BC’s oldest lawyer, celebrating 100th birthday, continues to practice in Victoria

BC's oldest lawyer, celebrating 100th birthday, continues to practice in Victoria
CHEK
WatchA Victoria woman is celebrating her 100th birthday and is still working as a lawyer. Constance Isherwood says she has no plans to retire.

Constance Isherwood sits down to her trusty typewriter in her Victoria heritage building office and gets to work.

After nearly seven decades as a lawyer, and as she prepares to celebrate her 100th birthday Sunday, Isherwood says she can get things done without a computer or smart phone.

“You get so many phone calls during the day that I’m always glad to be rid of the phone and I thought if I carried one I’d be asking for it to continue,” said the 99-year-old.

It was the 1940’s when a young Constance Holmes, working as a secretary at a law firm, gave up her dreams of being in a band and headed off to law school.

“Once I got into it there was no turning back,” she said.

It’s where she met her late husband, Foster Isherwood, and in a few years they set up a law practice together in Victoria: Holmes and Isherwood.

They mostly focused on estate and family law and Constance finds the work fascinating.

“No two clients are alike, some are very happy, some are very sad, some are very angry, some are ready to sue somebody, so you just have to take it as it comes and do the best you can,” she said.

And her clients know a good lawyer when they see one, so many families have stuck with her through generations.

“I have had some who say I never knew my grandfather, and I say well I knew your grandfather and they say well tell me about him,” she laughed.

Still armed with pencil and paper, a day timer, and loads of file folders, Isherwood says she’s just never found the time to retire.

“60 seemed to be quite young, and 70 seemed to fly by, 80, and just carried on,” she said.

Isherwood’s family says it’s a mystery, how their mother, born in 1920, still works every afternoon, five days a week, with no signs of slowing down.

“I think it’s the rules she follows always keep smiling, always keep working and always keep breathing,” said Charles Isherwood, who is helping his mom in the office.

While she still enjoys music in her spare time, Isherwood says she also finds purpose, and friendship, through her work.

“There’s no greater gift we can give to one another than the wonderful gift of friendship,” she said.

Isherwood will have a party with friends and family on Saturday, January 18 and officially turns 100 on Sunday.

 

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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