Faren Bogach - Founder and Lawyer
When I was in kindergarten we were instructed to draw a picture of what we liked to do most. In purple crayon, I drew a picture of me at a table. The caption said: “I like to work.”
It is still true. I like to work.
I started as a commercial litigator before I found construction and infrastructure law. I litigated and learned how things are built, or should be built. I became a partner at a large firm with one of the biggest construction law groups in Toronto.
I founded Construct Legal to focus on client outcomes instead of the billable hour. I have been in your shoes before. I am a board member of two not-for-profits involved in two large affordable housing construction projects. My legal advice is not off-the-rack. It is tailored to client needs and desired outcomes.
As the construction industry modernizes, legal innovation must keep pace. I have spent hundreds of hours co-developing Pay Prompt (www.payprompt.ca), which is software that provides a step-by-step process to help manage prompt payment in Ontario without needing to call a lawyer.
I am involved in the construction industry. I am a former director of the Canadian Association of Women in Construction, taught the Construction Law course at George Brown and was on the Ontario Bar Association - Construction Law Executive.
And while trying to push the construction industry forward, I explain to my three kids how things are built and try to answer their tough questions. I also try to save a few of their drawings from school.
Andrew Gurlesky - Lawyer
Clients generally don’t call me unless they have a problem. Over the past 39 years I’ve had many of those calls, resulting in opportunities to work together with people in the construction industry to achieve positive outcomes.
Most problems relate to disputes over non-performance. The nature of those disputes has varied - complex claims for payment, termination, performance errors, delay, loss of productivity and costs of change. My involvement is often early, day to day, ongoing inquiries; addressing problems, identifying solutions before issues become uncontrollably contentious.
Disputes don’t always result in early resolution, and I engage for my clients in mediation, arbitration, large, document intensive, lengthy litigation in courts at all levels in Ontario.
The projects and industries have been diverse: heavy industrial, commercial, hospitals, high rise residential/commercial, energy, tunnelling, and mining.
I work with clients in negotiating, structuring and drafting project agreements, assessing, managing and allocating risk – bringing to bear risk experience gained through litigation.
I believe that successful problem resolution requires effective communication and understanding with clients, to develop an early assessment of target or acceptable outcomes – then plan and act to achieve those outcomes bearing in mind the practical and economic realities.
Beyond day to day practice, I have presented many seminars and lectures to lawyers and the industry, on a variety of relevant topics including claims, liens, trusts, project and contract drafting, risk avoidance and management, and even probability theory based outcome/settlement analysis. I value sharing my perspectives and experience through the teaching process.
When I’m not solving problems, you may find me sliding on skiis and boards (snow and water), riding one of my 5 bikes (road and mountain), or playing one of my 10 guitars.
Professional Peer Recognition – Construction
Canadian Legal Expert Directory – since 2012
The Best Lawyers in Canada – since 2010
Martindale-Hubbell – since 2001
Fellow and former Governor of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers
Paul Conrod - Lawyer
Growing up in a family of engineers, I became interested in construction from an early age. From the houses being built in our neighbourhood to new towers downtown, I wanted to see and understand how everything is built.
I enjoy working with people and the law. Ensuring that clients have excellent service is something that I understand from my many years in the food and customer service industries. I learned that it is not only important to give good quality product but also excellent service by always being responsive and attentive to my clients’ needs. These skills also apply to my role as a lawyer, where I listen to my clients, understand their problems, and help them achieve their objectives – whether this means early resolution of a dispute, or going all the way to arbitration, adjudication, or trial.
Construction disputes often involve complicated contracts and specific technical issues. My teaching experience abroad before law school, and more recently as an instructor of construction law at George Brown College, has given me the skills to explain these complex concepts in a simple and persuasive way to judges and arbitrators.
I have worked in construction law since day one of my legal career. I have acted for different sizes of companies with different sized problems on all types of projects. Before joining Construct Legal, I worked in the construction law group at a prominent Bay Street firm.
When I’m not working, I am most likely practicing cello, hiking, or cheering on the Toronto Raptors.
James De Melo - Lawyer
I have always wanted to be a lawyer. Even before I could tell you why I wanted to be one, I knew this was the career for me. From the moment I started to practice law I knew that construction law was the field for me. I love the fact that as part of each mandate there is something tangible in the world that I can point to and say I played some (small) part in that project’s story.
I started my career working with the construction group of a well known Bay Street firm. I have had the opportunity to learn from and develop my practice working for a number of well respected construction lawyers. This has allowed me to develop my own style as a resolution focused lawyer while also affording me the opportunity to play significant roles in all manner of dispute resolution processes ranging from mediations to adjudications, all the way up to arbitrations and trials.
My specific approach to the practice of construction law involves putting what you are actually saying and asking for first. I recognize that each dispute is unique and that a one-sized fits all approach to dispute resolution often results in inefficiencies and suboptimal outcomes. I will work with you to explain not only what I am doing to resolve your issues, but also work with you to determine the reason to take those steps. I firmly believe that explaining the process behind decisions can help stop future issues from becoming new disputes.
Outside of law, I am typically either slowly losing my sanity trying to keep up with two pandemic puppies in a Toronto-sized condo or losing my voice trying to coach the Packers and Raptors through the TV.
Rapti Ratnayake - Lawyer
I've always been curious about how law shapes our cities and communities. I chose construction law to better understand how buildings are created and to engage with the various industries that are involved in a construction project.
From the development of homes to skyrise buildings and infrastructure projects, I have discovered that construction disputes are both complex and technical. They require a deeper understanding of relevant and evolving laws, as well as effective communication and attention to a clients’ needs and goals.
From my earliest days in law school, I was intent on learning more about resolving disputes effectively and took various courses to learn about the procedures of arbitrations, mediations and trials. These experiences, along with my articling experience at a Bay Street firm, allowed me to understand that every dispute is unique. I aim to simplify legal problems and find practical solutions to complex issues.
Beyond the legal hustle, you can find me cruising around on my bike or soaking up Toronto's food and film scene.
Mike Brown - Chief of Everything
For as long as I can remember, my philosophy when it came to doing anything in life was simple: do whatever I was tasked with as best as I possibly could. Whether that meant writing a short story for my high school Writer’s Craft class, or making the best smash burger this side of Shake Shack, my goal was to always try my hardest at everything I did.
This mindset has stuck with me throughout my 12 years in the legal industry, first as a legal assistant and the last four as a law clerk at one of the top law firms in the province.
Trying your hardest sounds easy enough, but if it was, everyone would do it. To me, putting everything you have into everything you do is the biggest challenge of all. As Chief of Everything at Construct Legal, I can honestly say that I have found the perfect role to match my philosophy.
Tara Hobel - Legal Assistant Extraordinaire
With over four years’ litigation assistance experience and my detailed knowledge of relevant procedural law, I am well prepared to provide exceptional ancillary support to the Construct Legal team as our office’s dedicated legal assistant. I was the top graduating student for both my Honours B.A. program at the University of Toronto and my post-graduate paralegal certificate from Humber College, so hard work is a familiar friend. Outside of work, you can find me trying to remember how to play the flute.