Edward (Ned) Levitt is one of Canada's leading authorities in franchising and distribution law. He has represented some of the world's foremost franchises and provides legal services to Canadian and International clients on all aspects of Canadian franchise law. Additionally, from 2000-2007, he was General Counsel to the Canadian Franchise Association.
Ned is a prolific writer having published numerous books, papers and articles on franchise and distribution law, including Canadian Franchise Legislation (Markham: LexisNexis, 2001). He has contributed articles to numerous business and industry publications, including Canadian Business Magazine, The Franchise Voice, the ABA's Franchise Law Journal, the IBA's Journal of Franchising and Distribution Law, Ontario Restaurant News and The Bottom Line.
Ned is often quoted in the media and has appeared on several television programs, including CTV's W5, CBC's Venture, CHCH TV's Let's Talk "Franchising" and Channel 47's Business Insight, and Report on Business TV.
We asked Ned about his background and daily challenges he faces
1. How long have you been practicing law? How did you begin your law career?
I have been in practice for 45 years. I articled in 1973 with the law firm of Lash, Johnston, Sheard and Pringle and was called to the bar in 1975. This was a business law firm and I thrived in their business oriented approach to client matters. I succeeded in their articling program and was asked to join the firm after the bar admission course.
2. What has your approach been to the ‘business of law’ side of the practice?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and, from the beginning of my law career, I found myself seeking business solutions for my clients, even as I explored their legal solutions. This approach led me to strike out on my own at 390 Bay Street in Toronto, with only 3.5 years of practice experience, 3 young children and a sizeable mortgage. Somehow, things worked out and I never looked back.
3. What challenges are presenting themselves and how are you handling them?
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a very difficult time for everyone, myself included. However, I have always survived through difficult times and even discovered opportunities to grow professionally and as a human being in unexpected ways.
4. What is a typical day like for you? What is the best part of your job?
I like to be busy in work and in my personal life. So, a typical day is full of many telephone calls, emails and meetings. I love problem solving and helping others achieve their very best outcomes. The best part of my job is when a client or colleague says that I helped them and they thank me for it.
5. On a totally different note, how do you like to spend your time when you are not at work?
In order of preference: doing anything with my 3 grandchildren, a good meal and a movie with my wife of 50 years, spending time at my cottage on Georgian Bay and a long bike ride.