Jim Thistle, a lawyer who played a key role in the 1985 Atlantic Accord, died Thursday following a brief battle with Lou Gehrig's disease. 

In addition to a distinguished career in law, Thistle, 61, was a former vice-president of the provincial Liberal party

He also served as Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General for Newfoundland & Labrador. 

Jim Thistle

Jim Thistle, 61, has died after a brief battle with Lou Gehrig's disease. (McInnes Cooper)

In a statement from McInnes Cooper law firm, Thistle's battle with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) was described as "mercifully brief."

Thistle was a partner in the firm's St. John's office.

McInnes Cooper said his role in the 1985 Atlantic Accord "set the stage for development of this province's offshore oil and gas industry."

"Jim was respected both locally and nationally as a leading practitioner in public law litigation and resource development, with his immeasurable experience in energy and natural resources, aboriginal, and environmental law," the statement read. 

According to the firm, Thistle worked with every major oil and gas mining company in business with the province. He was also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. 

The statement said that Thistle was "much bigger than his law practice," citing that he adored spending time with his family, running with his dog and supporting the provincial Liberal party. 

The party, and many others, tweeted out condolences to Thistle's family Friday.

Thistle is said to have mentored "dozens of lawyers" throughout his career. 

Visitation will take place Sunday and Monday at Carnell's Funeral Home in St. John's, with a funeral service to follow on Tuesday from Gower Street United Church.