When I recently heard the news of the passing of Roy Heenan I took a walk down memory lane (Roy Heenan remembered as ‘brilliant jurist’ and ‘big personality’). Mr. Heenan was of course a leader in Canadian labour and employment law, a founding partner with Peter Blaikie of Heenan Blaikie LLP and a larger than life personality. On a personal level, he was instrumental in my decision to enter law school and become a labour lawyer.
I met Mr. Heenan in 1988 at McGill University when I was in my final year in the Industrial Relations program. Mr. Heenan was teaching the Labour Law course and I had the good fortune of having to take that class. I doubt I would have taken the class if it were not required as part of the program - partly because I had very little exposure to law, didn’t know any lawyers and really had no interest in pursuing a career in law.
That all changed under Mr. Heenan’s teaching. I struggled in this course - more than in any other to that point. But in the struggle I learned a lot, and I had many occasions to speak with Mr. Heenan who was always patient, understanding and giving of his time and knowledge. By the end of the course, I decided to apply to law school having achieved an A in the class (no one was more surprised than I was) and the rest is history.
It’s been decades since I spoke with Mr. Heenan and he certainly would not have remembered me, but he certainly had a profound impact on my career and I am thankful and grateful for having met him. I would be remiss if I didn’t write something here to express my thanks. My sincere condolences to Mr. Heenan's family.