Canadian Lawyer

March 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 9 of 51

8 FEATURE CROSS EXAMINED FROM BIG LAW TO LAUNCHING A FIRM Faren Bogach, who has just launched a new construction boutique, has prioritized authenticity and clients over perfection and billing targets "We spent weekends and evenings developing the software, which we were giving away for free. … We were committed to the construction industry. And it wasn't just about us churning a file or anything like that" WHEN FAREN BOGACH was leaving the partnership at WeirFoulds LLP to launch her new firm Construct Legal, she posted an unusual announcement on LinkedIn. "I made lifelong friends," she wrote. "The kinds of friends that walk you to the hospital to give birth to your kid, the kinds of friends that hug you when you ugly cry in the office, and the kind of friends that spend their 'free' time developing software about the Construction Act with you." That paragraph summed up Bogach's approach to legal practice better than any formal press release ever could. Bogach started her legal career articling at a small litigation boutique, which gave her a lot of hands-on experience in practice management. At first, she was reluctant to join a larger firm like WeirFoulds, which had partners who looked very formal on its website, but she quickly overcame her hesi- tation when she met the lawyers in person. WeirFoulds "hired me to work for every litigator at the firm," she says. "I kind of dealt with overflow at the beginning. And so I was busy working for so many different people." Having the typical experience of an associate at a large law firm — being overworked and uncertain where the work might come from — meant Bogach became committed to making it a little bit easier for the associates, particu- larly young women, who came after her. "As firms get bigger and bigger, you know, it's hard to keep track of associates if they're just working for so many people," she says. "I also just didn't say no, which I think is a really bad message for new lawyers, because you have to say no to these things. But at the time, I just wanted to get as much experience as possible." Bogach ultimately gained a lot of expe- rience at the firm and eventually decided to specialize in construction law. When she became a partner in 2017, she was pregnant with her second child, and was also in the middle of preparing for what ended up being the biggest trial of her career – a two-month trial at which the parties used virtual tech- nology. The final court decision made it the leading case on delays in construc- tion projects. Bogart laughs in retrospect when recalling an email she wrote, proposing the use of Zoom during the trial. "Opposing counsel said to me, 'What is this Zoom? We don't know. We can't agree to use it.'" Despite the initial hesitation, the trial ended early because the technology created so many efficiencies. What Bogach and her co-counsel learned during that trial also provided an invaluable blueprint when the pandemic hit. "We were ready. We gave seminars to the construction bar … [so that] not everyone had to go through what we did to figure out how to do these things." In October 2019, Bogach's clients were also dealing with radical legal changes. Ontario had just enacted new "prompt payment" rules. These changes, which were designed to facilitate faster payment throughout the construction pyramid, impacted the entire construction industry. Bogach's clients found it very difficult to keep track of the complex rules. So, she and

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