Brian Iler, Partnerbiler @ ilercampbell.com
416-598-0103 ext. 114
I didn’t always want to be a lawyer. I was far more comfortable with the harder skills of math and science, and was well on my way to graduating as a civil engineer from the University of Waterloo.
It was 1968, and like so many others, my life and goals changed in that year – fundamentally. The next year, I entered law school with two other friends. On our first day, we were the only long-haired students in jeans.
Perhaps obsessively staying away from Bay Street law firms, I established a general practice on my own, doing whatever came in the door: criminal defence, civil litigation, union-side (and union-dissident) labour law, real estate, and corporate and commercial law.
I learned from doing. Virtually everything I did was for the first time. Without much experience available to me, I spent late nights preparing for court appearances the following day. This was the only way to ensure that my lack of experience didn’t mean inferior representation for my clients.
Charlie Campbell and I formed Iler Campbell in 1982. We agreed that we would specialize – he’d focus on litigation, and I’d focus on solicitors’ work – legal work that doesn’t involve the courts.
Solicitors’ work is, essentially, problem-solving (much like my earlier studies in maths and sciences) applying rules, and drawing on past experience to develop solutions that work. We work hard to avoid our clients getting entangled in the web of litigation – a cumbersome, and expensive way to resolve a dispute. When we fail, I’m fortunate to be able to bring in the litigation team that Charlie founded. They do top-notch work, and understand our clients’ values.
A key element in our success in law, I think, has been a commitment to both quality work and progressive values. Iler Campbell has been blessed with many, many incredible clients. Many of them were attracted by our values, but it’s our work that has kept them with us and has kept new clients knocking on our door. I’m very proud of our reputation.
There’s a kind of magic that happens when both of these elements fall into place – values and work. It’s very satisfying to work with people when you know where they’re coming from, when our values click and we just ‘get’ one another. A passion for our clients’ work is what keeps me going day in and day out. That’s why I still put in the long hours. (I could be retired by now!) And I know the same is true of the rest of the Iler Campbell team.
Brian practises co-op and non-profit law, corporate and commercial law, transactions, wills and estates, construction law, employment law as well as acting as general counsel.
Brian is active in a host of volunteer activities, currently:
- Toronto Renewable Energy Co-op – incubating community-owned green electricity projects, including the turbine on the Lakeshore. Founding director 1996 - present.
- Co-operative Fund for Community Power (Community Power Fund) – provides financial support to community-owned green electricity projects. Founding director.
- CommunityAIR – campaigns for a clean green waterfront. Volunteer from 2003. Director and chair 2007 to present.
- Organizations and Systems Developments Ltd. – small software and consulting firm, serving social services and aboriginal organizations. Director and secretary.
- Ontario Sustainable Energy Association – director 2002-8, chair, 2006-7. Awarded first Community Power Award for contribution to the community power sector by OSEA 2008.
- Green Energy Act Alliance Management Committee – oversees the highly successful campaign for the Green Energy and Economy Act, and the feed-in tariffs for green energy projects.
- Centre for Social Innovation – supports and incubates social enterprises. Director, from 2009.
And on Thursday evenings from late May ’til September you can find Brian on Lake Ontario racing his sailboat, Indefatigable.