Rob Brown was a successful lawyer at a litigation specialty firm in downtown Toronto. He practiced there for ten years and worked on some high profile cases when he felt the grip of the big city tightening. “I knew if I was going to make a change I had to do it then,” he said, “before the business, partnership and society connections in the city became too strong.”
Rob attended a speech at the Law Society discussing the lack of lawyers working in areas beyond Toronto’s borders. It started him thinking seriously about making a change. For some time, he had had it in the back of his mind to move and practice in a smaller centre. Rob had grown up in Dryden and his wife Gail was from a town near Montreal. So they began looking to make a move outside of Toronto.
As it happened, there was an opportunity in Orangeville. Bill Stutz had established a firm in town in 1973 and, after 30 years, wanted to step back a little from the front line and move toward retirement. At the same time he saw the region growing and flourishing and a bright future for his business. In January of 2004, Rob joined the firm as an associate and, with his wife and daughter, moved to Orangeville.
“My wife still works in the city, right downtown, commuting every day,” he said. She drives, but there is GO transportation every weekday to and from the Yorkdale subway station in the north and Union Station terminal right downtown.“We bought a house right away,” said Rob. There was – and still is – a significant difference in price from Toronto to Dufferin County but that is just the beginning of the appeal. “From a personal perspective the area is beautiful, he said. “You have the ability to leave your house and in just five minutes you’re walking along the Bruce Trail.” Rob feels the recreation opportunities are significant – hockey and skating, lacrosse, baseball, soccer, golf, both recreational and rep leagues. The arts flourish in the area as well, with live professional theatre, live music, many art galleries and studios. And everything is close by… even Toronto is in easy reach.
Rob also talks about the schooling in the area, the excellent teachers and different programs, with particular attention to the early diagnosis of dyslexia and understanding of the students’ needs, so they can continue successful learning.
From a business point of view, the firm continues to thrive. Rob and his business partner Jason Self bought the practice from Bill Stutz in 2008 and Bill has since retired. Steve Christie, an associate lawyer, joined the firm a number of years ago, and recently, Carey Allen joined the firm. Like Jason, Carey grew up in the Orangeville area. “The work here is every bit as challenging and just as gratifying as it is in the city,” said Rob. “I’ve had cases where I really feel I have done some good for my clients and that’s the main reason why I became a lawyer.”
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