In 1970 I came to Toronto from Montreal to attend Osgoode Hall Law School. The exigencies of moving here and paying for the courses required that I work.
One of the first jobs that I acquired that Fall was with the firm of Jackson Smith & Associates, originally known as David Jackson & Associates (“Jackson”).
I had initially applied for work as a door-to-door canvasser (who would you vote for, etc.) but when my employer found out that I had some public relations experience, I was retained to do a report for the (then) Minister of the Solicitor General of Canada and the Foundation for Human Development, entitled “The Police Function in our Changing Society”.
Eventually that led to several other assignments.
By 1971, Ted Andrews had been named as the first Chief Judge of the Provincial Court (Family Division). The Province had recently taken over full responsibility for the Family Court from the municipalities and the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) was looking to improve the quality of the services provided and to streamline the many courts and the numerous pieces of legislation – both Federal and Provincial – that, at that time, had some form of jurisdiction over various aspects of family law.
Jackson was retained by MAG to prepare a report of suggested reforms and I was given the task of drafting the report.
The experience was an eye-opener, in many respects.
As a law student, it was thrilling to be at the forefront of bringing real change to an area of law that probably had the greatest effect upon the greatest number of people.
I had numerous meetings with Ted, with his secretary Dee Prosser and with others, including John Jennings who, at the time, was (if I recall correctly) the Chair of the Canadian Bar Association, Family Law Section. I spent considerable time preparing the report. All in all, it was a real education.
Perhaps the summary of what occurred at the time of the report’s presentation to Ted and John best exemplifies the prevailing attitude that they exuded – imaginative change.
The report that I had drafted had not been well-received by my employer. They re-vamped it and re-wrote it and another person did the actual presentation.
At the end of the presentation, I had to go to the washroom. I was quickly joined by Ted and John, who positioned themselves to my immediate left and right. As we were at the urinals, Ted said “Leo, I’m disappointed. I thought that you understood what we were looking for – and this presentation doesn’t reflect that.”
However, in the meantime, and until the necessary constitutional and legislative changes were made to allow for such a unified court, the “second prong” of the proposal was for the modernization of the current court structures and their personnel.
They seemed to be pleased and asked if I would be willing to become an employee of MAG in order to work on the implementation of the report. By the time we finished – including washing and wiping – we shook hands.
Thus, by late 1971, while in second year of law school, I had become the “Special Project Director.”
Some of the most unforgettable memories of my experiences over the next almost-two years (my contract expired when I started articling in September of 1973) include:
· My then-reluctance (being a recent Quebecois) to swear allegiance to the Queen
· Having access to, and reading, the personal personnel files of the judges and court clerks and JPs
· My adventures with Ted (usually during lunchtimes on Fridays)
· How Ted became my wife’s “surrogate father” (I married in May, 1972)
· How Ted and Dee came to my graduation and gave me my first briefcase – and became wonderful mentors
· Being approached (lobbied?) by those who were wishing to remain – or become – judges
· Realizing the seriousness of having to classify sitting judges, clerks and JPs
· The ability to travel over all of Ontario and observe how justice was meted out – or not
· The up-close observations of how judges (in those pre-committee days) came to be appointed
Ted died on August 1, 2018. He will have a “Viking” send-off in Ireland, to be followed by a more traditional visitation, internment and celebration of life in Toronto.
Only Ted could pull-off such an adventurous, fun-filled, extraordinary, international event. It truly reflects the man he was.