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. At the beginning of his career, Getz was a faculty member of UBC Law from 1962-1969 and again from 1978-1979. Looking back on his time at UBC Law, Getz, now partner at Getz Prince Wells LLP, remarks that the quality of the faculty is second to none.
Getz completed his LLB at the University of Cape Town and served as President of the Law Students’ Association there. Getz went on to London University (LLM ’61) and Harvard (LLM ’62) before joining the faculty at UBC. At the end of his graduate studies, Getz decided to pursue academia. He was successful in his application to the University of Saskatchewan, McGill and the University of Western Ontario, but chose UBC in order to join his friend Gordon Jahnke.
Getz arrived at UBC in the summer of 1962 and was greeted at the library stacks near the main entrance by Malcolm MacIntyre. Getz has fond memories of his colleagues at UBC Law, in particular Stanley Beck and David Huberman.
Getz left UBC Law in 1973 to join the faculty at the University of Toronto before accepting a position as Chair of the BC Securities Commission for the next five years. Getz finally decided to enter the legal profession in 1979 and was called in July of 1980, becoming a partner at Freeman and Company a month later.
For the past 33 years, Getz has practiced primarily as a corporate solicitor with a focus on corporate and securities law. He has also acted as counsel before the BC Supreme Court, the BC Court of appeal and the securities commissions of BC, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
In 1989, Getz was retained by John Ivony in connection with a high profile Securities Commission indictment which captured the attention of most QCs in town. Correspondence from the Attorney General granted Getz an accidental “QC” by association, though he did manage to obtain the honour in 1991.
In 2010, Getz received the Peter S. Hyndman Mentorship award from the Vancouver Bar Association.
Article by Richard Somerset Mackie and Graham Zilm.