Complex, challenging, and rewarding: What drives Oatley Vigmond lawyers to excel in the space

'Litigating fearlessly and fairly' earned the firm its reputation — and its recognition

Ben Irantalab, partner at Oatley Vigmond, discusses why he jumped at the opportunity to come aboard — he saw his own approach of obtaining the best result for clients, whether it's a win in the courtroom or a well-negotiated settlement, reflected back at him — and what the future holds for the top-ranking firm. From keeping up with regulatory changes, to continuously sharpening advocacy skills, to implementing technology, Oatley Vigmond continues to evolve to keep its spot at the top.

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Greg Greenberg  00:00:06 

Hello and welcome to Canadian Lawyer TV. I'm Greg Greenberg from Key Media. And today we're speaking to Ben Irantalab, Partner at Oatley Vigmond LLP, about the firm's recent accolade. It was honored as one of Canadian Lawyer's Top Personal Injury Boutiques. And we're going to speak with Ben about what this acknowledgement means to him and the firm. Thanks very much for being here with us today, Ben. 

Ben Irantalab  00:00:27 

Good morning, Greg, and great to be here with you. Thank you for having me. 

Greg Greenberg  00:00:32 

Okay, well start off with you, Ben. What do you enjoy about practicing in this particular area? What are the highlights?  

Ben Irantalab  00:00:38 

Yeah, the two highlights that come to mind. Firstly, it say it's one of the most rewarding areas of the law, if not the most rewarding. And secondly, it's a very complex and challenging area of the law, which which makes it interesting. It's rewarding because we make a positive impact on every one of our clients lives. And there's no feeling more gratifying than knowing that what we do on a daily basis makes a difference to the lives of people who have suffered significant injuries. Our clients said are real people do not corporations, do not companies, they're in individuals who come to us in their most difficult and vulnerable times, they usually come to us right after going through some form of trauma. The trauma can involve having sustained injuries themselves, or perhaps having lost a loved one in an accident. And so they come to us at a time that they're quite vulnerable. And they placed their trust on us to fight for them vigorously. And to beg, give them a fair compensation. 

Greg Greenberg  00:01:39 

Are there any regulatory changes or trends or challenges you're seeing in the personal injury field, that you're keeping an eye on right now? 

Ben Irantalab  00:01:49 

Yep, yep. Currently, we're keeping an eye on the proposed changes to the automobile insurance laws that we know the provincial government is interested in making. To give your viewers some context and background, Greg. And when we look at the history of automobile insurance reform, we see a trend that in about every six to seven, perhaps eight years, the provincial government decides to make some major changes to auto insurance laws. And the government's stated objective, every time that they propose these changes, is to reduce the consumers insurance premiums, so to reduce our automobile insurance premiums. But I can tell you, Greg, that if we take a look at what they've actually achieved over the last two to three decades, no government has actually succeeded in lowering our automobile insurance premiums. And we all know very well that every year our premiums continue to increase. For example, we know the last major change came about in 2016, under the casting when government, and at the time, they changed the law to make it much more difficult for people who have sustained significant injuries to qualify for what is called a catastrophic impairment, they also reduce the available benefits to people who are at catastrophic impaired from $2 million to a million dollars. So insurance companies would now have to pay half of what they used to pay prior to 2016 on these significant claims. And they said that's going to help reduce our insurance premiums. Well, you know, eight years have now passed since those changes. And we know very well that none of our insurance premiums have been lowered. In fact, they've achieved the opposite result, it's continued to increase every year. Fast forward to the present time. We know from the budget that the government say released in March, that it's interested in making some changes to other insurance laws again, but we don't know exactly. We don't have enough information to know exactly what those changes are going to be. We know that the government is planning on making certain benefits that are currently mandatory. They're planning on making them optional. And again, they're saying that by making these mandatory benefits optional, that the consumer can save money on their premiums, but it's a great if the past is any indication, I'm not too optimistic that they're going to achieve their objective, the stated objective of lowering our premiums. 

Greg Greenberg  00:04:20 

And you came aboard the firm in 2013 and moved up to partner last year. So why did you initially choose Oatley Vigmond?  

Ben Irantalab  00:04:29 

Its reputation. First and foremost, Oatley Vigmond's reputation. Its reputation for taking tough cases to trial and obtaining outstanding results. Its reputation for providing excellent client services and its reputation within the legal industry at large. So when the opportunity presented for me to join or meant for me, the decision was an easy one. 

Greg Greenberg  00:04:52 

And there's a lot of great firms out there. But what would you say elevates the firm to level of a Top Personal Injury Boutique? An award winner. 

Ben Irantalab  00:05:00 

Yeah, great question, Greg. I would say first and foremost, I think it's the results that we obtain for our clients that we think elevates us to the level of a top personal injury boutique. And results can come in different forms. Sometimes an excellent result is winning in the courtroom. Other times an excellent result is achieved by real well negotiated settlement. But overall, we always strive to be the best at what we do and work hard through meticulous procreation, expert advocacy, and the use of our extensive resources to obtain superior results, and i think that's what elevates us to the level of a top personal injury boutique, over the years great gain by litigating fearlessly and fairly, we've earned the respect of our address service, the judiciary, and most importantly, our clients. And recognitions, such as these are testament to the respect that we've earned among our peers and colleagues. 

Greg Greenberg  00:05:55 

And then finally, Ben, what's next for the firm? 

Ben Irantalab  00:05:58 

Yeah, we're gonna continue doing what we do best Greg, and that's advocating on behalf of clients who have either suffered significant injuries or have lost a loved one in an accident, and we're going to continue to obtain excellent results for them. We also want to continue to be forward thinking and when you technology comes along, that allows us to become more persuasive in the boardroom, or perhaps become more efficient in the office. You gotta make sure to be amongst the first in the industry to adopt that technology and to implement it into our practice.  

Greg Greenberg  00:06:31 

Well, it's been a pleasure talking to you today, Ben, and learning more about Oatley Vigmond. Thank you and congratulations again on being named one of Canadian Lawyer's Top Personal Injury Boutiques. 

Ben Irantalab  00:06:41 

Thanks for having me. Great. It was great to chat and see you this morning. 

Greg Greenberg  00:06:46 

And thanks to our audience for joining us today. Make sure you stay tuned for more award spotlights. I'm Greg Greenberg for Canadian Lawyer TV.