I remember Joe at Law School at Western (1971-1974). His name was near the beginning of the alphabet as was mine and consequently we got close in some orientation sessions and projects.
It soon became apparent to me that Joe was a dynamo of quiet determination. Effectively crippled in both legs, he made use of those metal crutches clamped to the forearms. His many books were in the backpack. His old car was equipped with hand operated controls. He constantly had to give himself double the time to make it down the halls to make it to lectures.
Friends would hold doors and offer other assistance. Joe took it with a sincere smile and no embarrassment whatsoever. He had a good sense of humour, dry humour. His questions in class were always "thinking man's questions" but never showy. There were others who would ask extended questions simply to display what they already knew. They were the sadly competitive ones shown to poor effect in the various movies about law school.
Joe simply plugged along. It was clear that he was performing well, although I never really saw him as one of the front-runners in marks. But good-natured, diligent Joe would have his day, or rather many days.
I came across his B.C. Law Firm's profile recently. Wow!
"Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C. holds law degrees from the University of Western Ontario Law School and Harvard Law School. He spent five years as an assistant then associate professor at the University of Windsor Law School before relocating to British Columbia in 1981 where he assumed the position of senior counsel and later general counsel for the British Columbia Ministry of the Attorney General. Mr. Arvay has a busy civil litigation practice but with an emphasis on constitutional and administrative law matters. He has been involved in many constitutional cases of importance in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada. Mr. Arvay has been involved in a number of aboriginal-rights litigation cases and is also counsel on medical malpractice cases, class actions, commercial litigation and defamation.
In 2000 Joseph Arvay was the recipient of the Walter S. Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award and described by Madam Justice Michèle Rivet, President, (Canadian Section) International Commission of Jurists as “one of Canada's most tireless civil rights and human rights lawyers [who] has made an exceptional commitment to human rights in this country.” He also received the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, "Reg Robson 2005 Award" on March 31, 2005 for his long-standing work in the area of civil liberties.
Arvay Finlay distinguished itself in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2005 where Joseph Arvay was "The Most Frequently Recommended Practitioner" in the area of Public Law Litigation in both Vancouver and Victoria. Mr. Arvay was, as well, identified as "Consistently Recommended As A Leading Practitioner in British Columbia" in the areas of Aboriginal Law, Class Action Litigation and Corporate/Commercial Litigation. Joseph Arvay has been named as one of the top 100 Best lawyers in Canada in a publication of the same name for the last three years."