The New Year brings a reorganization of my firm. Reflecting what clients want and what I most love in work, “Pan Pacific Law Corporation” has become “Pan Pacific Solutions Limited”, still “Jia He” (“excellent peace”) in Chinese. PPS will deliver TTM and professional guidance to clients in areas of strategic advice, government relations, and media/communications strategy. Operating as a consultant rather than a lawyer allows me to focus my experience in international relations, law, government, diplomacy, and communications. I can perform more nimbly and cost-effectively in the new set-up, which brings together my passion for professional excellence and public service.
Our English-language name “Pan Pacific” self-evidently stood for a firm that reached throughout the Pacific Rim. It was based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and our work typically involved Canadian law and policy, and at least one Canadian party. The name intended to go beyond the geographical and historical reach of founder, John Weston. The “Pan Pacific” name also intended to communicate our experience in working in law and public policy to unify the interests of parties that come to an issue in conflict or at least diverse perspectives, separated by business or legal positions, culture, language, country, or jurisdiction. Working with some of the most able lawyers, government officials, and subject area experts, we found common cause where others might have had no hope of doing so.
The Chinese characters in our logo were developed by a revered teacher of Chinese and an expert in Chinese literature. In creating the name, these two Chinese scholars sought to convey in the most succinct imaginable way the mission and values that John Weston brings to strategic and legal advice.
The two characters mean “Excellent Peace”. More than that, the first character is in Chinese a homonym (two different words or characters with different spellings but the same sound a sound) for the first character in the Chinese name for “Canada”. The first character thus serves double duty, connoting our Canadian roots as well as our firm’s commitment to excellence in all its work and relationships.
The second character, which means “peace”, was chosen to demonstrate the bridge-building aspirations of an international lawyer, member of the bar of three jurisdictions (British Columbia, New York, and the Law Society of England & Wales) who seeks to resolve conflicts, bringing diverse people to find common ground. Time and again, Pan Pacific has resolved conflicts, brought justice to people whose rights were aggrieved, rescued people wrongfully detained abroad, and upheld longstanding constitutional rights for people when governments overreach their authority. Operating in an Asian culture where lawyers are sometimes seen as evidence of broken relationships and lost “face", the “peace” character in the Chinese name may come across as counter-intuitive to clients and other parties. Can lawyers really be peace-makers? The Chinese characters as featured in our logo says it’s so.
The style of script is an ancient rendering of the two characters. As students of Chinese calligraphy know, such a rendering connotes a link with the past that suggests a strong base and a promising future.
Mr. Weston has experience working in many cultures and communities. He lived and worked in Asia for over a decade, where he learned Mandarin. He and his family members earned Black Belts in Korea’s national sport, Taekwondo. While M.P., he served as Canada’s first ever Government Liaison to the Canadian-Iranian Community.
In his 35-year professional career, Mr. Weston has mastered the art of negotiating, communicating and building relationships within the context of managing and resolving complex problems. While his legal background is diversified, his passion has always been a highly honed focus on advancing issues of fairness and human rights and helping others in difficult situations. The Canadian Constitution Foundation, which John founded in 2003, continues independently this commitment to fairness and human rights.
In his two terms as a Member of Parliament with numerous roles and responsibilities, he gleaned exceptional insight into the working of the Canadian Government, its systems, processes, agencies, and most importantly, its people and leaders.
John continues his public service as Founder and President of the Canadian Health and Fitness Institute, the charitable foundation whose goal is to "Make Canada the Fittest Nation on Earth by 2030" (chfi.fit). He is also an public affairs author and sought after public speaker. His 2017 book On! Achieving Excellence in Leadership was in 2020 released in Chinese and published in China.
John’s academic background includes studies at Harvard and Osgoode Hall Law School, in government, international relations, law, and languages. He is fluent in English, Mandarin, and French, and has capacity in other languages. His experience includes representing clients in cross-border conflict resolution and business negotiation, high-profile constitutional and Indigenous law matters, founding the Canadian Constitution Foundation, and advocating for families with a loved one incarcerated in another country, in Asia, Latin America, the Mideast, and Africa.
For us, Integrity means more than telling the truth. It means acting in a transparent manner that in all respects reveals our relentless loyalty to the client’s interests.
We care about our clients, fairness, justice, human rights, and best outcomes. We often end up advocating for parties requiring assistance with critical and complex problems. Often we find ourselves up against governments, organizations, and other parties that threaten our clients’ rights, safety, respect, and well-being.
If given the choice, we’ll enable a client to act for herself or himself, even if it means working ourselves out of a job. Our purpose is to make clients stronger.