MFG Tribute to Hon. Patrick Rousseau, OJ
At any time when the history of the law firm of Myers, Fletcher & Gordon is being written, reference will be made first, of course, to the firm’s three Founding Partners: Frank Myers, Douglas Fletcher and W.S. K. Gordon. The name which will be called next is that of Pat Rousseau. It was Pat’s vision and energy which were largely responsible for transforming the firm in the 1960’s and for helping it to become the largest and most respected law firm in Jamaica and the great Jamaican institution which it is today.
Pat started his association with MFG in 1956, having been articled before to Harry Randall and then employed to the Kaiser Bauxite Company. He was made Partner in 1963 and served as Managing Partner of the firm from 1964 to 1974. He remained a Partner up to 1999 and was a Consultant at the firm until the date of his death.
He was able to make the great impact on the firm which he did partly because of the relationship which he shared with the Founding Partners who spotted his talents early in the day. He recognized and valued the friendship and loyalty which bonded them together and reflected those same qualities as he developed as an Attorney. He was devoted to MFG and for over 60 years displayed steadfast loyalty and a deep love for the firm.
There was one important bond which he shared with the Founding Partners and which was an integral part of his core- a deep sense of patriotism and the belief that attorneys should be rich in giving public service and in giving back to their country. In the time following Pat’s passing, the tributes to him all speak to this profound belief which was held by him and which was demonstrated in his role in various aspects of national development. Apart from law, he was involved at the highest levels in politics, land development, the bauxite industry, horse-racing, cricket, broadcasting and insurance. Pat was a true nation-builder.
Pat used his legal knowledge as a springboard for the furtherance of the expansion of MFG and his aspirations for Jamaica in the wider world.
This need for Jamaicans to give public service is a treasured part of the culture of MFG and recognition is given to Pat as one of its chief designers.
Indeed, due honor needs to be paid to Pat for the role he played in creating so many of the positive aspects of the culture of the firm which he built and loved so unreservedly.
Pat was known to be a man of unquestioned integrity and honesty. He believed that those qualities were the hallmarks and the foundations of an Attorney’s relationship with his client.
He believed in providing his clients with the best quality of service possible and insisted that Attorneys who worked with him do the same. With his acumen, business knowledge and eye for detail, he was never just a lawyer to his client; he was their lawyer, trusted business adviser and confidante.
Pat exhibited amazing strength of character and people skills. You could always push his door for advice or a chat and he was never too busy. He was always willing to give sound advice about life or law to the younger Attorneys and this advice was often life-changing. He served as mentor to many young professionals in law, business and accounting.
He showed no prejudice but showed respect for people regardless of class, color or creed. He welcomed to the firm female Attorneys and female Partners at a time when this was still novel. There are many Attorneys - both in and outside of MFG-who speak of his kindness to them as they started their careers.
Pat was never pressured by society or his contemporaries: he did not smoke or drink in the “Mad Men” era when both were common. He never followed the crowd.
Pat had a great and abiding love for the arts - dance, the visual arts and architecture-and supported many young artists as they started out. He was responsible the building-up by MFG of its impressive art collection which started in the 1960’s/70’s and which it has to this day. He was also responsible for inculcating a love for the arts in many MFG Attorneys and for influencing them in the development of their own collections.
Being the true visionary that he was, Pat was instrumental in the firm’s establishment of its B.V.I. and London offices. He was largely responsible for MFG moving into a modern 5-storey building at 21 East Street at a time when Jamaican law firms did not do that. Even years later, Pat brought back to the firm his observations about how First World law firms operated: for example, lawyers met with clients in designated meeting rooms and not in their offices; and individual Attorney office sizes were getting smaller for the sake of the efficient use of space. It is no accident that the firm has honored Pat by having its largest conference/meeting room named after him.
Pat was a great lawyer; a great Jamaican; and a man ahead of his time.