Sid Tarrabain’s untimely passing in August of 2011 pre-dated the inception of Tarrabain Law by several months; however, it is equally true that but for Sid’s larger-than-life influence and the impact he had on those who worked for and with him, this firm would not exist.
At the Law Courts in Edmonton where Sid plied his trade for 25 years as one of the best trial lawyers in Alberta and indeed Canada, one can still hear his voice ringing through chambers from provincial court to the Court of Appeal. The halls of justice resonated with Sid’s presence long after his trials or hearings concluded. He was a veritable force of nature who always left a large wake – whether arguing for a client facing the loss of liberty or in a run-of-the-mill interim application for undertakings in a long-running civil suit.
It was in trial where Sid was most in his element, skillfully weaving in, through and around the myriad of unknowns that cause even senior counsel anxiety and consternation. His mind always seemed to be operating at warp speed as he cross-examined witnesses and argued points of law, all while switching gears smoothly between folksy charm, seamless eloquence and impassioned oration.
And yet, while Sid’s commitment to his client’s rights and interests was deeply personal, his disagreements with opposing counsel never were. That was not the prism through which Sid saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw him. Sid Tarrabain was the product of an age when outstanding advocacy was never a barrier to co-operation and mutual respect.
Senia Tarrabain attended Sid’s alma mater at Cardiff University before returning home to article at her brother’s law firm in 2000. Over the course of the subsequent 11 years, Senia could not help but absorb and adopt one of the cornerstones of Sid’s professional philosophy: ensuring that clients always felt understood and protected. So often faced with everyday people confronting exceptional crises, Sid was a master at knowing when and whether administering a little compassion or a little humour might dull the ache of a tormented soul.
Watching Sid finesse, charm, and eviscerate the opposition in an incredibly diverse array of cases, many of which featured levels of complexity that would dissuade other counsel from taking on the challenge, revealed important lessons about the approach required to uncover or even forge angles that others could not see, or did not recognize until Sid was already halfway home.
We may no longer have the gift of Sid Tarrabain’s inimitable warmth and incandescent brilliance, but his legacy will live on for generations; at this law firm, it is embodied by assimilation of the parallel cornerstones of the legal practice which he so cherished:
- Going above and beyond to make clients feel like they have a stalwart ally and protector in their corner;
- Going above and beyond to be that stalwart ally, by making sure no stone is left unturned in searching for solutions that advance the client’s cause.
Though it’s Sid Tarrabain’s great body of achievements we will remember, it’s his generosity and warmth we will miss. The passage of time never really heals the trauma of such a great loss. Sid’s friends, colleagues and family carry on though, because we have to; because that’s what Sid would demand, and because there’s still light from memory of our time with him to illuminate the way forward.