Harding drawn to human aspect of personal injury law
By Kirsten McMahon, AdvocateDaily.com Managing Editor
For Ontario personal injury William Harding, one of the most satisfying aspects of his practice is helping people successfully resolve their claims, providing them with security and peace of mind for the future.
“It’s quite gratifying when you successfully resolve a case for a client and you see the appreciation on their face — especially as it often involves years of hard work,” says Harding, an associate with McLeish Orlando LLP.
“I think the firm does a really good job of being selective with the files we take on, only working on cases involving fatalities and the most serious types of injuries,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “This allows us to dedicate a significant amount of time and recourses to each and every case we take on.”
Born in Bradford, Ont., Harding was still young when he envisioned himself pursuing a career in law. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy at the University of Guelph, he pursued his law degree at Queen’s University.
“Initially, I was leaning more towards criminal law,” Harding says. “But once I was in law school, I realized it wasn’t for me, although I did enjoy the litigation aspect.”
During his first year of law school, Harding was a volunteer caseworker at Queen’s legal aid clinic.
“It is one of my best memories from first year — helping people who couldn’t afford legal services. I got a couple of really good results helping clients who had their disability benefits denied, and I gained on-the-ground experience in the process,” he says.
For his legal work, Harding was given the McDougal-Watson Memorial Award for “excellence in file management, hard work and commitment to the achievement and development of the goals of Queens Legal Aid.”
That’s when Harding realized he enjoyed the human aspect of being a lawyer, which led him to the area of personal injury law. He joined McLeish Orlando as a summer student and then went on to complete his articles with the firm.
After receiving his Juris Doctor from Queen’s, Harding was called to the bar in 2018 and joined the firm as an associate.
Although his practice is still young, Harding has already appeared before the Ontario Court of Appeal, successfully representing the appellants in a host-liability matter.
“That was definitely a highlight of my first year,” he says of working alongside Patrick Brown, a principal partner with McLeish Orlando, on a case that provided valuable clarification on the issue of social host liability.
Harding says it’s that calibre of work, coupled with the firm’s unique culture that first attracted him and has kept him at McLeish Orlando.
“It’s a very tight-knit group. Even as a student, I had the opportunity to work closely with all of the lawyers at the firm, and learn from their extensive experience working as personal injury litigators,” he says.
“When we bring on a case, we consider every available option for advancing our client’s interests, often advancing novel legal arguments,” says Harding, whose practice is dedicated exclusively to plaintiffs’ personal injury and wrongful death cases.
When he’s not practising law, Harding enjoys spending time with friends and family in the city or cottage country.
“I try to be outdoors as much as I can,” he says, although notes that rural life comes with its own set of accidents and injuries.
“I have a lot of friends and family in Simcoe County and rural Ontario, and have seen firsthand the different types of injuries that can occur in these places — snowmobile, ATV, boating, and other recreational injuries. I have experience with many such cases in my law practice, and certainly intend to continue expanding my practice in this area,” Harding says.