This month’s spotlight shines on Ian Hayward of Hayward Sheppard.
How did you first get involved with CLEBC?
An embarrassing number of years ago, I was fortunate enough to be called by CLEBC to present a paper on cross-examining experts in Family Law. I remain convinced that the intended presenter must have fallen ill at the last minute and that all of my colleagues turned down the engagement before CLEBC resorted to me.
I have two very distinct memories of that conference. First, I came down with a healthy affliction of imposter syndrome and was terrified that my audience knew so much more about what I was teaching than I did. Second and much more importantly, in researching and preparing for my presentation, I came to learn about my area of expertise to a level that I had not yet achieved independent of my teaching. I was hooked and have thoroughly enjoyed both attending and presenting at several CLEBC courses since that time.
What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
I am blessed to be working with Jennifer Thorne as an editor of the updated and revised version of Financial Issues in Family Law. I am also working with my good friends, Paul Albi, Bea McCutcheon, and Edie Ryan as members of the editorial board for Family Law Agreements Annotated Precedents. In the spring of 2024, I am looking forward to presenting at the 2024 CLEBC course on Estate Planning for Blended Families.
What inspired you to become a lawyer?
The unbearably corny truth is that I was inspired to pursue law by the character, Atticus Finch in the book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. His commitment to bringing dignity to those who were unwilling participants in the justice system motivated me to concede to my father’s incessant pressure to become a lawyer.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
When I first started practicing family law, I came up against a much more experienced colleague, Larry Kahn, KC. I was unbearably green at the time and had formed the youthful conviction that to represent my client well, I had to be unrelentingly aggressive and uncompromising. Somehow Larry tolerated me until our case was complete and then, unexpectedly and most certainly undeservedly, he took me to lunch.
After enjoying our meal together, Larry politely suggested to me that family law did not need to be a war and that I might have better served my client if I had opened my mind to investigating alternatives to mindlessly litigating every issue. His delivery was disarming enough that I gave serious thought to his counsel and eventually changed my practice. Being a family lawyer carries with it the obligation of guiding our clients through what, for most, will be the worst times of their lives. Doing so with dignity, respect for all parties, and a willingness to consider all alternatives not only leads to better outcomes but also makes one’s practice immeasurably more rewarding.
You are very active in the legal community both as a contributor to publications and as a speaker. What motivates you to give back to the profession?
Although, for me, presenting at CLEBC conferences is always a nerve-wracking experience, I can’t deny that I love doing it. To teach, one must learn their area of expertise to a much higher level than they would if they were not providing instruction to others. I find that I become better at what I do by presenting and invariably, I learn from the excellent questions put to me at the end of my sessions by participants. I have benefited enormously from attending these courses and conferences and hope that I can to some extent repay that debt by contributing my experience to others who are entering the practice.
What is your favorite book, and what are you currently reading?
My favourite book is Germinal by Emile Zola. It was given to me in high school by my best friend’s mother who was a university librarian. I have read it several times and it just keeps getting better every time. I am currently reading The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. It was recommended to me by my son, who has excellent taste in literature.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
If, prior to 2020, anyone had ever suggested that I might become a farmer, I would have scoffed at the notion. However, while still suffering from Covid brain, my wife, my brother, his wife and I bought a 40-acre vineyard on one of the Gulf Islands. Since that time, I have become obsessed with farming grapes. I don’t claim to have any real expertise in that vocation but I am learning more and more every day and it is fascinating.
Over time, it has become abundantly clear to me that nature has solved the riddle of creating balance in soil and growing conditions and that the best crops are often those grown with the least intervention. Likewise, great wines are created in the fields and not through manipulation in tanks. At my current trajectory, I project that I should become a very good farmer by the time I reach the age of 125.