Vernon Pahl—In the Spotlight

Practice Point

Vernon Pahl—In the Spotlight

This month’s spotlight is on CLEBC contributor Vernon Pahl of Guild Yule LLP.

How did you first get involved with CLEBC?

I first became involved as a result of attending a number of CLEBC courses in the early going of my career. At some point in time I realized I should contribute where I could, given that I benefited so much from the generosity of the practitioners that presented at the courses I attended.

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

The last couple of years I have presented at CLEBC courses involving civil litigation basics for legal support staff and others relating to the topic of ethical decision-making for lawyers with Michael Kahn.

How did you decide to focus your practice in the area of civil litigation?

I more or less fell into it. I was never seduced by the popular media portrayal of being a litigator – not everyone can look that perfect! I was attracted to the complexity and human dynamics of it all. I find it very frustrating at times, but always rewarding, as you are always learning.

You played in the CFL for nine years during the 1980’s. What made you decide to then go to law school?

After toiling away on the gridiron and retiring at the tender age of 32, I then went on and finished another degree I had been working on during football, and became a high school teacher; teaching mathematics and french. I quickly learned I was not “called” to be a high school teacher.

I then became a professional sailor, ultimately serving as a second officer aboard a couple of “tall ships”. Having grown up sailing and dreaming of far-off tropical islands and exotic ports-of-call, working aboard a square-rigged vessel permitted me to sail all over the world to seek out these dreams.

However, sailing for a living is more often than not a one-way ticket to poverty. You are also away for long periods of time. After a while, even paradise gets tiring. It was time to move on and “dig in.” Having become unwittingly involved in the legalities of repatriating a crew member during one of my voyages, I thought sorting through the legalities would be a hell of lot easier if I had a legal background. The rest is history.

You have a U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s licence. What’s the story behind that?

I required a 100 ton ticket to sit as a second officer.

Other than law, what are you passionate about?

I love mucking about on my 32-foot cutter sailboat and sailing the local coastal waters of the BC coast. I am also passionately training for my first white-collar boxing match under the tutelage of the coaches at the Contenders Training Studio. Lastly (although it is a long list), I am a passionate fan of professional bull riding. This August I am off to Texas for a five day bull riding camp – where I will no doubt get a good ol’ fashioned butt-whipping by a 1600 pound bull!