“It’s amazing what small things you can do that make such a big deal for people. For me, it’s just a way of giving back and it’s rewarding to make a difference in people’s lives.”
lawyer, The Genesis Law Group
Award: Above & Beyond
Nominated by: Kerry James, KJ Way Consulting
Award Sponsor: Oak Bay Beach Hotel and Outsite Indesign
Above & Beyond
“Every now and then we are blessed by one special person who would never think that what she does is anything other than ‘doing the right thing for the person who can’t do it on their own.’ This very special person is Jacqueline Horton.”
So begins Kerry James’ nomination of Jacqueline Horton, a lawyer with The Genesis Law Group and the winner of this year’s Black Press Women in Business Above and Beyond Award.
“I feel quite humbled by it and quite moved. For me, the work that I do is just part of who I am,” says Horton, a Cadboro Bay resident, animal and book lover, wife and mom to a 21-year-old daughter at the University of Victoria.
Before opening her law firm in 2004, Horton was a midwife and nurse for about 15 years, and the compassion characteristic of these careers is evident in her approach to the law.
When one elderly client whose family lived out of town needed assistance, Horton soon adopted a weekly routine to check in on her, often stopping to pick up a few groceries. “More and more often, when she knew she was lonely, she would stay and have dinner with her or take her out.”
Through that relationship, she learned the woman was suffering from elder abuse, and having her medical needs neglected. “Through due process, she went to the courts and was able to gain guardianship of this woman so she could be properly cared for...The judge said Jacquie may very well have saved this woman’s life,” James relates.
Another time, when an elderly man died and his family wanted his ashes spread near his birthplace in England’s Lake District, Horton made this part of her family trip home, taking pictures and bringing them back to the family. “How many of us could or would go to this length for our clients?” James asks.
Managing a broad legal practice for about 12 years now, over time Horton has developed a keen interest in the emerging area of elder law.
“Dealing with the elderly, especially the frail, it really needs a different skill set,” she reflects. Met with patience, a listening ear and gentleness, people will share their stories – and often their life stories. “It’s remarkable what they have been through. They have such amazing stories, but they are really vulnerable.
“It’s not trendy to take an interest in the elderly (and) they get forgotten,” Horton says. “It’s amazing what small things you can do that make such a big deal for people. For me, it’s just a way of giving back and it’s rewarding to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Also a long-time member of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association – including 10 years on its Board of Directors – “Jacquie is an inspiration and a great role model for our community,” James notes in concluding her nomination. “She’s a hero to many...I’m just acting as their voice.”