Inspired to help people around Golden at Ewan & McKenzie

Taking a message from To Kill a Mockingbird and making it into a career for local lawyers.

For more than 25 years the people in Golden have been served in many different ways by local lawyer Glen Ewan.

Ewan & McKenzie has been a great partnership between Ewan and Bruce McKenzie who have worked hard to help local people. Ewan started working in Golden in 1978 to help out the only lawyer in Golden at the time.

“After three weeks we realized that this was the place to be. People were friendly and warm. They were helpful and we have made it our home ever since,” Ewan said.

When the lawyer he was working with decided to leave the town, Ewan met with candidates who might come to Golden.

“I can remember saying to McKenzie, who was the best candidate, to come to Golden and see if he would like it. He came up and loved it. On his way to the golf course he got a flat tire,” he said. “After being eaten by the mosquitoes I thought he would never stay but he said he loved it and never left.”

Making a difference in Golden is a very important part of life for Ewan and others in the firm.

“I wanted to be in a place where I thought I could make a difference in the community. Growing up I never knew any lawyers but I read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school. I said I wanted to be like Atticus Finch. To do that you can’t stay in Vancouver,” he said.

Ewan continues to this day to spread the word on the many great opportunities in small towns.

“This March I am going to the University of British Columbia to speak to the law students about small town life. I do not call it small town law practice because it is about making your life in a small town,” he said.

One area where the lawyers try to help out in the area is through their legal aid work.

“We have always done a lot of legal aid work which means you don’t get paid or you don’t get paid very much. Everyone in this law firm believes that it is a duty as lawyers to do that. I have been paid with chickens, eggs, car repairs and whatever they can do if they want to pay us,” he said. “We do whatever we have to do to help people out.”

Ewan also said that the high level of respect that people have shown him over the years has been truly amazing.

“People have been very good to us. I am astounded, as business person, how small our accounts receivables are. People pay us when they are charged by us. Most lawyers write off five to 10 per cent of the bills that they send out in a year. If we write off one per cent that’s a bad year for us,” he said. “People are very loyal to us here. They appreciate that we try to help them out and do our best for them.”

The firm also has a new lawyer who has come to work with them. Ewan said it is interesting to work and watch Keven Schecter work on cases.

“You throw you heart and mind and everything into it, and it doesn’t go your way. You can walk away heartbroken,” he said. “For a day afterwards you think, ‘what could I have done differently?’ What could I have said, and you second guess your skills. But that is how you improve.”

Ewan also wanted to pass on a special message to the people in the area.

“I would like to say thank you to the thousands of people who have made this a successful law practice. A law practice where I feel good going home every night and I can’t wait to get into the office in the morning,” he said.