RICHARD B. LINDSAY, P.Eng., KC is a founding partner of Lindsay LLP in Vancouver. His practice focuses on general insurance litigation, with particular emphasis on products liability, engineering, energy, and fire-related matters. Richard’s areas of specific interest include complex multi-party litigation, subrogation, fraudulent claims, coverage, and catastrophic injury cases with significant liability issues. In select cases, he will act as a mediator or arbitrator. As a well-known insurance lawyer in Canada, Richard has extensive trial and appellate court experience, including appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Richard is chair of CLEBC’s upcoming Insurance Law Conference on September 28, 2016.
How and why did you get involved with CLEBC?
I was approached by Glen Urquhart as a very new lawyer to present on a construction law issue at a CLEBC course he was organizing. I was flattered and intimidated. Flattered that he thought I knew anything about the topic; intimidated because it involved presenting to knowledgeable lawyers. I found that after doing it, I enjoyed the experience and continued.
What are you are currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
I continue to chair the Insurance Law Conference on an annual basis including the one this coming September. The challenge is to keep the conference topical, but what might surprise many people is how insurance law changes and grows. There is never a shortage of topics.
What has been your most memorable CLEBC experience?
Nothing particular stands out, but the challenge of keeping an audience interested in a discussion about a policy exclusion clause on a sunny Friday afternoon is up there. I also cannot overlook the opportunities to have lunch with CLEBC’s Raymond Lee.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work with Mr. Justice W.J. “Bae” Wallace before he went to the bench. His approach was “minimalist” in case presentation at trial, particularly as defence counsel. Since every witness you put on the stand has the potential to destroy your case, his advice was to try to make as much of the defence case during cross-examination of the plaintiff’s witnesses as possible. This technique is truly an effective tool if you can do it.
What advice would you give newcomers interested in working in the legal profession?
Keep in mind that it is a “profession” and not a job. If it becomes a job, quit and do something else.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
Three things. Firstly, I have been part of starting and growing two law firms with very accomplished and talented people. Despite ups and downs, that experience has been rewarding. Secondly, I have been lucky to be part of the Law Society Hearing Panel Pool and sit on disciplinary/credentials matters. This has given me insight into the profession, but perhaps more importantly, exposure to a decision-making process that affects the lives of others. Thirdly, I have become involved with Lawyers Without Borders. I have acted as an Independent Neutral Trial Observer in Namibia and more recently, I have also become involved in teaching advocacy skills in Kenya to magistrates, prosecutors, and wildlife officers charged with reducing elephant and rhino poaching. My involvement with Lawyers Without Borders has allowed me to acquire valuable skills which are transferrable to my practice here in Vancouver.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
I think my career has been a good choice for me. It hasn’t left much room for other things. As I see my career coming closer to the end, I take pleasure in watching young lawyers “get it”. Sometimes “it” is illusive and the business of law takes away the importance of being a lawyer.
What are some of your favourite legal resources? (blogs, websites, etc.)
Being technologically challenged, I find that my best and most frequently used legal resources are partners, associates, and articled students in our firm. A simple email elicits answers. I have been very lucky during my career to have worked with people who are very bright and made me look good.
Anything you’d like to shamelessly promote?
The pro bono program at the Court of Appeal is great experience for young lawyers. The need for pro bono services is self-evident and the type of problems for which assistance is required is extremely diverse.