Frank Bennett, L.S.M., LL.M., specializes in bankruptcy, receivership and insolvency law and is the founder of the Toronto firm Bennett & Company, Bankruptcy Law in Toronto. He is the past Chair of the provincial and national Bankruptcy and Insolvency sections of the CBA, a former member of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Advisory Committee to Industry Canada, and a lecturer. He writes frequently on the subjects of creditors' and debtors' rights and remedies, receivership, and bankruptcy, and is the author of Bennett on Bankruptcy Precedents, 3rd Edition, 2018, Bennett on Bankruptcy 22nd Edition, 2020, Bennett on the Commercial List, 2nd Edition, 2015 and Bennett on the PPSA (Ontario), 3rd Edition, all published by LexisNexis Canada Inc.
We asked Frank about his background, practice and the challenges that he faces.
How long have you been practicing law? How did you begin your law career?
"I was attracted to the legal industry as it was a challenging time back in the middle of the 1960s. Law was very appealing at that time as a profession. I was fortunate enough to get a great legal education at Osgoode Hall Law School and then have an articling at what is now Dentons, formerly called Fraser & Beatty. I learned a great deal about creditor and debtor law, and I have been in that area of practice for 50 years."
What has your approach been to the ‘business of law’ side of the practice?
"Making a good living so that I can afford to travel, and enjoy things around me. The legal industry can give you that practice if you work hard and specialize in an area. It’s more difficult today than it was back then because the number of lawyers in Ontario has increased dramatically. The approach has always been to work for clients and do your very best and accomplish what they expect from a lawyer. In the areas of creditor and debtor law, it is usually a race by the swift so if you’re fast and efficient you can accomplish things for your client if the client is a creditor. And if the client is a debtor, then you try to make your best deal or compromise with the creditors. So, it’s a very challenging area of negotiation and law."
What challenges are presenting themselves and how are you handling them?
"The challenges are keeping up with the law and the changes that are made almost on a daily or weekly basis. There is an abundance of case law in this area of creditor and debtor. It covers everything from airline problems to the zoos running into financial difficulty in caring for the animals during difficult financial times. As the law keeps changing and the government keeps passing legislation, you must stay up on all areas so that you can better advise your clients."
What is a typical day like for you? What is the best part of your job?
"The best part of my job is satisfying clients and making sure they are best protected. Unfortunately, in this area of the law, there is a lot of depression as clients are having financial difficulties, especially now with the COVID-19. When they lose their businesses, they run into problems with their rent and mortgages. The client then run into family law problems as there is no more money for food. The governments are trying to help, but the governments themselves will run into financial distress."
On a totally different note, how do you like to spend your time when you are not at work?
"I’m at work usually from 9 to 6, with most of the work done during the day and then after the hours I read and write and play with my Lord and Lady."
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