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LPP Experience

Ryerson’s Law Practice Program (LPP) is fast becoming the cutting-edge program where creativity and innovation intersect at the highest levels, providing a competitive and rigorous experience. The LPP inspires candidates and employers to explore new trends and perspectives of practising law. The program gives qualified licensing Candidates the opportunity to get Called to the Ontario Bar. The LPP is designed to maximize opportunities. It recognizes where people come from and prepares them for where they are going.

Journalist Veronica Chail, brings together LPP candidates and employers to share their personal stories.


Andrew Heal
Partner
Heal & Co. LLP

Andrew Heal believes in face time and he remembers when he got it with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who spoke to his political science class in 1984 at McGill University. Trudeau was thoroughly charming, engaging and witty. A year later he was listening to firsthand accounts of the high profile Helmuth Buxbaum murder trial from the late legal pioneer Eddie Greenspan. Andrew recalls Eddie smoking during the riveting lecture to his first year law class. It was an exciting time for a law student. The Charter had just been adopted and there were political changes developing with the end of the first Trudeau era and the start of the Mulroney era. This backdrop of continuous learning set a strong foundation for Andrew, who, after practicing law for over 2 decades has opened his own practice. With his creative personality and strong leadership, Heal & Co. LLP is becoming a leading construction law boutique.


Andrew Heal
Partner
Heal & Co. LLP

Andrew Heal believes in face time and he remembers when he got it with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who spoke to his political science class in 1984 at McGill University. Trudeau was thoroughly charming, engaging and witty. A year later he was listening to firsthand accounts of the high profile Helmuth Buxbaum murder trial from the late legal pioneer Eddie Greenspan. Andrew recalls Eddie smoking during the riveting lecture to his first year law class. It was an exciting time for a law student. The Charter had just been adopted and there were political changes developing with the end of the first Trudeau era and the start of the Mulroney era. This backdrop of continuous learning set a strong foundation for Andrew, who, after practicing law for over 2 decades has opened his own practice. With his creative personality and strong leadership, Heal & Co. LLP is becoming a leading construction law boutique.


Andrew Heal
Partner
Heal & Co. LLP

Andrew Heal believes in face time and he remembers when he got it with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who spoke to his political science class in 1984 at McGill University. Trudeau was thoroughly charming, engaging and witty. A year later he was listening to firsthand accounts of the high profile Helmuth Buxbaum murder trial from the late legal pioneer Eddie Greenspan. Andrew recalls Eddie smoking during the riveting lecture to his first year law class. It was an exciting time for a law student. The Charter had just been adopted and there were political changes developing with the end of the first Trudeau era and the start of the Mulroney era. This backdrop of continuous learning set a strong foundation for Andrew, who, after practicing law for over 2 decades has opened his own practice. With his creative personality and strong leadership, Heal & Co. LLP is becoming a leading construction law boutique.

Andrew Heal
Partner
Heal & Co. LLP

Andrew Heal believes in face time and he remembers when he got it with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who spoke to his political science class in 1984 at McGill University. Trudeau was thoroughly charming, engaging and witty. A year later he was listening to firsthand accounts of the high profile Helmuth Buxbaum murder trial from the late legal pioneer Eddie Greenspan. Andrew recalls Eddie smoking during the riveting lecture to his first year law class. It was an exciting time for a law student. The Charter had just been adopted and there were political changes developing with the end of the first Trudeau era and the start of the Mulroney era. This backdrop of continuous learning set a strong foundation for Andrew, who, after practicing law for over 2 decades has opened his own practice. With his creative personality and strong leadership, Heal & Co. LLP is becoming a leading construction law boutique.

VC:

Tell us a little about your practice/organization:

AH:

We’re a young firm, but an experienced and versatile team. We’re a boutique law firm that opened our doors in 2013. I am a specialist in construction law, and we deal with construction projects in trouble. We also specialize in other construction industry matters including professional liability defence of municipal, building and construction law claims generally.

VC:

Please share some pivotal personal or professional experiences that have particularly influenced your career to date:

AH:

I was born and raised in Toronto. I had two working parents, not unlike many families today. My father James Heal was a successful banking and corporate lawyer (now retired) and my mom grew up in Bermuda and she was a teacher and independent book store owner in Roncesvalles Village in Toronto. I also had the benefit of their experience. When I was a young boy, maybe 8 or 10 years old, I distinctly remember meeting one of my father’s law school friends, Allen Linden, who was a judge. We met Justice Linden in chambers – he was wearing his judicial robes. My dad kept calling him “my Lord” and I thought I was meeting GOD! Ironically, Justice Linden’s daughter, Lisa, also went to law school with me at the University of Toronto in the mid 1980’s.

My wife is also a lawyer and she inspires me. She is the vice-chair of the Ontario Securities Commission. We met in law school but we never dated. I reconnected with her in 2001 by chance some 13 years later on the steps of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) one Friday night, and finally asked her out. We married the following year, in 2002, at the ROM, and now have two kids.

VC:

Tell us about your experience with the LPP, in particular during the work placement with your candidate:

AH:

I have been a supporter of the LPP right from the start. We hired our first candidate in January 2015 and the second one in 2016. The program understands that students are coming out of law school with a need for practical experience. And the placement portion is an effective way for students to achieve this practical focus. The LPP focus on technology and compressed timelines is fantastic. The candidates learn quickly. Law is a never-ending process of continuous learning; and effective lawyers understand this dynamic aspect of the law. You also need to be adaptable and make technology work for you because communication and critical thinking is the root of what we do.

VC:

Is there a particularly memorable moment/story that stands out for you during the work placement?

AH:

Our candidates had different backgrounds – one had an engineering background and the other came from a commerce background. They were great and both did good work. A business or engineering background definitely helps in our practice area. The interdisciplinary backgrounds are good

VC:

How would you compare your own articling experience to the experience the LPP candidates are receiving?

AH:

My articling experience, including the bar admission exams, was close to a 2-year process – too long – and it was also costly in terms of the opportunity cost to get a license. But I had very good mentors and I articled at a large firm. These days it’s more challenging to get face time with your mentors. My advice for students is to fight for face time, be prepared to explain your ideas, and explore your questions. In contrast to my experience, the LPP is more compressed. It also provides more hands-on experience. This is essential because it allows candidates to understand the legal culture and it builds trust, confidence and experience. I think it’s important to provide opportunities for students who are obtaining law degrees and licenses. I think established legal professionals need to reach back and provide a helping hand to new lawyers. The LPP is a good template to do that. And I think it’s a good idea for younger lawyers (before and after call to the bar) to associate themselves with experienced lawyers and learn from them./p>

VC:

During your career, what changes have you seen in the legal profession? What are your thoughts about the LPP and how the program fits with these changes? Do you see expanded opportunities as a result, within the profession?

AH:

I went to law school in the 80s and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1990, so a lot has changed since the 80s and 90s. We have a more respectful legal culture especially when it comes to family and parenting priorities. You still need to put in a lot of hours but there are more flexible work arrangements available. I have seen a lot of growth in the profession. I have been able to accomplish some of my goals because of the legal environment that I was nurtured in. For me personally I want to be remembered as someone who had an idea for a high degree of client service in a team environment, and was successful in delivering that and teaching others to do the same.