1) Tell us about yourself! (Current occupation, family, pets, where you reside, etc.)
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. I practiced law in large downtown Toronto firms for 40 years. I had the great fortune of working with wonderful people - clients, colleagues, staff, techies, visionaries, bureaucrats - all brilliant people. Some starting out and most wise beyond their years. I learned from them all.
After all that time, I thought it would be great to make a change, to focus on fewer clients, less billings, more entrepreneurs, even more grandchildren, much more travel and one wife. I set up my own virtual office, taking advantage of all of the amazing tools and software out there to help deliver quality service without the big back office and infrastructure. I must say I have been impressed with what has been developed to allow a sole practitioner manage a practice with little tech training and skills.
In terms of the other plans, a worldwide pandemic has the habit of interfering with a new, open and global lifestyle. Machu Picchu, South Africa, the Pacific Crest Trail, all got postponed. We will be ready when the world is ready, and safe, for us.
My family and I live in the Beaches area of Toronto, play golf, ski, cycle, babysit on demand, walk neighbours’ dogs (not yet ready to make that commitment again) and slowly restore our circle of friends. Life is great, and we are grateful everyone is healthy and safe.
2) How long have you been involved with the OBA? Why did you join?
I joined the OBA in 1981. The application was part of the articling orientation package! I attended and then began to speak at seminars and on panels. I truly believe that being a professional includes giving back, helping others make sense of different areas of law and practices.
3) What has been your most valuable experience as part of the OBA Business Law Section?
Clearly joining the OBA Business Law Executive has made me aware of the breadth and width of what the OBA can offer. I wish I had understood and taken advantage of that earlier. Since I joined the executive, I have been trying to update the presentation of programming to our diverse membership by offering it online, on-demand, at your own convenience; to eliminate the need to require all parties, presenters and participants having to be in the same place at the same time; and by creating a library of seminars and topics to be available, when and where preferred.
4) What is the best career advice that you’ve been given?
That there is something called “good enough”. It is not necessary to negotiate every detail down to the ultimate victory. At some point, you stop serving the client. Be fair, reasonable and keep things in perspective.
5) What are your interests outside of the law? (Hobbies, passions, etc.)
I had and have lots of passions, some in ascendency, others waning or even over. Photography and hockey are in the distant past. Golf, tennis and skiing have all had their day but still of some interest. Currently, I am training for the Ironman and planning for light and ultra-light hiking. The West Coast Trail was wet and tough. The John Muir trail is next on the list.
6) What’s one thing - either industry-related or not - you learned in the last month?
That the world’s total population (7.5 billion) could all fit in an area the size of the City of Los Angeles (500 square miles). And that, according to National Geographic, the world’s “most typical” person is right-handed, makes less than $12,000 per year, has a mobile phone and doesn’t have a bank account.
7) If you could have dinner with anyone on earth, who would it be?
Hmmm. Clearly, I would go with someone still living. It helps to shallow the pool and facilitates the dialogue! Barrack Obama comes immediately to mind - a cool guy with a unique perspective to the world. But then Mick Jaggar would also have amazing stories to tell, and I feels he owes me for all the tickets I have bought to the Stones. Markus Eder is an amazing daredevil - Google him. Elon Musk, if he would sit still. But I have to go with my wife, Penny, who loves good food and deserves a night out.
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