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Insurance, Personal Injury

David Morin: offering high-calibre advocacy away from the big city

Huntsville insurance and personal injury lawyer David Morin is part of a Bay Street law firm operating on the edge of a peaceful lake in central Muskoka.

“The people who hire me are actually hiring a downtown Toronto law firm, but they have a lawyer living in their community,” says Morin, a founding partner of Will Davidson LLP, which is based in Toronto.

Morin says he believes his clients throughout rural Ontario appreciate the fact they are hiring an experienced insurance litigator without having to travel to a bustling metropolis.

In return, Morin enjoys the experience working with the support of his partnership, taking on the cases he believes are important, he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“I have tremendous autonomy,” he says. “I make decisions that are really important for my life, my partnership, and my clients. I don’t have to live in Toronto if I don’t want to. I don’t have to take certain cases if I don’t want to.”

Morin knew from an early point in his legal career that autonomy and achieving a good work-life balance would be important. It’s why the Toronto native started practising in Huntsville as soon as he finished law school in Ottawa and completed his articles at Gowlings LLP.

Morin took his wife, a family physician, and his young children to central Ontario where he started working as an agent doing bankruptcy and insolvency work for law firms in Toronto and Ottawa.

“Eventually I came to the attention of the managing partner at MacMillan Rooke Boeckle LLP,” he says. “They needed some help with insurance-related files and I guess they were suitably impressed with me such that they offered me full-time employment.”

From there, things moved quickly, he says. He worked hard, took on important cases and soon joined the partnership.

“I was very supported by my partners. In fact, they built a beautiful office in Huntsville which I'm still in today,” he says. The 5,000 square-foot office overlooks Fairy Lake, in Huntsville, considered the gateway to Algonquin Park.

The property was particularly attractive to Morin because his wife was already working in doctors' offices next door.

In 2010, MacMillan Rooke Boeckle LLP merged with Will Barristers to form Will Davidson LLP. Morin co-founded the partnership with lawyers Gary Will, Jim Davidson and Chris Morrison.

Will Davidson is a combination of plaintiff's and defence-side practices. The defence team is led by lawyer Jim Davidson, so the firm name reflects that, Morin says.

I've been very fortunate and that my practice takes me all over the province of Ontario now,” he says. “Whether it’s Sudbury, Parry Sound, Barrie or Toronto, I travel quite a bit and I get to live in rural Ontario on a beautiful lake, which is really quite remarkable.”

Morin often thinks back to the sacrifices he made early in his professional life to get to where he is now. By the time he decided to apply to law school, he was already 29 years old, looking after his two children while his wife was a medical resident.

With experience in the automotive and clothing industries, Morin decided law school was either “now or never,” figuring a law degree was one of the best ways to raise his family away from the hustle of big city life.

“It was a real adventure for me,” he says. “It was tough because not only was I going to school during the day but I was working at night. It was a real challenge because law school requires time and attention but so does supporting your family.”

Morin and his wife managed to make it all work, and soon after they arrived in Huntsville, their family had grown to include four young daughters.

Morin was appointed a deputy judge of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice in 2003 and is a certified specialist in civil litigation by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

He received a master’s degree in advanced civil litigation and mediation from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2005.

He now practises in all areas of insurance-related disputes, including serious personal injury, professional negligence, product liability and other areas as well as a growing focus on municipal liability.

“I really enjoy what I do because I’m primarily working with top-flight law firms out of Toronto, so there is a very high calibre of law,” he says, adding he hopes more young lawyers recognize the opportunity to achieve a great balance by working in rural communities. “It’s very challenging, but on the other hand, you have the freedom to enjoy this beautiful natural environment.”

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