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Another devastating loss

January 27, 2021

It is with very heavy hearts we announce that we have lost another cherished colleague, Jim McDonald, who died suddenly on Tuesday evening.

Jim has been a central figure in our firm for almost 40 years. We are stunned by his sudden loss, which has come so soon after the tragic loss of Derrick McIntosh.

Photo of / Photo de Jim McDonaldJim first came to the firm on a temporary basis to complete a special project for one of our clients. But his talent and collegiality were apparent from the start, and so he stayed on to handle the firm’s employment litigation, labour injunctions and related civil needs. He also quickly became an indispensable part of the labour practice, representing trade unions and their members across all sectors and industries.

Nobody worked harder than Jim. He not only deftly managed dozens of his own employment and labour files, but he was the go-to person for other lawyers who needed advice on a file or wanted to brainstorm about a case. His mentoring skills, generously shared with successive generations of law students and associates, were legendary. Jim was also a sounding board for senior lawyers – we all returned to Jim’s office time and time again, to benefit from his judgment, strategic acumen, and insight on all kinds of legal issues.

Jim was a highly respected member of the broader legal community. He conducted himself with grace and professionalism at all times. His integrity, his moral compass and sense of fairness, and his basic decency were obvious to everyone. He treated all of the participants in the litigation process with respect, no matter their role and no matter how adversarial that process might become. Clients appreciated Jim’s clear, no-nonsense advice, his skill in litigating a case, his kindness, and his dry sense of humour.

But Jim was more than just a lawyer. He was an avid hockey player and sports fan, and a keen outdoorsman who went canoe camping with friends every summer. He especially loved travelling and spending time at his cottage in Sugarbush with his spouse, Maureen, and their daughters, Tania and Jesse.

Jim’s quiet generosity extended beyond his colleagues in the firm. Jim and Maureen have opened their home to others, including young people from across the country and around the world. After Goldblatt Partners sponsored a family of Syrian refugees in 2015, Jim and Maureen would take the three children – girls then-aged 3, 5 and 7 – to reading classes every Wednesday night at the Nelson Mandela Park Public School. When one of the girls first visited the firm, she immediately asked “Where’s Jim?!” and then ran down the hallway to his office. His office door, as always, was open.

Most of all, Jim was devoted to Maureen, Tania and Jesse. Our hearts are broken for them, and for everyone who knew and loved him. We have lost a wonderful friend, colleague and mentor, and we will miss him deeply.

Those who knew and loved Jim may want to attend his virtual memorial on February 20 at 1 p.m.

Photo of Jim and family

Jim, his wife Maureen, Jesse, Tania, Jim’s long-time assistant Sharon, and other family members celebrate Jim receiving the Randall Echlin Mentorship Award in the fall of 2019.