The Benchers and staff at the Law Society were saddened to learn of the passing of long-serving Lay Bencher Mike Falkins on April 23 after a long battle with cancer.
“Mike was truly dedicated to his work as a Lay Bencher and his expertise in insurance matters was a huge asset to the Law Society,” said President Anna Fung, QC. “He will be sorely missed by all of us who had the good fortune to work with and get to know him.”
First appointed a Lay Bencher in 2002 and reappointed two times, Mike was a member of the Practice Standards Committee for all five years and was a member of the Special Compensation Fund Committee for four years, serving as vice-chair since 2005. He also spent two years on the Executive Committee and served on several other committees and task forces.
Mike was born in 1935 and developed successful insurance brokerages in Cranbrook and Fort Nelson before moving to Victoria. There, he established an insurance business that eventually became part of Aon Reed Stenhouse, where he became senior vice-president.
He also served a number of other professional and community organizations, including as a director and past president of the Victoria Insurance Agents Association, as a member of the executive committee of the Insurance Brokers Association of BC, as a director of the British Columbia Systems Corporation and the Greater Victoria Library board and as a director and campaign chair for the United Way in Victoria.
Speaking to more than 150 guests at Mike’s memorial service held at Victoria’s Union Club, Law Society Vice-president John Hunter, QC praised Mike’s work as a Lay Bencher. “I don’t know if being a Lay Bencher would be everyone’s choice for their retirement years, but I can tell you it was most appreciated by those of us who have a particular concern that our legal profession function in a way that meets the public interest mandate of the Law Society.”
Hunter also praised Mike’s knowledge of the insurance business and the interest he took in the Lawyers Insurance Fund.
Mike continued to be active in Law Society affairs even while undergoing extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He commuted regularly from Victoria and rarely missed a meeting. He was also a keen golfer who took great pride in organizing a small tournament each year for the Benchers at their policy retreat. At the March 2 Benchers meeting — the last he was able to attend — Mike volunteered once again to organize the tournament. The Benchers had hoped to have one more retreat with Mike, but it was not to be. The golf tournament will, however, now be known as the “Mike Falkins Memorial Golf Tournament.”
“Mike contributed a great deal to the work of the Law Society,” Hunter said at the memorial service. “I hope he took some pleasure in the work, for it was an honour and a pleasure for all of us to have known him and called him our friend.”