KENNETH W. SCOTT, Q.C. On April 14, 2020, in his 89th year, Ken Scott passed away peacefully at the Golden Plough Lodge in Cobourg, Ontario. Ken Scott was the consummate lawyer, mentor and friend. Ken's legal career began at Osgoode Hall Law School, from which he graduated as a member of the Class of 1955. His life as a lawyer began when he joined Borden & Elliot in 1957. There he worked with Bill Sommerville, one of the great insurance defence counsel of his generation and Ken's close colleague. Soon, Ken became a mainstay of Borden & Elliot's stable of litigators, becoming a Partner in 1967. In 1972, he was appointed Queen's Counsel. Ken was also proud to have served as a member of the Executive Committee of Borden & Elliot in the '80s and '90s, and to have been a partner of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP from its creation as a national firm in 2000. As Ken had articled at one of Canada's major surety bonding companies, USF&G Insurance Company of Canada, it was natural for him to develop into a surety law expert, and Ken actively developed this expertise to become a leader in the field. For decades, he was recognized by both the Canadian and U.S. surety and fidelity law bars, and by industry representatives in both countries, as top counsel in Canada, a distinction he shared only with his good friend Vince O'Donnell of Lavery de Billy in Montreal. Appropriately, Ken's license plate was 'Surety.' Ken's qualities as a lawyer and a man earned him the loyalty of colleagues and clients alike. His great friend and client, John Barrans, worked with Ken over five decades, a relationship that ended only with John's death. There is a wonderful photograph of Ken and John that appeared in the Toronto Sun. It depicts them together at the first Blue Jays Home Opener at Exhibition Stadium, bundled up against the cold, snow swirling around them, hotdogs in hand, grinning - a pose that was reprised in a photo taken at the Blue Jays' 25th Opening Day. Ken practiced actively right up to his retirement from BLG. In 1997, he argued and won the Gordon Capital case before the Supreme Court of Canada, one of the leading cases in Canada on the law of rescission. This was a case where Ken set the strategy for the client in its formative phase and then saw the case through to Canada's highest court. In 1998, Ken was made one of the Founding Fellows of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers. In 2004, Ken completed his last construction trial, a major matter involving a complex claim under a Builder's Risk policy, acting for CN Rail, mere hours before his retirement. Ken Scott was a gifted strategist of complex cases; a procedural genius who won cases based upon the execution of a careful game plan, including creative procedural battles; a cross- examiner of almost unequalled tenacity; and an advocate who could explain complex arguments in simple terms. At the same time, he had a great interest in literature, baseball, art and architecture, his dogs, and he was a great story-teller with a fine sense of humour and a taste for a dry gin martini.
Published in The Globe and Mail from Apr. 17 to Apr. 21, 2020.