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Edwin Upenieks

Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation, Law Society of Upper Canada

Phone: 905.452.6873
Fax: 905.451.5058
eupenieks@lawrences.com

Ed chairs Lawrences’ Litigation Group, having practised as a litigator since his call to the Bar in 1983. Due to the breadth and depth of his litigation experience and involvement as lead counsel on numerous significant cases, Ed has been certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Civil Litigation since 1998.  He is also a graduate of the Harvard Mediation Program.

For the first 16 years of his legal career, Ed practiced in a Bay Street law firm, joining Lawrences in 1999. His areas of practice include corporate and commercial litigation, real estate litigation, expropriations, partnership and shareholder disputes, estates litigation, and assessment of costs. He represents corporations, law firms, and individuals in a wide range of legal disputes, at all levels of court, and has been successful counsel on numerous appeals to the Ontario Court of Appeal. He has been counsel on numerous reported cases.  Ed has represented over 50 law firms, ranging from sole practitioners to some of the largest national law firms. He has also acquired significant experience in mediations and arbitrations.

Ed is a prolific writer on legal topics and published in 2016 the second edition of Enforcing Judgments and Orders, a standard legal textbook.

Through his legal work, teaching, and speaking engagements, Ed has acquired a high profile in the legal community.  In 2015 - 2016, Ed served as the elected President of the Ontario Bar Association, representing 17,000 lawyers, law students, professors and judges in Ontario.  Ed is also ranked in the Canadian Lexpert Directory for 2017 as a leading litigator.

Representative Work

  • Counsel assisting on a major land assembly in downtown Toronto, fronting on Yonge Street. A neighbouring owner asserted a prescriptive easement over a back alleyway, claiming to have enjoyed continuous, open, notorious, and uninterrupted use of a laneway since World War II, which would have scuppered the entire project and redevelopment plans. In his meticulous court preparation, Ed was able to locate a former property manager for one of the properties, who had retired in the 1960s but was able to help Ed uncover a photograph showing that the area was then an area blocked by garbage, not a laneway used for deliveries. That photograph convinced the applicant to abandon its application on the first day of the court hearing.
  • Obtained and enforced a Mareva Injunction to prevent the owner of a prized race horse from taking the horse out of the province in an attempt to avoid the judgment Ed had obtained against him.
  • An Honours Student at a Toronto school leapt to his death from the Bloor Street Viaduct. The Parent Council at the School retained Ed to represent them at the Coroner’s Inquest into the student’s death. Ed’s role was to help uncover what happened that fateful day, prepare and protect the classmates who testified and were cross-examined extensively, and advance recommendations to the Coroner’s Jury. Many of those recommendations were accepted by the Coroner’s Jury, including the construction of state-of-the-art suicide barriers along the Bloor Street Viaduct. This case and the Coroner’s Inquest were the focus of national media attention.
  • Retained by a property owner to seek full compensation for a portion of property expropriated by The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario for a bypass off of Highway 35/115. The landowner had paid $385,000 for a 192-acre parcel, of which the Ministry expropriated and severed two parcels totaling 14 acres five years later.  Following a two-week long compensation hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board, which was upheld on appeal to the Ontario Divisional Court and reported throughout Canada, the Court awarded our client approximately $900,000 and costs of $150,000.
  • Frequently retained in fee disputes between lawyers and clients and fee disputes following substantial motions or trials. In one matter, Price v. Sonsini, Ed was retained on a rush basis to appeal a costs decision to the Court of Appeal. Ed was successful on the appeal appeal, which was heard by a panel including the Chief and Associate Chief Justices of Ontario. This pivotal case has since been cited in over 40 reported decisions across Canada and is a leading case in costs.

Affiliations

  • Ontario Bar Association:
    • President (2015-2016) 
    • Vice-President (2014-2015)
    • 2nd Vice-President (2013-2014)
    • Secretary (2012-2013)
    • Chair of Governance (2013-2014)
    • Board of Directors (since 2010)
    • Finance Committee (since 2011)
    • Compensation and Human Resources (Chair 2012-2013)
    • Membership Chair (2010-2012)
    • Nominations Committee Member (since 2007)
    • Central West Regional Council Representative(2007-2012)
    • Sole, Small Firm and General Practice Section – Executive Member (2009-2011)
    • Trusts & Estates Section –Executive Member (2008-2013)
    • Member since 1979
  • Canadian Bar Association:
    • Board of Directors (2015-2016)
    • National Membership Committee Chair (2013-2015) and
      Vice-Chair (2011-2013), Member since 2010
    • Judicial Compensation and Benefits Committee Vice-Chair (2011-2013), Member since 2009
    • National Sections Council Executive Member and Board Member (2011-2013)
    • Finance Committee (2013-2015)
  • Deputy Judge, Small Claims Court, Central West Region, presiding in Brampton, Milton and Burlington since 2010
  • JusticeNet Advisory Board Member (2016) 
  • The Advocates’ Society
  • Law Society of Upper Canada, Pro Bono Duty Counsel (2010-2013)
  • Peel Law Association
  • ADR Institute of Canada, certified as both Mediator and Arbitrator
  • Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, Board of Directors (2013-2014)
  • Ontario Expropriation Association

Involvement

  • Board Member, William Osler Health Centre (2000-2008)
  • Past Chair, Halton-Peel Grant Review Team, Ontario Trillium Foundation, responsible for selecting grants of approximately $9 million across Halton and Peel (2004-2007), Board Member (2002-2004)
  • Founding Chair, William Osler Health Centre Foundation (Brampton, Etobicoke and Georgetown Hospitals) and Chair of Foundation (2000-2006)
  • Junior Achievement of Peel, Board Member (1996-2002)
  • Recipient of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Heart of Gold Award, 1997
  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Vice-Chair and Provincial Board member (1996-1999) and Brampton Chapter President (1993-1996)
  • St. Leonard Catholic Church, Lector since 1992, Finance Committee Chair since 2012, Member since 2004
  • Coached youth baseball and hockey (1995-2005)

Awards

Peel Law Association 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

Speaking/Teaching Engagements

  • Guest Lecturer on Costs of Motions, Queens Law School, March 2016
  • Chair, OBA Enterprising Lawyer, March 2016  
  • American Bar Association International Law Section, Chicago, "Is the Profession in Decline?" July, 2015
  • Co-Chair, Litigation Costs - Costs on Motions, Ontario Bar Association, June 1, 2015
  • Accounting and Record Keeping Obligations of:  Estate Trustees, Attorneys, Guardians, Contested Passing of Accounts - Peel Law Association, May 13, 2015
  • Tips and Traps when Preparing Estate Accounts; How to Avoid Estate Litigation. With Sahar Cadili. Certified Professional Accountants Presentation, December 17, 2014
  • Out of Time: Limitation Periods in Trusts and Estates Law. With Sezar Bune. Ontario Bar Association Institute 2014 – Trusts and Estates Law; February 6, 2014
  • Estate Litigation and Costs: Protecting Your Client (And Yourself). With David Alli. Law Society of Upper Canada – 16th Annual Estates and Trusts Summit; November 11, 2013
  • How to Survive in the Lion’s Den: Best Practices in the Assessment Office. With Robert Ryan. Ontario Bar Association Institute – Sole/Small Firm/General Practitioner; February 7, 2013
  • Co-Chair, Sole, Small Firm and General Practice Program, Ontario Bar Association Institute, 2013
  • University of Toronto Law School, Judge and Supervisor, Upper Year Moots, 2012-2014
  • Co-Chair, OBA Trusts and Estates Institute Program, 2012-2013
  • Dealing with Costs. With Robert Ryan. Law Society of Upper Canada; April 3, 2012
  • Costs in Estates Litigation: A Paradigm Shift in Approach. With Kiran Gill. Ontario Bar Association–Trusts & Estates; February 22, 2011
  • University of Toronto, Judge, 2-year Diploma Program in Investigative & Forensic Accounting, 2010
  • The Basics: Some Common Claims in Estate Litigation. With Gosha Sekhon. Ontario Bar Association - Estate Litigation: A Primer; December 9, 2009
  • Solicitor and Client Assessments: How to Avoid Them, How to Maximize Recovery. Lincoln County Law Association; September 25, 2009
  • Great Expectations: A Practical Examination into the Workings of Contingency Fee Agreements in the Practice of Personal Injury. With Iris Pichini. Osgoode Professional Development Personal Injury Law and Practice; September 21, 2009
  • Maximizing Costs Recovery Following a Motion or Application. Peel Law Association; June 23, 2009
  • Demystifying Solicitor-Client Assessments: What They Never Taught You in Law School. Young Lawyer’s Division East – Ottawa; March 11, 2009
  • Maximizing Costs Recovery Following a Motion or Application. Simcoe Law Association; January 21, 2009
  • Recent Developments in Costs Recovery Following Trial. With Tejdeep Chattha. September 11, 2007
  • Attacking Excessive Costs Requests. LawPro; January 11, 2007
  • The Second Battleground: Maximizing Cost Recovery. With Catherine Mann. Ontario Bar Association, Grid Talk:Judging Costs; November 27, 2006
  • Show Me the Money – How to Get What You Deserve at Assessments. Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association Spring Conference: Be in the Know: Empowered for Trial; Spring 2005
  • The New Costs Grid. Peel Law Association; April 10, 2002
  • Party and Party Costs: How to Prepare Your Bill of Costs – How to Present Your Bill of Costs. Law Society of Upper Canada, Costs: The Bottom Line; October 20, 1999
  • Determining Fair Market Value. Canadian Bar Association – Ontario; May 26, 1997
  • All Your Ducks In A Row: Preparing for the Hearing. Law Society of Upper Canada, No Pain, No Gain; March 5, 1997
  • Assessment of Costs. Canadian Bar Association – Ontario; February 27, 1996
  • Costs - Practice Points. Law Firm Internal Seminar, 1991
  • Frequent speaker for the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Bar Association, The Advocates’ Society, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, the Law Associations for Algoma, Peel, Simcoe, Lincoln, Frontenac and Carleton County Law Associations, the Osgoode Symposium, Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, and the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario
  • Instructor at the Bar Admission Course for 14 years (advocacy, civil litigation and alternative dispute resolution)
  • Sheridan College (Brampton Campus), Business Law

Publications

  • "Enforcing Judgments and Orders, Second Edition." Edwin G. Upenieks, Robert J. van Kessel. Toronto; ON:  LexisNexis Canada Inc., 2016
  • "Ensuring OBA's Relevance Key for New President", Law Times Interview; August 31, 2015
  • "Expropriated! What to Do Before the Bulldozers Get to the Gate”. The Lawrences Letter, 2012
  • “Great Expectations:A Practical Examination of the Workings of Contingency Fee Agreements in the Practice of Personal Injury Litigation”. With Iris Pichini. The Advocates’ Quarterly, vol. 37 no. 1, 2011.
  • Case Comment: Reid Estate v. Reid, [2010] O.J. No. 1815 and [2010] O.J. No. 3076: Costs – The New Battleground in Estate Litigation, Ontario Bar Association Deadbeat, Vol. 29, No. 1; October, 2010
  • “Family law a major target for LawPRO claims”, Law Times Interview; November 9, 2009
  • "You’ve Been Served with an Assessment of Costs Notice: Now What?" The Advocates’ E-Brief, vol. 20, no. 2, Winter 2009, pp. 3-5.
  • “Risk Management: How to Minimize the Costs of Litigation”. The Lawrences Letter, Winter 2008.
  • “Lawyers can’t contract out of statutory account assessments”. Law Times Interview; July 9, 2007.
  • “Risk Management: How to Avoid Litigation”. The Lawrences Letter, Summer 2007
  • "Enforcing Judgments and Orders." Edwin G. Upenieks, Robert J. van Kessel. Markham; ON: Butterworths Canada, 2002
  • "Structured Settlements – Are They Here to Stay?" The Advocates’ Quarterly, vol. 3, no. 4, November 1982
Jul 26, 2017 | Article

Costs in Personal Injury Actions

The cost of bringing legal action is a major issue in access to justice, especially in personal injury cases. This article outlines the approaches the Court can take in assessing the amount of costs to be paid by the unsuccessful party in a personal injury case.

Jul 26, 2017 | Article

Costs in Class Actions

Class actions were intended to provide access to justice for those unable to bring individual legal actions. However, if the class action fails, the plaintiffs may end up bearing the burden of costs. This article outlines the ways in which the courts can deal with an unfair cost burden.

Jun 03, 2015 | Presentation

Tips and Traps when Preparing Estate Accounts; How to Avoid Estate Litigation

Estate litigation often means thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and a significant delay in the administration of an estate. In addition to possibly depleting the assets of an estate, estate litigation often destroys families and relationships. At times, the total monies spent in legal fees is not much less than the value of the entire estate.

While estate litigation involving will challenges is fairly common, a significant amount of estate litigation involves estate accounting and the propriety of the conduct of executors and trustees in the management and administration of an estate. Some litigation is unavoidable, particularly where there has been mismanagement or a breach of trust by the executor or trustee. However, a significant amount of litigation can be avoided by maintaining proper estate accounting and understanding the role of an executor or trustee of an estate.

Nov 11, 2013 | Presentation

Estate Litigation and Costs: Protecting Your Client (and Yourself)

At the outset of litigation, costs can sometimes be a distant thought, as the reality of being saddled with the fees of one’s opponent have not yet become tangible. However, judges are lending more consideration to costs, and counsel should be increasingly mindful of that. Years ago costs were not really an area that justified acute attention. Nevertheless, with the development of this area in the estates context, it becomes clear that this last-leg of combat requires strategic thinking from the inception of litigation. The conduct during the proceedings can have a large determination as to how costs are finally apportioned.

Dec 01, 2011 | Article

Expropriated: What to Do Before the Bulldozers Get to the Gate

Mike and Joe run a small trucking company. Their office and yard where they keep their trucks and equipment are conveniently located beside the highway. They have just leased part of their property to a neighbouring business for parking. This morning, their office administrator greets them at the door with a Notice of Expropriation from the Ministry of Transportation: the province is widening the highway. What now?

Dec 01, 2008 | Article

Risk Management: How to Minimize the Cost of Litigation

Litigation can be very expensive: one recent Ontario survey found that the average matter proceeding to trial costs each party $38,000 in legal costs. If litigation is inevitable in a business dispute, several steps can be taken to minimize the cost.

Apr 01, 2007 | Article

Risk Management: How to Avoid Litigation

Running a business can be all-consuming. From finding a business partner to leasing business premises and dealing with clients, every decision contributes to the success or failure of the business.

News

Mar 24, 2017

Ed Upenieks Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Lawrences' head of Litigation, Ed Upenieks, was recently honoured with the Peel Law Association's 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for "substantial ...

May 24, 2016

Enforcing Judgments and Orders 2nd Edition

The second edition of Enforcing Judgments and Orders, a textbook for the legal profession, has just been published. Lawrences partners Ed Upenieks ...

“As I came to require the services of lawyers regularly over the past two decades, during which I am sorry to say the number of lawyers I required reached double figures, I soon understood how important trust and integrity are within the lawyer-client relationship—as important as or more important than in almost any other.

Following a first matter in which I sought advice from Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP, and during which I was treated with respect, provided with wise advice, as well as achieving success, I sought their counsel on several subsequent matters. The lawyer with whom I worked, Ed Upenieks, was expertly competent and realistic, but equally responsive and sympathetic—a combination of qualities to be appreciated by anyone who has needed legal counsel with all the anxiety and uncertainty with which that need is usually associated. It was a unique experience working with Ed, whose support, knowledge, preparation, and integrity were critical to our success.

I cannot more highly recommend Ed, as well as the unparalleled expertise of the legal team of Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP.”

Dr. Nancy Olivieri, MD, FRCP(C)

Professor, Pediatrics, Medicine and Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Canada; Senior Scientist, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada; Executive Director, Hemoglobal

Headwaters Health Care Foundation has worked with Ed Upenieks and his team at Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP on several occasions. The estate advice and assistance he provides our Foundation has resulted in a number of very positive outcomes. Our interactions with Ed and his colleagues are always extremely professional, precise, and timely. I personally enjoy the warm and collaborative approach Ed uses in his daily practice. I would recommend this legal firm without hesitation.

Joan Burdette
Headwaters Health Care Foundation
CFRE, Executive Director

“My father and uncle started working with Ed Upenieks over 30 years ago. Many lawyers and clerks have assisted us with Real Estate, Corporate, Estates, and Litigation matters. We have always received excellent legal work and have enjoyed the professional and personal touch from everyone at Lawrences. I would highly recommend the firm of Lawrences to everyone (except our competitors).”

Sandra Corona
R. Corona Properties Corp.
Property Manager

© 2015 Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP

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43 Queen Street West, Brampton, ON, Canada L6Y 1L9
Telephone: 905.451.3040 Fax: 905.451.5058 Email: lls@lawrences.com

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