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Saul Froomkin

By GERRY POSNER

Can a Jewish boy from the north end of Winnipeg find happiness in the practice of law in Bermuda? Apparently, according to Saul Froomkin, the answer is a resounding yes. And, just as assuredly, Bermuda has greatly benefitted from the presence of this Jewish Winnipegger.

 

 

 


It is, on the face of it, an odd turn of events that Saul should end up in Bermuda. Maybe it was just as much a long shot as his becoming a lawyer. Saul says that no one in his family had ever been to high school, let alone university before him. But, as a youngster, even without the influence of TV legal shows, Saul decided to become a criminal lawyer. And indeed he did. Just look at all his initials after his name. OBE, Q. C. J.P. LL.M. FCI Arb. F. S. A. L. S. They spell out a long and successful career in the practice of law.


Still, who could have predicted that, as a graduate of the University of Manitoba Law School in 1960, and as a recipient of a Master of Laws degree from the same university, in 1965, that Saul would pursue a career as a long time prosecutor in a country like Bermuda? That path began with a reply to an advertisement in the Globe and Mail in 1977. Up until that time Saul had worked as an advocate in Winnipeg from 1961-69 and later in Ottawa as a senior advisory counsell, first in civil litigation, then as the Director of Criminal Law with the Department of Justice. Thus, when he jumped on the Bermuda bandwagon, he gave up a pretty good gig.


When he arrived in Bermuda to be a prosecutor, he was quickly told he was too qualified and he was appointed as Solicitor General. Just like that. And three years later, in 1981, he was Bermuda’s first Jewish Attorney General - which he has remained for 10 years. It was in this capacity that Froomkin was responsible for bringing into the country legislation relating to money laundering, a subject about which Froomkin is a respected authority. In fact, it may well be that because of Froomkin, Bermuda has a reputation as being a place where corruption and a refuge as a tax haven and other white collar crimes have made few inroads. Froomkin also set a precedent when he was sworn into office with an Old Testament. There was no hiding by Froomkin of his Jewish roots.
Interestingly enough, what attracted Froomkin to Bermuda was in no particular order: the weather, the fishing, and just the unusual aspect of it all. And, he never has looked back. In fact, as Attorney General, he was not hesitant to apply his knowledge of Canadian law and bring it to Bermuda as in drinking and driving legislation for example. Later, when he had completed his term as Attorney General, he was appointed the chair of a task force on child abuse and in that capacity he “recommended that in respect of sexual offences-rape, indecent assault- that we adopt not only the Canadian nomenclature but also the Canadian jurisprudence, again because it worked well and there was a body of law to rely on.”


Froomkin has over 50 years at the Bar. And, by the way, the Bar to which Froomkin has been admitted to is vast. He has been a member of the Bar of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, Bermuda, Anguilla, England and Wales, and the British Virgin Islands. That, for anybody, covers a lot of ground, let alone a kid who started on Jarvis, moved to Luxton and finally landed on Rupertsland Avenue. Over those 50 plus years, Saul has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on many occasions, as well as the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as lead counsel. Moreover, Froomkin is far from finished. After his tenure with the Bermuda government was over in 1991, Saul went on to join a Bermuda law firm, MJM Limited as a partner, where he practiced for 20 years. Then, from 2012 through 2017, he became a director of BeesMont Law Limited, engaging in criminal, corporate, commercial and civil litigation, among other areas. Since February of 2018, Saul has worked and still is working in the practice of law as senior advisory counsel to Christopher E. Swan & Co.


Even though Froomkin has been away from Winnipeg a long time, he still retains his interest in Winnipeg and counts among his good friends his old time north end Winnipeg pals and buddies from his University of Manitoba Law School days. As well, though many of his law school contemporaries have retired, and despite Froomkin’s own admission that he is “surprised he has lasted this long, “ the truth is that Saul Froomkin is living and loving every minute of his life on the island of Bermuda as a lawyer.

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