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Good service means being available and responsive: Donich

A busy day is a good day for Toronto criminal lawyer Jordan Donich.

“When I’m not busy I feel like I’m slowly dying,” says Donich, principal of Donich Law, a Toronto firm dealing in criminal defence, professional regulation and civil litigation.

That’s not been a problem for the founder of the ambitious, emerging firm. He also has a full-time practice representing clients in English and French in civil litigation and criminal defence, specifically domestic assault, impaired driving, sex offences and financial crimes.

Plus, he’s a frequent media commentator who has been interviewed by the likes of Forbes, CityNews, The Huffington Post and Toronto Star, providing a legal opinion on emerging developments in internet crime, financial and sex crimes.

Donich’s commentary style is approachable, geared towards the public, not the legal community.  

“I enjoy speaking plain English, and not like a lawyer,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Law school was a “necessary step,” he says, to achieving his dreams.

“In my undergrad year, I realized that what I was doing wasn’t going to correlate with my end objective of working for myself,” he says.  

So he did everything he could to achieve that goal as quickly as possible, including cutting short his undergraduate studies in criminology and psychology.

Plus, he was up for the challenge of law school, which he attended at the University of Ottawa.

“I don’t come from a white-collar background,” he says. “So I wanted to see if I was smart enough to do it.”

A strategist by nature, “I planned and executed,” Donich says.  

The goal was always to set up his own firm.

“I felt I could do a better job on my own volition than with someone else making decisions for me,” he says.

Rather than spend valuable years working for another firm, Donich took a sink-or-swim approach right out of law school.

“For me, there was no testing the water and taking five years to get established,” he says. “My thinking was I might as well accelerate there.”

Donich’s path to criminal law was equally strategic. He chose his practice area based on his skill set.

“I enjoy oral advocacy,” he says. “I like thinking on my feet and having to make quick decisions.”

And he thrives on the challenges his clients present.

“You’re dealing with someone who has done something wrong, and needs your help to mitigate it, or someone who has done nothing wrong, and feels victimized,” he says. “You have to learn to sever the influence of emotion on decision-making. I make determinations based on the best probable outcome.”

Donich draws on his background in business and sales in dealing with clients.

“Law is essentially a customer-service job, like any other,” he says. “To clients, you’re still a service provider. They care about the result, but they also want to be treated well.”

Good service means being able, available and responsive, he says.  

This business approach informs other aspects of how he runs his firm.

As he said to The Huffington Post, “You have to learn to treat your business and your time as investment resources — and figure out where to deploy that so you get the best returns,” he says. “I’m really good at deciding what not to do, and where not to waste resources.”

As head of the firm, he says being an effective leader is as much about identifying one’s weaknesses as it is playing to one’s strengths.  

“The first thing you have to understand in business is you are not perfect or the best at everything,” he says. “You have to figure out where you’re not so strong and hire people to round that out.

“You need to understand your limitations, and fill those gaps.”

Donich doesn’t want to grow the size of his firm to the point where he’s spending all his time managing the people, rather than practising law.

“It then becomes a different operation,” Donich says. “I like the work. I like being with the client all the way and I love practising law.”

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