James Paterson Taylor, QC, LLB’68


December 5, 1943 – October 16, 2016

Jim Taylor, loving husband and father, brilliant scholar, distinguished lawyer, and beloved member of the community, passed peacefully on a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by his family. The BC Flag at UBC was lowered in his honour. He is survived by his wife, Judy, his daughters, Jennifer and Carolyn, their husbands, Sidi and Krish, and his grandchildren, Savannah, Quincy, and Sophia.

Jim studied history and law at UBC and returned as a faculty member in 1974. He had a meteoric career, becoming tenured in only his 3rd year and being promoted to the rank of full professor only two years after that.

Jim also distinguished himself as a leading lawyer. He co-authored, with now-Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, British Columbia Practice, the standard text that was the constant companion of all litigators in British Columbia. 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 co-founding partner of litigation boutique, Taylor, Jordan, Chafetz LLP.

Beyond an outstanding professional career as a scholar and as a lawyer, Jim was also an extraordinary alumnus. Throughout his life, he led friend-raising and fund-raising efforts amongst his fellow alumni and generously contributed his own time, talent, and money to an enormous range of initiatives at UBC. His commitment to UBC was truly remarkable and will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. Yet, despite his accomplishments and his contributions, he was a modest man and his gifts, often substantial, were usually made anonymously or in honour of others.

Jim’s love of family and community was evident in the enormous contributions he made to the burgeoning University Town community. He helped UBC establish the University Neighbourhoods Association, an innovative representative model for providing municipal-like services to the community. As its first chair, he 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. He organized an active multicultural program, set up initiatives to welcome and integrate new residents into the community, and even read books to children at the community centre. Jim was beloved by the community and his kindness and generosity touched the lives of countless people.

Jim’s lifetime of leadership and contributions was recognized with many awards and accolades. The Lieutenant Governor appointed him as Queen's Counsel in 1989, UBC dedicated a park in Hawthorn Place in his name in 2009, and he was awarded a Diamond Jubilee commemorative medal in 2012. He was a larger-than-life figure and, by both deed and intellect, he set an example for others to aspire to. He is sorely missed by his fellow faculty members, former students, colleagues in the legal profession and, most of all, by his family and friends.