"I have no intention of slowing down. I'm having too much fun," said 81-year-old Morley Koffman, QC, who continues to work from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day, although he admits that these are shorter days compared to when he first began as founding partner at Koffman Kalef LLP 18 years ago.
"I enjoy the challenge of negotiation, but most of all I enjoy the people. You're dealing with people from different industries and with different views of the world. It brings a broad perspective to life."
Mr Koffman has acted as counsel for some of the provinces' largest organizations, including the Jim Pattison Group, Rogers Mobility, the City of Vancouver and B.C. Hydro. He has also advised on some of the most significant corporate deals in BC's history, including the Olympic Village development and the Canada Line.
"Working on the Canada line project from start to finish as legal counsel was definitely one of the highlights of my career. I was acting as an intermediary before five governments and quasi government agencies. Each one had their own issues that they thought were equally important. It was a challenge, to say the least, but a great experience."
Mr. Koffman has come a long way since his humble beginnings as a UBC Law student in the early 1950's.
"Our class was a bit unusual because it was one of the last classes with Second World War veterans. Those of us who came directly from high school or undergraduate degrees were the minority," said Mr. Koffman who was 22 at the time of graduation. "The experience was wonderful. I matured very quickly in those few years because I was spending most of my time with people who were 15 to 20 years older and had all these life experiences."
Mr. Koffman was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the UBC Law Alumni Achievement Awards Dinner on April 27, 2011. The award is given is given to an extraordinary individual who has set a high standard for volunteerism, philanthropy and/or professional accomplishment. Mr. Koffman certainly embodies that with his long list of accomplishments that go beyond the practice of law. He has served many prominent roles in the community, including vice-chair of the Jewish Appeal of British Columbia and Chairman of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Vancouver.
"I'm just a simple old lawyer," said Mr. Koffman who felt humbled with this recent recognition from his alma mater.
"It's not my style to seek out awards and I have never really sought the spotlight. Practicing law in my field usually means that you're in the background. So from that perspective my life has been rather discreet."
As for words of wisdom to the newest batch of UBC Law graduates, Mr. Koffman has this to say:
"Every time you think you have it figured out, watch out. There's always something to be learned from every new file and never think you know everything. The challenge in this profession is that almost every transaction involves another industry and you have to be a quick learner in order to truly act on their behalf. So do you your homework on everything and be prepared."