Omar Ha-Redeye is a Toronto lawyer focusing on health law (personal injury, medical malpractice, occupational health and safety, health policy) and reputation management (online defamation, crisis communications, public relations).
He is a graduate (Juris Doctor) of the law program at the University of Western Ontario. He teaches law and ethics at Ryerson University as an Adjunct Faculty member, and is a regular lecture in communications and social media at the Schulich School of Business. He also teaches "Reputation Management Law" at Solo Practice University. He currently sits on the Ontario Bar Association as an executive of the Young Lawyers Division.
Below is my interview with Omar Ha-Redeye.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a sole practitioner practicing in association with Fleet Street Law. I am also a part-time instructor at Centennial College and Ryerson University, and I am the General Manager at My Support Calculator.
Why did you choose to study law?
Law was my fifth career. I went to school and worked in four other fields before law: nuclear medicine technology, health administration, emergency management and public relations.
I came across legal elements in many of the areas I worked it, which led to an initial interest. In considering post-graduate options I contemplated an MBA, MPA or other options, but eventually decided to go with a law degree because it is far more versatile and there are significant public interest angles for which it can be used.
What do you think is the most important legal skill you gained from Law School?
For me law school only enhanced and honed skills I was already developing. Law schools like to say they teach law students how to think. I like to think I knew how to do that before I went to law school. But where I have really seen the difference is in the manner in which legal arguments are advanced, and how situations can be analyzed using a legal framework. It’s not sufficient to just say something is illegal, you need to express the reason why and the basis for making that claim.
Can you give us a quick overview of your practice?
My background and training was in civil litigation primarily, specifically in the area of personal injury. I still maintain a practice in this area. I also draw on some of my many experiences before law school to have a broader practice in the health industry, as well as a practice focusing on Internet issues.
How did you become a solo practitioner working in these areas of law?
Sole practice was the best option for me at this stage in my life. I am working on my LLM in Health Law at Osgoode Hall, and I’m very involved in the legal community, especially through the Ontario Bar Association. I wanted to have the flexibility in my life to pursue these interests, and none of the numerous law firm opportunities I was presented adequately provided that option.
Were you always interested in working in these areas of law? If not, how did you end up finding your niche?
Yes, these areas of practice were always of interest to me.
What are your favourite aspects of your job? What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
The flexibility and control over your schedule helps to manage stress. But this same flexibility can be challenging because it’s easy for it to become overwhelming.
Do you think law school prepared you enough in order to work as a solo practitioner?
It certainly did not. That’s not what law schools do. But they do hopefully provide you the skills to figure things out down the road.
Any advice for law students interested in opening a solo practice?
It’s not easy, and you should be prepared to take pay cuts as needed. Client development is continuous, and students should probably start making those contacts and networks while they are still in school. Practices grow slowly over time, so there’s a great deal of patience needed.