For the past 16 years my practice has been devoted almost exclusively to long-term disability claims. I have sued every LTD insurer (including all Canadian and many American insurers), analyzed countless long-term disability policies and claims files, examined hundreds of case managers, and absorbed the nuances of the decision-making styles of litigation consultants from across the country. I have developed ways to mine claim files so as to bolster extra-contractual damages claims and facilitate capitulation.
So why now?
Twenty years ago, I embarked on a journey. A qualified, idealistic lawyer from an international jurisdiction, I landed in Canada ready to head directly to the Supreme Court of Canada. I had been on the cusp of partnership at a large multinational law firm in my country of origin and naively believed that this would springboard me directly into countless opportunities.
What I quickly learned is that opportunities are not laid before you, they are presented to you to seize when the moment is opportune. In the early years of legal practice, I enthusiastically embraced every opportunity to absorb tips, techniques and strategies from many excellent lawyers.
I learned the subtleties of the art of advocacy; of knowing when to use fire power and when to employ a softer touch.
I learned that authenticity, sincerity and empathy, often unchartered territory in a lawyer’s arsenal, can sometimes be just as effective as the strongest legal strategy.
I learned the importance of diligent preparation and of forging a reputation for tenacity and an unwavering commitment to fight for a just result.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson of all has been how much I needed to learn over the years and how magnanimous others have been in their willingness to impart their knowledge.
Platforms like OTLA facilitate knowledge-sharing, and enable mentoring to take place at the highest levels. Many lawyers have approached me recently for advice on long term disability matters. This has served to enhance my desire to contribute in a meaningful way. My leadership experience includes sitting on the board of directors of special needs organizations, leading multiple community outreach projects, mentoring junior lawyers for many years and currently managing a long term disability practice.
My extensive expertise in litigating long term disability matters places me in a unique position for the role of Vice Chair. It enables me to, amongst other things:
- Source engaging speakers for conferences and continuing legal education initiatives;
- Delineate aspects of the practice that are of interest and importance to members seeking to enhance their knowledge and skill sets;
- Create and identify fresh and exciting programming material;
- Recruit prospective members to the LTD section;
- Utilize networking resources to obtain insight into insurer practices;
- Facilitate the dissemination of tricks and techniques to encourage excellent advocacy and the pursuit of justice.
COVID-19 has heightened the need for diversification and I have reached the point in my journey where the moment is right for me to seize a position at the helm and share what I have learned with others so we can navigate these new realities together.