Canadian Lawyer

November 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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www.canadianlawyermag.com 5 Proud member of the PIA Toronto | 1-866-685-3311 | www.mcleishorlando.com Consultation Offices in: Barrie | Hamilton | Kitchener | St. Catharines | Sault Ste. Marie Helping clients during pandemic Q&A Years in practice: 24 1995: summer student 1996: articling student 1997: lawyer 2002: partner 2007: member of the executive committee 2019: managing partner Paul Cahill partner WILL DAVIDSON LLP Why did you become a personal injury lawyer? I originally wanted to be a crim- inal defence lawyer as I finished law school, having had some practical experience in criminal law working at my law school community legal aid clinic. I thought this was the best way to get lots of courtroom experience. I ended up articling at Will Davidson LLP and working al- most exclusively on a large med- ical malpractice trial with a senior partner at the firm. After that, I was hooked on representing plaintiffs in serious personal injury matters. What were the biggest lessons of your career? I learned very early on that there is no substitute for preparedness. This meant some very long hours for me early in my career. I also learned never to take anything at face value — whether it is a position statement from opposing counsel or your own client's evidence. Nothing should be taken for granted. When it comes to advo- cacy and the pursuit of the truth, it often boils down to what is most believable. So, I learned the hard way that taking extreme positions in the courtroom or at the negotiating table often hurts more than it helps. What challenges did you see looming during the COVID-19 pandemic? The biggest challenge has been the disrup- tion to the civil justice system. The courts have been doing their absolute best . . . to accommodate the needs of litigants; how- ever, the reality is that, even before Covid-19, personal injury litigants experienced access to justice issues with long waits for trial time. Those delays have now increased expo- nentially. An injured plaintiff can only "make" a defendant pay by winning in the courtroom. Any other type of resolution is voluntary between the parties, and not all cases can be settled outside of a trial. With trial dates . . . up in the air, [it] has led to delays in settlement opportunities and trial verdicts.

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