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Toronto Associates      

Our Defining Principles

  • We believe in unceasing and uncompromising pursuit of professional excellence resulting in timely, effective and ethical service to our clients.
  • We continuously challenge our people to stretch their capabilities.
  • We welcome diversity and individual initiative that promotes the overall interests of the team.
  • We treat each person we encounter with respect, dignity and fairness.
  • We believe in our spirit of adventure.
  • We believe in an open and democratic firm, with strong and effective leadership that is accountable and accessible.
  • It is these characteristics, taken together, that distinguish and define us.

Here are some inspiring words about Stikeman Elliott 's defining principles from our partner Dick Pound's address to the firm at the Stikeman Elliott 50th Anniversary Retreat in Whistler, B.C. in 2002:

  1. Never lose sight of the need for diversity among us. We will need the broadest range of talents and backgrounds as we face a national and international future. Embrace and seek out differences; do not reject them.

  2. Anticipate and be ready for change, not as a passive condition that will inevitably occur, but as an agent that will enable us to remain in the forefront as leaders, not unwilling followers.

  3. Be ambitious, both in the perfection of your talents, and in the application of those talents as part of your team. You can be sole practitioners in the desire to become the best you can be, but you practise law as members of a team.

  4. You are in a service profession. Render the best, the most useful, and the most timely service for the benefit of your clients. If they succeed, you succeed.

  5. Work hard and play hard. You cannot work effectively and to the best of your potential without the release valve of play. What you play at is up to you, but be sure you leave enough space in your lives for it.

  6. You practise within the context of a community and a society that is bigger than the profession. The law in the public practice in which we engage is not abstract. Our job is to understand both the law and its social context. One without the other cannot succeed.

  7. Think outside the box. Anyone can stay inside the box, but the way you add value to our clients is to be creative. Lots of lawyers know the law, but only the best know it well enough to use it, not just parrot it. Know the law better than all the others in the profession, and then you will be able to use it.

  8. Remember how we got here. It is fashionable in this age of instant sound bites and no sense of history to forget that there are roots. This firm has the greatest of roots, and it will be a mark of your own sense of who you are and where you are going that you give daily honour to those roots.

  9. Stay young. You cannot fight the calendar, but you can stay young in outlook and attitude. There is no better example than Heward Stikeman, who was never old. He died young. He renewed his driver's licence just weeks before he died, fully intending to renew it five years later. He embraced computers at the age of eighty, and not long after that, he participated as part of the firm's crew in a dangerous and demanding boat race around the Isle of Wight. In his eighties, he also raced in the firm's ski races, wearing out ski guides in the Alps, and in Montréal, we would see him at seven in the morning returning from his tennis sessions. He never got old. Don't you get old.

  10. Never, ever, forget that above all else, you are professionals within a profession that is unique and that has a particular responsibility within society. You must have the courage to recognize the responsibilities implicit in being a professional and to act in accordance with the highest standards that the profession exacts from its members.