Employment & Labour

Wright Henry brings experience, quality to employment, labour law

By Paul Russell, AdvocateDaily.com Contributor

Senior executives and other professionals can find the legal advice they need at Wright Henry LLP, says founding partner and Toronto lawyer Michael Wright.

“We bring a high level of quality and focus to our labour and employment law work,” says Wright. “We are dedicated to negotiating, mediating and litigating in this area of law.”

Wright was formerly with Cavalluzzo LLP, where he says his practice in the last decade developed a focus on employment law for high level or management employees, work he has continued with his new firm.

“I assist executives on their way in, and their way out, by negotiating their employment contracts when they are hired, then termination agreements when they leave,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Wright says he believes all working people should have excellent legal representation. While many people obtain that through trade unions, he says executives and managers don’t have that resource to draw on.

“I act for many CEOs, but at the end of the day, when they come to see me, they are all just workers,” he says. “They may have been running a major company for a long time, but when they enter my office, they’re coming in their capacity as an employee, looking to be treated fairly by their employer.”

Wright also advises professionals about what they can and cannot do when they leave a firm and move to another where they will potentially be competing with their former peers.

“If they get into difficulty, I represent them in the litigation” he says.

Wright has been practising labour and employment law for more than 25 years, while partner Tracey Henry has been a labour lawyer for a significant period of time as well.

“Our other colleagues in the firm have not been working as long in this area, but they’ve exclusively dedicated themselves to it,” he says. “This is what we do. We do it every day because we believe in it and are committed to this area of law.”

Wright says members of the firm have broad experience in the full spectrum of employment and labour-related issues in major, often high-profile, engagements.

For example, he and Henry represented United Steelworkers Local 1005 in the insolvency proceedings of Stelco Inc. in Hamilton. They were key advisors in the negotiation of a collective agreement with the company’s new owners and played a prominent role in protecting the interests of both active employees and retirees in the restructuring of the firm, with the entire negotiation involving numerous stakeholders.

Wright has negotiated dozens of collective agreements involving organizations such as Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet of Canada, and the National Arts Centre. He has extensive experience representing clients in financial services, health care and a range of manufacturing and service industries.

When appearing on behalf of his clients in court, Wright says he brings a practical, solution-focused approach to dispute resolution.

“We are extremely focused on representing senior executives, professionals and other employees on the one hand, and trade unions and professional associations on the other,” he says.

The firm launched in August, and the response from new and old clients has been positive, Wright says.

“We’ve enjoyed a great response from existing clients who chose to follow us, and we’ve tried to make the transition as smooth as possible,” he says.

On a personal level, Wright says he is grateful to work with a team of dedicated and caring people.

“The people we hired are not only excellent lawyers, legal professionals, and administrative staff, but they are genuinely nice people,” he says.

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