Justice Lance Finch obtained his law degree from UBC in 1962. Justice Finch, who passed away on August 30, 2020, worked in private practice at Guild Yule for twenty years before becoming a trial judge and ultimately serving as Chief Justice for the Court of Appeal of British Columbia and Yukon Territory between 2001 and 2013. He became a member of the Order of British Columbia in 2017.
Justice Finch was one of 10 graduates from the class of 1962 who went on to become a judge. He had fond memories of the silliness and good-natured pranks that he experienced in law school and of the lifelong connections that they helped foster.
He noted 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. His advice was to take such chances when they come along and to enjoy the experiences that arise from them.
Justice Finch succeeded Allan McEachern in the highest judicial office in the province. He was a colleague of Chief Justice McEachern for 19 years, first on the Supreme Court of British Columbia and, starting in 1993, on the Court of Appeal.
Justice Finch took the issue of access to justice and legal services very seriously. He advised law students to find balance in their lives, to find workplaces in which they feel comfortable, and to remember that lawyers hold a privileged position in society in return for which they must view their profession as one of public service.
In 2013, Justice Finch was recognized by the Allard Law Alumni Association as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes an extraordinary individual who has set a high standard for volunteerism, philanthropy and/or professional accomplishment, and has been an example for all who follow. Justice Finch visited Allard Hall in March 2016, and reflected on his rich life experiences in the law school and beyond.
For more, read Profile of Justice Lance Finch from The Advocate, 59 (2001) and listen to the Allard Law History Project interview with Justice Lance Finch.