Monica Lamb-Yorski photo. Lawyer Bill Herdy with a card he received during a celebration held on June 30, marking the 50th anniversary of his being called to the Bar. The card came from retired lawyer Mike Barbour and his wife Donna-Lee and had the caption “paddle your own canoe,” which Herdy said sums up how he has approached his career.

Smart 55: Celebrating 50 years of law practice

Williams Lake lawyer Bill Herdy, 76, does not plan to retire any time soon

It has been 50 years since lawyer Bill Herdy was called to the Bar yet he says he does not plan to retire anytime soon.

On June 30 the 76 year old celebrated the milestone at a surprise luncheon held at Alley Katz restaurant across from the court house in Williams Lake.

Holding up a card he received from Mike and Donna-Lee Barbour Herdy said it summed up his career.

“It says, ‘always paddle your own canoe,’ and I think that pretty well sets up the approach I’ve taken to practice law and most problems in life,” he said. “It has always been a pleasure to practice law. To quote Victor Borge to some extent, when he was given accolades for his long years as a comedian, he said he’d like to thank his parents genetically because they were tough people for making it possible and he would like to thank his children for making it necessary.”

Fellow lawyer Tony Zipp toasted Herdy, praising him for his remarkable achievement at serving the B.C. Bar for 50 years.

Zipp said Herdy grew up in Winnipeg where he received an engineering degree from the University of Manitoba.

“In the Winnipeg Free Press in 1963 there’s an article honouring engineering student William John Herdy for a paper he presented,” Zipp said. “Not withstanding that success, Bill decided to go to law school at Osgoode Hall and got his law degree.”

He began his career in Vancouver and then went to Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and then back to the Lower Mainland where he became involved with a variety of law practices, including Crown Counsel in a number of jurisdictions spanning from Richmond to Hope.

“I came across Bill doing a sexual assault case in Chilliwack, he was by far one of the fairest Crown I ever dealt with,” Zipp said.

Gary Wool, now a lawyer with Crown Counsel in Yellowknife, NT, thanked Herdy for being one of his mentors when he was articling in Williams Lake.

“Often I ask myself, ‘what would Bill do?” and it becomes easier,” Wool said.

Herdy said he is in favour of a First Nations Court being established in Williams Lake.

“The First Nations situation that has to be tackled head on and in my opinion we need a special court do it,” he said.

Herdy and his wife Debbie Irvine moved to Springhouse in 2007 where they have a small farm that fronts onto Boitanio Lake.

Herdy began doing ad-hoc work for Crown Counsel in the Cariboo, travelling to Quesnel and Prince George, as well as doing work in Williams Lake.

By 2008, he opened his own practice, and has been busy with it ever since, mostly with legal aid.

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