Ninety-six-year-old Constance Isherwood is the oldest practicing lawyer in the province and will be the recipient of the lifetime achievement award from the Law Society of B.C next month.

Ninety-six-year-old Constance Isherwood is the oldest practicing lawyer in the province and will be the recipient of the lifetime achievement award from the Law Society of B.C next month.

Victoria lawyer wins lifetime achievement award

When Constance Isherwood enrolled in law school, she never dreamed she would be practicing law for as long as she has.

When Constance Isherwood enrolled in law school at the University of British Columbia, she never dreamed she would be practicing law for as long as she has.

But even now, the 96-year-old, who is the oldest practicing lawyer in the province, is still hard at work, completing cases for clients — more than 60 years later.

“I enjoy meeting clients because that’s the engaging thing about law. No two clients are the same, they never have the same problem,” said Isherwood, adding she’s helped many generations of clients from grandparents to their children over the years. “It’s just working with them (clients) that keeps it interesting.”

Isherwood’s career began just after high school. During school, she learned how to type and do short hand, and after graduating, thought it would be easy to find a job as a secretary. However, employment was low in the 1930s, making it difficult for her to find a job.

She worked as a clerk in stores selling hats and clothing before eventually finding a job as a secretary at a local firm working with lawyer Ernest Tait in downtown Victoria.

As time progressed, Isherwood quickly caught onto the business and Tait convinced her to go back to school to study law.

Shortly after, she enrolled in what was then known as Victoria College before transferring to UBC. It was here that she would also meet her husband, Foster Isherwood.

After graduating from UBC in 1951, where she was one of only six women in a class of 200, Isherwood returned to the Victoria firm as a lawyer and was named a partner, handling civil cases mostly involving titles, mortgages, land, easements, wills and estates.

Since then, Isherwood hasn’t slowed down. She has combined firms with her husband, which is known as Holmes and Isherwood, still in operation today. She begins with paperwork in the morning from her home in Otter Point near Sooke before she makes the roughly one-hour drive to the office on Fort Street to meet with clients.

From time to time, Isherwood admits she’s thought about retiring, but things keep popping up.

“People say ‘well you can’t retire until we get this case finished or we’ve got this will completed’,” she said. “There’s always something else you haven’t quite finished that you want to get done, so you just keep going.”

The accolades have begun to pour in for the mother of two adopted sons. Last year, Isherwood received an honorary doctorate from UBC. Next month, she will be the first female recipient of the lifetime achievement award from the Law Society of B.C. — something she called very special.

When asked about advice for up and coming lawyers hoping to get into the field, Isherwood said be approachable.

“Let your clients feel that they can come and talk things over and feel at ease and then they will go away feeling much more comfortable,” Isherwood said.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

Zahra Rayani-Kanji of Heart Pharmacy, Sidney Pharmacy manager James McCullough, and Naz Rayani, owner and founder of Heart Pharmacy, join sisters Becky Brigham and Judy Costanzo outside the business. Sidney Pharmacy has become the sixth Heart Pharmacy outlet in Greater Victoria after its purchase from Brigham and Costanzo. Their parents, Frances and Jim Brigham, first opened the business in 1959. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney Pharmacy changes ownership, but retains family tradition

First opened by Frances and Jim Brigham in 1959, Sidney Pharmacy is now part of Heart Pharmacy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has in the past warned of Öffnungsdiskusionorgien (translated as an orgy of discussions about openings), one of one of the 1,200 words added to the German lexicon as reported by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. (Michael Kappeler/Pool via AP)
German lexicon grows by 1,200 words, many inspired by COVID-19 pandemic

Öffnungsdiskusionorgie (orgy of discussions about openings) among new entries

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read