When I was called to the bar in 1982, career prospects for a new lawyer were not good. I took a series of short term contracts with the Attorney General’s Ministry. By 1985 I was entertaining thoughts of a career change and took someone’s advice and enrolled in the Diploma Program in Urban Land Economics and joined REIBC, as a student member. A year later, while working at Expo 86, I secured a junior lawyer’s position with a small firm in Langley. I also continued on with the Diploma Program, which I eventually completed in 1990.
Because of my growing interest in real estate, my early practice concentrated on residential conveyancing and mortgages. To this day, residential conveyancing remains a large part of my practice and the fundamentals learned in the Diploma Program provided a great foundation for my solicitor’s real estate practice. I enjoy my conveyancing practice because it allows me to meet and work with ordinary people in the Valley who are buying and selling their homes. Many of my friends I met originally as clients or real estate contacts.
People are surprised to learn that after practising for four years in Langley, I took a break from private practice and spent three and one-half years in a management position with the Real Estate Division.
Just over five years ago my partner, Steve Fruitman, and I formed Magellan Law Group LLP in Langley. Magellan is focussed on business law and my particular areas of practice include commercial lending, wills and estates and, of course, residential and commercial conveyancing. Steve concentrates on sophisticated corporate work (tax-based reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions), trusts and estate planning. Steve and I have been working diligently to create a “downtown firm in Langley” and we have been able to attract large corporate clients who have chosen to obtain their legal service in Langley rather than making the trek into downtown Vancouver. We started out with seven staff and are now twenty-three in number, including six lawyers and we’re looking to add three or four additional lawyers.
Building a growing and successful law firm has left little time for personal pursuits over the last five years; although I do enjoy a glass of good red wine and getting away once or twice a year to Palm Springs.
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