Elder woman and her caretaker

ABOUT HEATHER LAIDLAW

I was called to the bar in 1985 and have practiced civil litigation ever since.
My first 12 years were spent with one of the country’s leading litigation firms, Fasken & Calvin as it was then known. When I left that firm in 1997 I was the firm’s senior female litigation partner. My practice focused on complex commercial litigation involving hundreds of millions of dollars, and even billions of dollars in the case of the Hiram Walker take over. In addition to commercial litigation I developed a passion for estate litigation, with a particular emphasis on elder law, and elder abuse.
After Faskens I joined a middle sized firm, Chaiton & Chaiton in North Toronto. These firms were co-counsel in numerous litigation arising from the financial collapse of a leasing company in British Columbia. There was just under a half a billion dollars at issue in the various proceedings. The last remaining action was to be tried in Vancouver. I spent the better part of four years preparing for that trial which was scheduled to take over a year in evidence and arguments. It was an auditor’s negligence action which eventually settled in 2001. That fall I opened my own practice in Oakville where I lived until 2018, when I moved to Collingwood.  I have continued as a sole practitioner since 2001.
My objective is to make my services available to persons who are in need of experienced counsel at a price that is manageable. The fees I charge are half of what would be the case were I still practicing in Toronto. The quality of the service that I give does not change with the amount of money or the size of the issues involved. I manage the brief myself: it does not get passed onto juniors and students, or lost in the shuffle with hundreds of other matters.
I am not the right lawyer for every case. There must be a good fit between me and my clients. Otherwise, no one will be happy.
If I do not believe that I am able to provide added value to a client, I will not take on the brief. I will, if asked, recommend other counsel more suitable.
I do not practice family law. I do not prepare Wills or powers of attorney. I litigate issues arising from Wills and powers of attorney. I will typically act on cases challenging the validity of Wills, involving the capacity of testators, and concerning the rights of dependents and elders. I have put in over 300 days of trial and court hearings over the course of my career, in all facets of commercial litigation and estate and trust litigation, and in all levels of the Courts of Ontario.
I do not go head first into litigious proceedings, without first exploring settlement or ways to curtail the matters in dispute, because the cost of litigation is so important to the overall interests of the client. It is part of a host of factors that need to be taken into consideration before action is started, not the least of which are the emotional demands on the client.