Interview with Mark Ross

  • March 11, 2021
  • Mark Ross, Ross Nasseri LLP, and Farhad Shekib, Ricketts Harris LLP

Mark founded Ross Barristers, now Ross Nasseri LLP, in 2005 after his Call to the Bar. Today, Ross Nasseri LLP is a highly regarded litigation boutique, with eight lawyers practicing in real estate, shareholder, contract, estates and constructions disputes as well as regulatory proceedings.

Farhad Shekib is a litigation associate at Ricketts Harris LLP, specializing in civil/commercial litigation, employment law and D&O insurance coverage matters.

1. Why did you jump into solo practice after your Call to the Bar?

I didn’t “jump” into it. I fell into it. I didn’t have a job after articling. And I needed money to support my family.

2. What were some of your biggest challenges in your earlier years of Practice?

Handling problems you are seeing for the first time: doing an injunction for the first time, reconciling a trust account, attracting business, doing payroll and HST, or choosing software. I could go on.

3. How did you address these challenges?

I wish there was some magic to it. I pick up the phone and call someone who might have helpful information. If no one comes to mind, I Google it, but that rarely helps. Trial and error works best. There is no real substitute for figuring it out yourself.

No one knows what they are doing for the first time. No one knows all things at all times. Accepting circumstances where there is a real risk of making a mistake and having to deal with those consequences is critical. The mindset is critical. 

4. What are some common Startup Costs?

All I needed was a computer, scanner, printer, desk and filing cabinet. Then there’s the Microsoft applications, a domain, accounting software and a subscription to Westlaw or Quicklaw. I didn’t have a website at the beginning, but that was 2005; today you probably want a good website.

My first office was in a chambers; I paid about $700/month at the time. There was the benefit of a reception, a functional copy machine and a reasonably dignified boardroom. Forgetting COVID for a moment, it’s probably still the cheapest way to have the resources you need to start a practice.