Patrick Williams

Practice Point


PATRICK WILLIAMS was called to the bar in May, 1975. Pat is a partner at Clark Wilson LLP, where he has practiced for more than 31 years. He began his practice in construction, insurance, and strata property law and also calls himself a dispute resolver, trained as both an arbitrator and mediator. He has been the president of the British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre since June 2003. He is also the Chair of the BC Law Institute Strata Property Law (Phase Two) Project Committee. Pat has been an editorial board member of the CLEBC publication BC Strata Property Practice Manual for many years, and a repeat author of three chapters of that book. Over the years Pat has contributed to a number of CLEBC courses and will be co-chairing the March 2015 Strata Property Update course.

How and why did you get involved with CLEBC?

It is difficult to remember when I was first involved with CLEBC—it just seems that it was a long time ago. I do recall several CLE seminars on strata property law going back to the late 1990s and also being part of the faculty for a CLE arbitration course. I found that I liked teaching and the interaction with those attending. I must admit it feels good to be constantly called by lawyers asking me for my advice on strata property matters; and it results in a profile that I have generated continuing to be nurtured.

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

I am a member of the Editorial Board of the BC Strata Property Practice Manual and have been an author. As co-chair with Adrienne Murray I have been meeting with Teresa Sheward to plan the course Strata Property Update scheduled for March 23, 2015.

What has been your most memorable CLEBC experience?

Suggesting that the CLEBC Strata Property 2013 Update course consist of an interactive mock strata corporation AGM, experiencing the doubt expressed by my fellow panelists that we could pull something like that off, nailing the presentation, and receiving excellent feedback from the participants and attendees.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have received?

When I received my Queen’s Scout at the age of 15, I shook my father’s hand. He was aghast that I had not given him a firm handshake, and imparted to me that a firm handshake denotes confidence, integrity, and respect. Since then, I have realized how important it is to respect others, and when you do, that respect will be reciprocated.

What advice would you give newcomers who are interested in working in the legal profession?

Understand that such a career can be very rewarding, but that you will work hard and the effort you exhibit will result in those rewards. That said, one needs balance to remain intellectually alive. I encourage young lawyers who are parents to get involved with the children’s activities, as these types of activities are very rewarding, and something for which your children will thank you the rest of their lives. If you have no children, volunteer for something that has nothing to do with law.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career?

Working with people—lawyers, assistants, staff, and clients. There have been challenges, but seldom does a day go by that is not different from the last. Being proactive and creative, rather than reactionary and dismissive, often turning clients and client referral sources into good acquaintances and friends. Predicting the past is easy, but quite boring.

Other than law, what are you passionate about?

Wow, tough question. I am passionate about my wife of more than 40 years, our two children and their spouses and our grandchild. I love to collect wine and serve good, long cellared wines to those who do not expect it (as well as those who do expect it). I am blessed to have a circle of friends that I hold in high regard. I enjoy golf, hiking, and generally being outdoors.

What are some of your favourite legal resources? (blogs, websites, etc.)

CLEBC manuals and course materials. Having spent 40 years practicing law, I must admit that Google is a resource that I do utilize, but not nearly to the extent that I utilize CanLii. I am not a “blog” person, and am doing my best to remain a little electronically literate.

Anything you’d like to shamelessly promote? (favourite charity, social cause, etc.)

I grew a moustache for Movember, but that is now shaven off. I am a huge supporter of Canuck Place. Use the BCICAC—it is an extremely good resource. Attend live theatre in the Lower Mainland at small theatres—you will find the talent amazing.