Real Estate

Diversity of condo law files keeps Hernandez focused

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

Toronto condominium lawyer Luis Hernandez isn’t afraid to give his clients the unvarnished truth.

Hernandez, an associate with Shibley Righton LLP’s Toronto office, says his “direct” style can take some getting used to for clients — often condo corporation boards of directors seeking help with corporate governance, compliance matters, contracts, bylaws and rules.

“Some people want you to tell them what they want to hear, but I’d be doing my clients a disservice if I practised that way,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “I try to give no-nonsense and practical advice that helps advance their goals and puts them in the best possible position.

“Whether we agree or disagree, I’ll be frank in providing them with my professional view of the best course of action,” Hernandez adds.

Still, he says most clients appreciate his honesty in the long run, as they come to realize his appreciation for the unique nature of condominium living.

“Condominium corporations are not just any not-for-profits, but ones that govern people, their homes, and often their single largest investment,” Hernandez says. “You have to try and set egos aside and put the well-being of the community first and foremost.

“I regard my approach as very principled, and I care very much about doing the right thing,” he adds.

But any edge to Hernandez’s style is softened by his friendly and open demeanour.

“Approachability is very important to me because I want board members to know that we have the resources available to support them with any number of legal issues, and from someone who won’t judge them,” he says. “I’m there to assist them in any way I can to help them run their community better.”

Although he received his call to the bar in 2017, Hernandez’s roots in the condominium community run much deeper, having interned with a condo law boutique in 2012, before he had even taken up his place at the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law. He continued to summer there throughout his studies and later articled at the same firm.

Hernandez is a member of the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario and sits on the board of directors of the Windsor-Essex Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI), in addition to his involvement in a number of committees with CCI’s Toronto chapter.

Hernandez moved his practice to Shibley Righton in 2018, attracted by the firm’s bench strength in condominium law.

“It’s a great place to practice, and has worked out very well,” he says.

The main focus of Hernandez’s practice is solicitor work for condo corporations and providing advice or legal opinions to board members on a variety of issues, including contract review, rule compliance by owners and residents, and corporate governance.

However, he also carries a number of litigation files touching on condo-related disputes.

“One of the reasons I fell for condo law is the diversity of the practice,” Hernandez says. “On any given day, you could be dealing with a human rights complaint, compliance issues, employment matters, or drafting bylaws and rules.

“It keeps me on my toes,” he adds.

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