people to believe but there were very few Chinese people in Vancouver at that time and there was a petition going around wanting us not to live there..."

Class of 1974 - Robert Reid
“I grew up in, well we called it ‘Haney’ in my day, it became Maple Ridge Later. It was a district in Maple Ridge but it was compromised of Haney, Hammond … I grew up there and went to Maple Ridge High school. I graduated in 1959. My dad was in shoe repair until he passed away in ’88"...

Class of 1975 - Louise Mandell
“Pure synchronicity” is the phrase Louise Mandell uses to describe the process by which she arrived at UBC Law. Teaching certificate, education degree and some traveling under her belt, she says, “I had no clue what I was going to do ...

Class of 1976 - Svend Robinson
“[Law school] was a conservative place. But I mean, it’s funny, when you ask about law and politics. For me, I went into law, basically, because I knew that I had the political bug. I was originally going to go into medicine..."

Class of 1979 - Ross Beaty
“With degrees in geology and law, Ross Beaty followed an unusual path. His advice: "get as much out of life as you can. Live it to the full and you will never regret that. I certainly didn’t."

Class of 1980 - Geoffrey Cowper
Geoffrey Cowper was initially told that his law school application at UBC had been rejected. With persistence and a bit of luck, the administrative error was resolved and he began his distinguished legal career as one of the youngest and most enthusiastic students in his class.

Class of 1983 - The Right Honourable Kim Campbell
“When I became Justice Minister I described myself as a feminist and there was an audible intake of breath across the country, but you know, they got over it. I didn’t know how else to describe someone who was an advocate for equality of women..."

Class of 1983 - Tim Louis
Tim Louis was first elected to public office in 1990 as a member of the Park Board, and later became a Councillor of the City of Vancouver. After finishing his articles in 1984, Mr. Louis started his own practice, describing those days as...

Class of 1985 - Steven L. Point
People say to me, “What’s an Elder?” I tell them if you wake up in the morning and your teeth are in a glass, you are an Elder. I am only teasing, of course. It has to do with knowledge, respect, wisdom and love – that is an Elder…

Class of 1991 - Lindsay M. Lyster
Lindsay Lyster graduated as the gold medalist for the Class of 1991, and went on to clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada. While working as a research assistant for Dean Peter Burns, she was introduced to Madam Justice McLachlin and offered a job over dinner. “It was completely not the way it’s done now…

Class of 1998 - Tom Shorthouse
Tom Shorthouse has played many roles in his life. The one for which he is best known to the legal profession is head librarian at the Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia. For 32 years, Tom nurtured and guided the law library to its current position as one of the best in Canada…

Class of 2001 - Karey Brooks
Karey Brooks views the law "as a potential tool or instrument to advance social justice causes." She has acted on many landmark Aboriginal cases, and maintains that "it's really not hard to be motivated when you work for clients who have an agenda that matters to all Canadians."

Class of 2001 - Jason Kuzminski
“I was always looking to leave a legacy, and when I started I thought it would be the books I write, and then I thought later it would be the court cases I argue. I think the proudest achievement in my career is the day I had my family, and you start to realize that’s the legacy...”

Class of 2013 - Leah George-Wilson
Leah George-Wilson is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation (“TWFN”) located in North Vancouver. She was the first woman to hold the office of Elected Chief for the TWFN, a position she held from 2001-2003 and 2005–2009...