John Shields and Andrew Morrison—In the Spotlight

This month’s spotlight is on longtime, active CLEBC volunteers John Shields and Andrew Morrison of Shields Harney, the co-chairs of our upcoming Affidavit Secrets 2017 course on October 16.

John Shields

John Shields

How did you first get involved with CLEBC?

I first got involved with CLEBC around 1987, assisting in a video on the Summary Trial Rules, posing as a court clerk, with Mr. Justice Bouck. I also put on a CLEBC course around the same time on Small Claims Practice with Judge Taggart.

What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?

Andrew Morrison and I are currently finalizing a revised CLEBC course on affidavits this fall called Affidavit Secrets 2017. As most litigators rarely do trials any more, I firmly believe that no evidence course is more important than one on affidavits.

You are a longtime and active CLEBC volunteer. What motivates you to continue sharing your time and expertise?

I love to give back to the profession. I've had a wonderful career so far and worked with some fabulous people, including CLEBC’s Raymond Lee who is a star at organizing courses. It is a pleasure to work with him, other CLEBC presenters, and members of the court.

You have experience with a wide range of topics/issues within your commercial litigation practice. What are the rewards and challenges of a varied litigation practice?

In a general litigation practice, I'm paid, usually, to learn. I get to learn about mining, or banking, or real estate transactions, or professional malpractice. The facts change. The law evolves. The players are always different. It is a wonderful career, working with bright people, attempting to solve problems, and, often, justice is done.

What advice would you give to new lawyers interested in commercial litigation?

Get into court as much as you can, if only to sit in chambers watching how to do things properly, and also watching what to avoid. And, take the courses Andrew and I put on – Secrets of Chambers and Affidavit Secrets. Work out problems, enjoy the law, and always strive to keep your sense of objectivity and humour.

Other than law, what are you passionate about?

My family, my wife, my children, and mountain biking in France.

Anything else you would like our readers to know?

The law is a fabulous profession. Enjoy every moment.

Andrew Morrison

Andrew Morrison

How did you first get involved with CLEBC?

I was first introduced to CLEBC as an articling student or junior lawyer by John Shields, who is a big supporter of CLEBC. My first contribution to CLEBC was either working with John to coordinate a course or updating a section of the Small Claims Court Handbook that John had contributed to.

What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?

In the last year, I have spoken at the Residential Real Estate Conference and the Litigation Basics for Legal Assistants course. I am also the co-chair of the Affidavit Secrets 2017 course that will be held in October.

You are a longtime and active CLEBC volunteer. What motivates you to continue sharing your time and expertise?

I enjoy helping other lawyers develop their skills and knowledge, and I also learn from the views of the other presenters. It is also good for my reputation and for business development, and, of course, it takes care of my CPD credits for the year.

What inspired you to become a litigator as opposed to a solicitor?

In litigation, you can force people to do things they don’t want to do or force people who are acting unreasonably to stop acting unreasonably by convincing a judge to rule in your favour. It is the only job, other than a professional athlete, in which someone independent actually picks a winner and a loser. Plus, litigators have better “war stories”.

You have experience with a wide range of topics/issues within your commercial litigation practice. What are the rewards and challenges of a varied litigation practice?

I am never bored – on any given day I might work on five or six totally different types of files. Not knowing much about a particular area of law means that I have to work hard to get up to speed on the subject area, but it also means that I can bring a fresh perspective or a different approach than lawyers who practice only in that area.

What advice would you give to new lawyers interested in commercial litigation?

Try to develop a varied practice so that you can see what areas interest you. Don’t be reluctant to take on small cases. Even though they rarely pay well, they are a good way to build a practice and to develop skills.

Don’t be afraid to lose an application or trial. Anyone who has never lost is not trying hard enough to win a difficult case, and if you never lose, you get complacent.

Guard your reputation. Don’t do anything that will make judges or other lawyers think you are untrustworthy or needlessly difficult. Work hard.

Other than law, what are you passionate about?

I have a young family, with two young girls who are fun to spend time with. I play hockey and golf.

 

 



Previous volunteer spotlight:
Ming Song
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