In Memoriam: James "Jim" P. Taylor, Q.C.

Message from Catherine Dauvergne, Dean and Professor, Allard School of Law

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of James "Jim" P. Taylor, Q.C. on October 16, 2016.  The message below was developed in consultation with Jim’s family and colleagues and will be issued shortly to our alumni and the broader UBC community.


Jim was well known in the UBC community and far beyond. He started his association with UBC as a history student but discontinued his B.A. studies after 3 years to enroll in the law school, where he earned his LL.B. in 1968. He returned to UBC in 1974 as a faculty member, where he had a meteoric career, becoming tenured in only his 3rd year and promoted to the rank of full professor in 1979.
In addition to a truly outstanding record as a scholar, Jim distinguished himself as a lawyer. His name is familiar to all British Columbia litigators, as he co-authored with now-Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin the litigators' bible that is formally titled "British Columbia Practice" but more commonly referred to as "McLachlin & Taylor". He served as the Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Justice for the Province of Saskatchewan, as a partner and the head of litigation for national law firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon, and as a founding partner of his own successful law firm, which recently merged with Harris & Company. He was recognized with awards and accolades from the Canadian Bar Association and other groups and was appointed as Queen's Counsel in recognition of his leadership and contributions to the profession.
Jim was also extremely active in the community. He worked closely with UBC to establish the University Neighbourhoods Association and a representative model for providing municipal-like services to the burgeoning University Town community. He was the first Chair of the UNA and worked unflaggingly to establish a strong foundation for a community that now numbers over 11,000 residents. He was a prototypical civic leader and, in many ways, was the "mayor" of University Town. In recognition of his civic leadership, UBC dedicated a park in Hawthorn Place in his name in 2009. Jim was also awarded a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Medal in 2012. Jim was a lifelong supporter of UBC, actively engaging with his fellow alumni and contributing his time, talent, and money. Despite his contributions and accomplishments, he was a modest man and his gifts, often substantial, were usually made anonymously or in honour of other members of the UBC community.
As many of you know, Jim had close ties to the law school.  In addition to being a student, professor and adjunct with us; Jim was a generous donor and also led fundraising efforts in support of various initiatives at the law school.  Jim played an important role in establishing our Faculty Scholar award, which has been annually funded first by Taylor Jordan Chafetz and more recently by Harris & Co – it recognizes the work of a faculty member who goes above and beyond in their service to the faculty and the university, a fitting reflection of Jim’s own ethic.  Jim worked tirelessly to inspire his classmates to contribute to The Class of 1968 Alumni Scholar Fund, The Class of 1968  Bursary Fund, and The Class of 1968 Group Study Room as part of the building project.  He also led fundraising efforts to establish The Beverley McLachlin Legal Access Award endowment.  Jim’s commitment to the law school’s faculty and students was truly remarkable and will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Jim was a beloved member of the UBC community. His kindness, generosity, and intellect touched the lives of countless people. He will be sorely missed by his former students, his fellow faculty members, his colleagues in the legal profession, and the many other communities that were fortunate to have counted him as a member. 
In memory of Jim and the many contributions he has made to UBC and to the broader world, UBC will lower the British Columbia Flag located at Main Mall and Agronomy Road on Thursday, October 20, 2016.  I should note that the flag is also being lowered on this day in memory of Professor Emeritus John C. Brown, FRSC.  Please visit the Ceremonies and Events website to learn more about Professor Emeritus Brown:
A profile of Jim is available on the Allard School of Law History Project website. This includes a written profile as well as an interview.  I am pleased that Jim’s many contributions have been documented and thus forever woven into the law school’s rich history, please see:
Jim’s family is planning a celebration of his life in the very near future. When information about the event is available, it will be posted here:

Warm regards,