I am a partner at Cummings Andrews Mackay LLP (CAM LLP) in Edmonton. I have been with the firm since 1996, practicing exclusively in the area of serious personal injury law.
During my 20+ years of practice, I have been involved in challenging work, helping people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents, bike accidents, and for pedestrians hit by cars, with injuries including quadriplegia, paraplegia, traumatic brain injuries and other significant consequences stemming from accident-related injuries.
Before I joined CAM LLP, I articled at Bishop McKenzie LLP and stayed on as an associate until 1995, working as a personal injury lawyer focused on car accident cases. I then worked for a large insurance company, where I learned how insurance companies view the claims process and what adjusters are looking for to be able to move to settle a case. It also quickly became obvious to me that insurance companies treat lawyers pretty much the way lawyers treat them and it is rarely in a client’s best interest to set up an adversarial relationship when there are other more productive ways of getting a fair result for an injured person. Compromise and collaboration do not mean giving away the farm.
Insurance companies know that CAM LLP lawyers have years of experience working on the defence side and we have a reputation of being prepared and fair in our approach to negotiations. As a trained mediator, I am skilled at helping clients through interest based mediation and my time working for and insurance company helps me to understand what needs to be presented to insurance companies to bring them to the negotiating table ready to take my client’s position seriously.
Most of my cases come to me through referrals from past clients, other lawyers, and people connected to the insurance industry who know that I will take good care of anyone they send my way.
What Happens When You Hire Me
Most people have no idea about how the personal injury claims process works. This is perfectly normal. My first contact with a client is usually by phone and consists of me asking a lot of questions to get the big picture of what has happened to you. The next step is to have you come in and meet with me face to face. I will give you a questionnaire in advance to help you gather all the important information I need to assess your case, and I’ll ask you to fill it out as best you can. But don’t worry, I will go through it with you to fill in any gaps and identify any further information needed.
I will take all the time you need to make sure I explain the process so that you understand how everything works. I will also give you the chance to ask any questions you may have and we’ll go through what’s happening on the medical side so I can help make sure you are getting the care you need to progress in your recovery.
There is often an assumption that hiring a lawyer means you have to go to court to get fair compensation. At our first meeting, I will explain that most cases can be resolved through negotiation and mediation and that our firm has a very good reputation for helping clients get the compensation they deserve without the stress and uncertainty of a lengthy trial. I will explain the different options for resolving a personal injury claim including alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, Judicial Dispute Resolution, and mini-trials.
When you retain me, I’m the lawyer who will be with you from start to finish and I will take great care to make sure I stay up to date on your progress and any medical developments that need to be addressed.
- 20+ years practicing as a personal injury lawyer working primarily for seriously injured people.
- My experience working for an insurance company lawyer early in my career means I’m well aware of what is required to prepare a case that insurers will take seriously.
- I am a trained mediator, and I have been able to give back to the legal profession and the community by serving as a volunteer mediator with the Alberta Provincial Court Civil Claims Mediation Program. The program allows for non-adversarial resolution to often contentious civil cases, saving those involved (many of whom are self-represented litigants) the cost and uncertainty of proceeding to trial, which, despite my training as a litigator, is something in which I deeply believe.
- Admitted to the Alberta Bar, 1994
- Admitted to the Northwest Territories Bar, 1997
- Before I became a lawyer, I earned a BA (Hons.) in History from Western University in London, Ontario
I keep up-to-date in my specific practice area as well as within the litigation field in general by attending, speaking at and organizing continuing legal education seminars and workshops. I have also been an active member of professional associations whose mandate is to strengthen the legal institution in our province.
- One of the twenty lawyers elected as Benchers to govern the Law Society of Alberta’s more than 9,000 lawyers (2018).
- I am Peer Rated 4.5/5 for High Professional Achievement, Martindale-Hubbell®, 2016 , endorsed for high ethical standing.
- I have been active with the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (ACTLA) since the early 2000’s. ACTLA strives to advocate for a strong civil justice system that protects the rights of all Albertans. I have supported this goal by serving as a Board member at large; Vice-President, Seminars (2001-02); Secretary (2002-03); Treasurer (2003-04); First Vice-President (2004-05) and President (2005-06).
- I have helped to organize, chair and present at seminars for the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA)
- I have made meaningful contribution to the self-governance function of the legal profession through my participation in the Law Society of Alberta. My contributions have included appointments to the Advertising Rules Subcommitee (2007), Conduct Committee (2008-11), and Civil Practice Advisory Committee (2011-14).
- I joined the Board of the Edmonton Bar Association in 2012 and I have served as a Member at Large, Treasurer, First Vice-President and I am currently serving as President for the 2015-16 term.
- Volunteer Mediator, Alberta Provincial Court Civil Claims Mediation Program (2003-10)
Over the years I have written articles for both The Barrister and Law Now magazines including:
- “Who May Attend Examinations for Discovery?” ACTLA Seminar Materials, March 2005.
- “The Status of Estate Claims for Lost Earning Capacity.” Law Now Magazine, August/September 2003.
- “Accidents in a Northern Climate.” Law Now Magazine, December 2001/January 2002.
As a lawyer, I deal with people seriously affected by medical issues on a daily basis. This has lead me to get involved in community organizations that cater to the needs of these individuals that extend beyond providing legal advice and representation. My activities have included:
- Serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Paraplegic Association (now Spinal Cord Injury Alberta), including service on the Finance and Executive Committees (2007-2013)
- Serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Paralympic Sports Association (2000-2007).
On a personal level, giving back to my community at large has long been one of my priorities. I am very proud of the work I have done in support of the Don Andrews Memorial Golf Tournament, which was founded to honour the late Don Andrews, QC of our firm who died of cancer in 2005. Over the ten years I organized and chaired this annual tournament, participants raised more than $400,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s Cross Cancer Institute. Having lost family members to cancer, the hours I spent on this event each year were a labour of love. My goal was to allow those involved to honour friends and family lost to this disease while our collective efforts helped to provide cutting edge technology to assist the people in our community who were continuing to undergoing cancer treatments.
Sports have been a life-long passion, helping to instill in me the values of teamwork, discipline, and achievement, all of which have served me well during my professional career. My wife and I raised two active children (now in university), and I have always looked for ways to give back to the community through sports. Over the years I have coached or managed my children’s baseball, softball, soccer and climbing teams. I have found the experience extremely rewarding and a great way to foster positive values in young people while supporting the development of our community. I continue to be involved in our community, and I am always on the lookout for ways to give back. My activities include:
- 11 years as the Commissioner of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), the governing body for intercollegiate sports in Alberta, where I handle disciplinary and eligibility issues for student athletes, assist in governance issues and support the ACAC’s vision of “developing leaders through post-secondary sport.” It is both a challenging and rewarding position.
- Member, Board of Directors, Climbing Escalade Canada, the National Federation for competitive climbing (2010 to the present). I have been involved in moving the sport (currently scheduled to join the Olympics in 2020) toward Sports Canada membership, which will help to provide greater exposure, funding, and competition experience to athletes across Canada.
- Founding, incorporating and serving as two-term President of the Alberta Climbing Association, the governing body for competition climbing in the province. Before 2013, there was no official governing body for the sport in Alberta. I was pleased to offer the legal and organizational skills necessary to foster the growth and development of this rapidly growing sport.
Outside the Office
In addition to my involvement with sport in official capacities I am an avid cyclist (mountain biking and commuting to work on my road bike, weather permitting), climber and hiker (my wife and I are also big via ferrata and canyoneering fans…Google them!).
Bitten by the travel bug early in life, I have traveled extensively including trips to 35 countries across five continents.