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"McSO" 2005 Obituary


MCSORLEY 

McSORLEY o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-10-06 published
McLEOD, Prof. James Gary (1947-2005)
Affectionately known as "Jay" to his family, colleagues and Friends Professor James G. McLEOD, husband, father, grandfather, law professor, author, lecturer and raconteur died suddenly at his home on Tuesday, October 4th, 2005 at age 57.
Jay will be profoundly missed by his wife, Margaret McSORLEY his children James and Masako McLEOD, Kathleen and Michael KONOPKA, Michael McLEOD, Erin and Trevor TRAINOR and Ian WEISS; his grandchildren Neil, Kaede, Dailey and Alicia; his mother Pauline McLEOD; his siblings Randy and Cyndy McLEOD, Jacqueline and Joe ZORZI and Scott and Laurie McLEOD.
Jay was predeceased by his father Jack and brother Donald.
Professor McLEOD graduated with his LLB from the University of Western Ontario in 1971 and an LLM from the University of London, England in 1972. He was called to the Bar in 1974 and taught a variety of courses at the U.W.O.'s Law School and the Ivey School of Business. He presently holds the position of associate dean (administration). Jay's lectures were legendary amongst students, lawyers and judges for their insight, clarity and humor. A leading expert in Canadian Family Law, Jay is the author and/or editor of the leading family law publications in Canada, he has also acted as consultant to the Canadian Bar Association as well as the provincial and federal governments on family law issues. His works have been cited with approval by every Court in the country including many times by the Supreme Court of Canada. When it came to family law, Jay was the conscience of the country by not shying away from challenging Court decisions when they did not meet his high standards for logic and consistency. He was a giant in the legal profession and the country is a great deal poorer as a result of his passing. Jay almost single handedly made the practice of family law in Ontario respectable. His contribution to the development of family law in Canada was surpassed only by the esteem in which he was held by his colleagues and judiciary and the reverence of his students. In life Jay made us laugh. In death we mourn his memory.
Friends are invited to share their memories of Jay with his family at the Edward R. Good Funeral Home, 171 King St. S., Waterloo, on Thursday from 7-9 and on Friday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. The funeral service to celebrate Jay's life will be held at Saint John's Lutheran Church, 22 Willow Street, Waterloo on Saturday, October 8, 2005 at 11 a.m. Cremation will take place. A reception will follow the service in the fellowship hall of the church.
In memory of Jay, and in lieu of flowers, donations to Foundation Western (J.G. Mcleod Memorial Fund) c/o Foundation Western, Alumni Hall, Rm 11, University of Western Ontario N6A 5B9 would be appreciated and can be arranged through the funeral home.
Condolences/Donations www.edwardrgood.com 519-745-8445

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McSORLEY o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-11-15 published
James McLEOD, Writer, Lawyer And Teacher (1947-2005)
University of Western Ontario professor who was regarded as 'the conscience of the family law bar and judiciary in Canada' was misunderstood as a sexist reactionary
By Ron CSILLAG, Special to The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, November 15, 2005, Page S9
Toronto -- It's no small feat to be compared in one's lifetime to libertarian journalist H.L. Mencken and right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh. James McLEOD just sought to make the world a better place but, on at least one occasion, was adjudged to have done the opposite.
A prolific writer, editor, appellate lawyer and professor at the University of Western Ontario's law school for 33 years, Prof. McLEOD was remembered by colleagues as Canada's pre-eminent barrister and scholar of family law. Those close to him recall a frighteningly encyclopedic knowledge that could be summoned in an instant, with clarity, accuracy and wit. His mastery of family law was so prodigious and widely known that a judge once openly wondered whether Prof. McLEOD slept with a dictaphone.
Known to Friends as Jay and to family members as Gary (his middle name,) Prof. McLEOD's name was virtually synonymous with Canadian family law and all its arcana. As editor-in-chief of Reports of Family Law for 27 years, he screened tens of thousands of cases -- virtually every written family law ruling in the country.
And as author of more than 1,000 case commentaries (known as annotations), he helped shape and develop important legal concepts. Those annotations were the stuff of legend; while highly regarded, they were not always flattering.
"Much as a producer of a new Broadway play waits anxiously to read the reviews by the critics the next morning, judges were always apprehensive about what Prof. McLEOD might think of their decision and whether they would pass his rigorous standards," wrote long-time colleague, co-author and self-described tag-team partner, London, Ontario, lawyer Alfred MAMO, whose firm Prof. McLEOD had joined for 17 years to write opinions and handle appeals.
One tribute to Prof. McLEOD's "phenomenal" stature in family law is the fact that his writings have been quoted with approval by virtually every court in the land with jurisdiction in family law, and on numerous occasions by the Supreme Court of Canada, Mr. MAMO said. "To a large degree," he added, "Jay was the conscience of the family law bar and judiciary in Canada," and his comments were "the gold standard" for legal analysis in family law.
Sometimes, his parsing of a case was longer than the case itself. Toronto family lawyer Harold NIMAN, a long-time friend whose daily e-mail exchange with Prof. McLEOD would begin at 5: 30 a.m., recalls a court ruling this year on whether a set time a child spends with one parent should be calculated in hours or days. The decision was contained in half a page. Prof. McLEOD's annotation ran for four pages "as he analyzed in his Einstein-like way the abstruse existential territory of time-space and relativity, and whether sleeping and being in school qualified" as time spent with a parent.
Prof. McLEOD was "often like a dog with a bone when it came to a legal issue.... He was without a doubt the most energetic and entertaining speaker I have ever heard. He could pack more into a lecture than any person I have heard or seen. I was so exhausted after hearing him speak that I often needed to have a nap," said Mr. NIMAN, whose firm Prof. McLEOD joined as counsel in 2003. "Jay was the H.L. Mencken of family law."
He was able to reduce the most intricate and forbidding legal case to its "barest human essentials," wrote University of Western Ontario colleague Rande KOSTAL in the student newspaper Nexus. "He regarded the law as a way -- an imperfect way -- of imposing some rational order on the unruly tragicomedy of everyday life. And he strove, with legendary success, to be the funniest man on the funniest subject of them all: the rituals of human love, marriage and parenthood."
To others, he wasn't always so funny.
In the late 1980s and early '90s, Prof. McLEOD championed the "causal connection" theory of spousal support, which posited that a person shouldn't be obliged to support an ex-spouse unless the marriage "caused" or contributed to the ex's need for support. His theory was promptly attacked as reactionary and sexist; according to a 2000 profile in Lawyer's Weekly, he was once introduced at a conference as "family law's answer to Rush Limbaugh." (He was also reportedly pelted with buns at a dinner.) A band of family law practitioners even wrote and performed a protest song, The Ballad of Jay McLeod.
A 1992 Supreme Court of Canada decision put an end to the theory and, although Prof. McLEOD later said he regretted that it had been used to hurt long-term spouses (almost always middle-aged women), he defended it: "All the causal connection theory said was, 'You come into marriage as individuals. You leave marriage as individuals. And you shouldn't have a right to support from the other person unless somehow the circumstances that cause you to need money are somehow related to the relationship," he said in the Lawyer's Weekly piece. "That was it."
Born to a full-time homemaker and a labourer who had served in the wartime Canadian navy, he was the oldest of five siblings and the first member of his family to attend university. And he did so with a vengeance. After two years as an undergraduate at Western Ontario, he enrolled in law school (because there was "no market for Robin Hood," he would later quip), and placed first in each year, going on to win the Gold Medal by a wide margin in 1971. He earned a master's degree in law at the University of London in 1972, the year he joined University of Western Ontario's faculty to teach corporate and commercial subjects, and two years before his call to the Ontario bar.
In 1978, he was invited to annotate and edit the Reports of Family Law, and he never looked back. "Once I got going in the area and started to write these things, all of a sudden it dawns on you, 'My God, in three pages you can have a lot of fun saying this stuff,' " he recalled. "It took on a life of its own. The annotations basically built and created me."
He went on to edit other legal publications, including those on child custody and matrimonial property. Many lawyers eagerly awaited his pithy and popular weekly on-line newsletter, This Week in Family Law. When he died, he was the University of Western Ontario law school's associate dean for administration and a respected teacher at the university's Ivey School of Business.
While taking one of Prof. McLEOD's third-year classes, an older student, a single mother of two, turned to her friend and wondered, "Is he always such a jerk?"
The word became a "term of endearment," chuckles Margaret McSORLEY, who married her professor in 1981. Years later, the two legalists found themselves on opposite sides of a case, he representing the wife, she the husband. They soon negotiated an agreement.
"He talked a mile a minute and would always make you laugh," says Ms. McSORLEY, a family lawyer who was named a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice in 2003. "But what a stickler."
Indeed, Prof. McLEOD was a long-time proponent of rigour in family law. "We are law, too, and I want it treated that way," he said. Even the Supreme Court of Canada was criticized for laxness. "I think this court is a discretion court and that hides a multitude of sins," he said five years ago. "I don't like undisciplined power or uncontrolled power. I like rules. I like some form of clearly structured discretion."
He helped set some of those rules, winning important cases before the Ontario Court of Appeal, including Elliot v. Elliot, which set a precedent on compensatory support in the province.
He didn't relax much, apparently. Some golf, maybe an old movie. Mostly, he worked. He wanted to make a mark. "I'd hate to think that I would go through life and was nothing but average as I did it," he told Lawyer's Weekly. "So I have got an opportunity doing this stuff, and I try to use it."
James Gary McLEOD was born in Guelph, Ontario, on November 29, 1947, and died in New Hamburg, Ontario, on October 4, 2005, of a heart attack. He was 57. He leaves his mother, Pauline McLEOD, his wife, Margaret McSORLEY, five children and four grandchildren.

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