McLeish Orlando partners explain the factors behind their 2022 award
McLeish Orlando’s expertise in personal injury law is evident in the firm’s longevity, and most recently, in being named one of Canadian Lawyer’s Top Personal Injury Boutiques in 2022. Dale Orlando and Patrick Brown, the firm’s principal partners, told Canadian Lawyer about the reasons behind their success and the challenges they face in personal injury law today.
Since McLeish Orlando was founded in 1999, it has dedicated its personnel and financial resources to the most complex injury cases, ensuring that clients will receive the compensation they deserve. The firm assists those who have suffered serious injuries as a result of motor vehicle and cycling accidents, defective or dangerous products, medical malpractice, and negligence of sport facility operators or other parties involved.
Orlando, who was 29 years old when he established the firm with John McLeish, said the two of them left a full-service firm to create a boutique law firm that would concentrate on personal injury litigation and representing plaintiffs.
About the most pressing issues facing personal injury lawyers and their clients today, Orlando said that setting trial dates and conducting settlement negotiations had become difficult due to pandemic-related disruptions, causing plaintiffs to worry that their cases would take years to be resolved. “[S]ometimes they’re pressured into taking something that we as a firm would consider less than reasonable and fair compensation for what they’ve lost,” he added.
As far as motor vehicle cases were concerned, Brown said he needed to “jump through a lot of hoops to get documents that are produced in every case”. This occurs, for example, when obtaining police files related to motor vehicle crashes, where court orders are needed to obtain unredacted files. He believes this step is unnecessary and “the process should be more streamlined so that people don’t have to run to court” to get the records.
Highlighting the firm’s selectivity with cases, he said the firm “wanted to focus on the people that have the most significant of injuries, because it takes a lot of resources in terms of staff and lawyers in terms of the financial outlay to finance these cases”.
Brown added that by controlling the number of files they handle, McLeish Orlando prioritizes “quality over quantity”. Another feature that differentiates the firm from others is being a paperless office for 20 years, making it easier for the team to work in different locations during the pandemic. The firm also upgrades the technology it uses every year to make sure it can work efficiently and invest time and finances in preparing cases for trial.
Orlando emphasized that the firm is ultimately a business that makes viable financial decisions, but what’s more important is doing good for other people. That’s why when considering which cases would go to trial, the firm determines “how badly injured [and] how functionally impaired [a person is and whether we can] recover money for their loss of income and future cost of care and their pain and suffering,” he said. Supporting their community is also reflected in McLeish Orlando’s substantial donations to spinal cord research, brain injury associations and trauma centers that bring benefits to their clients.
McLeish Orlando also tells clients that their goal is not necessarily to win a large settlement but to help the injured party get better, said Brown. “We want to get you back to doing the things that you enjoy doing. We want to help in that recovery process, and we want to make sure you get the treatment needed,” he said.