Joost Blom was born in Pitt Meadows 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. When UBC Law opened in 1945, there were only two full-time faculty members, Dean George Curtis and Frederick “Pappy” Read, with much of the teaching duties falling on practicing members of the local bar. As time went on, the law school relied more and more on academics; however, the vagaries of the job market meant that universities, to which UBC was no exception, were experiencing a higher turnover rate. This is what led Dean McClean to call Joost Blom and offer him a teaching position.
Blom arrived as an assistant professor just when the law school was starting to make major changes to the curriculum. From 1945 until then, the curriculum had been standardized and students were offered little choice in their courses, and none in the first two years. In the late 1960s students began to agitate for change, largely led by Carey Linde, law student and campus radical.
Blom served as Associate Dean from 1982-1985 and as Dean from 1997-2003. As Dean, Blom describes that he was responsible for “everything,” which included the hiring of faculty, budgetary concerns, and addressing a variety of student matters. He was largely responsible for maintaining and fostering relationships between the law school and the legal profession. Blom was elected a bencher four times between 2004 and 2011 before being named a Life Bencher in 2012.
Talking with the Law History Project in 2012, Blom took time to note the major changes coming for students graduating in 2015 and beyond with the Law Society mandating certain changes in the basic competencies required for graduates. British Columbia will become the first jurisdiction in Canada to require students to have study ethics and aboriginal law.
For more, read Profile of Joost Blom from The Advocate, 55 (1997), and listen to the Allard Law History Project Interview with Joost Blom.