London Lawyers Share Their Views on Both Practice and Profession
Photo: Analee Ferreira of Ferreira Law
WALK AROUND ANY modern city, town or municipality and you will observe a subtle, yet noticeable plan emerge. Everything seems to be set out in an attempt to have a natural ebb and flow of people through an intricate, organized maze of buildings, streets, parking lots and homes. However, when disputes arise on how plans should be implemented, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is the independent adjudicative tribunal that conducts hearings and makes decisions under the Planning Act.
One of the few lawyers that argues in front of the OMB and who specializes in the unique combined area of municipal law, land development and civil litigation is Analee Ferreira. Practising law for over 12 years, Ferreira recently set up shop as a sole practitioner, establishing Ferreira Law on Dufferin Avenue to represent clients in both the public and private sectors. Married with children, she is originally from Brantford and pursued her post-secondary studies at Queen’s and Western universities.
Rod Refcio: What attracted you to the practise of law, and what intrigues you most about the profession?
Analee Ferreira: I’ve been focused on becoming a lawyer since I was a young child. I’ve always enjoyed debating, public speaking, acting and school, so it was a logical fit for me. I’m intrigued by the practise of law because I love strategy. I enjoy developing a path that leads to the client’s end goal, whether by resolution or the adversarial process. I’m both a lover and a fighter.
RR: What advice would you give someone considering a career in law?
AF: Make sure you understand the business of practising law. This career is about so much more than the courses taught at law school. You need a business skillset so that you can remain in the driver’s seat while building your practice.
RR: What is the best piece of business advice that you have been given, and what business advice would you give?
AF: I’ve been lucky enough to have several great mentors throughout my career. The best advice I have been given is do not get financially in over your head at the outset. Keep your costs low and grow slowly. The best advice I could give? Don’t expect everything to fall into place perfectly before you make a big decision.
RR: What do you enjoy most about practising law and what do you enjoy least?
AF: I enjoy strategizing and being on my feet at a hearing. I also enjoy the challenge of working with a difficult person on the other side, whether it is a staff member or another lawyer. I pride myself on being able to establish good relationships with all types of personalities. I do not enjoy the endless administrative processes that have to be followed to a tee and end up bottlenecking a file.
RR: What has changed most about the business of law since you started practising?
AF: A big change on the private side are the clients’ objectives. Most people today just want to get their project done in a timely manner, rather than waste costs in a long complex hearing. I like that change, because I’m wired that way also.
RR: In your area of specialty, what has changed most in the past ten years and what changes do you expect to see?
AF: I’d prefer to talk about what is about to change. We are about to enter into an era of great change in the municipal law sector with Bill 139. The new legislation will result in significant changes to the Planning Act and other legislation that will completely alter the appeals and hearing process. The extent of these changes are unknown until the regulations are released.
RR: What is the most common misconception that you think the public has about lawyers?
AF: That lawyers take advantage of people for money. That may be true in some cases, but it’s not true for me or the lawyers I associate with.
RR: What do you enjoy most about being your own boss?
AF: Everything. I answer to myself and my clients…and Revenue Canada of course.
Rod Refcio is founder and senior lawyer at Refcio & Associates. Submit your inquiries and legal questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. None of the opinions, views or information contained in this column should be construed as legal advice and readers should consult a licensed lawyer for specific assistance.