MARK DAVIES is a partner at BC’s oldest law firm, Richards Buell Sutton LLP. His areas of expertise are corporate, commercial and real estate law, with specialties in realization, secured transactions, and insolvency topics ranging from debtor re-organizations and workouts to bankruptcy and creditor remedies.
Mark has acted for numerous financial institutions, private lenders, and businesses in enforcing remedies, restructuring, and advising distressed businesses. He also advises in both the lending and realization areas of personal property security law with a particular emphasis on priority issues.
Mark is on the editorial board of CLEBC’s BC Personal Property Security Act Practice Manual and is chair of the upcoming CLEBC seminar on PPSA.
How and why did you get involved with CLEBC?
My first CLEBC experience was in the previous geological era, sometime in the 80’s. That uncovered a latent urge to tell other people what to do. Teaching allows an opportunity to thump one’s chest without immediate contradiction, such as by smarty pants lawyers. A little later, the connection between teaching and learning (in order to teach) dawned on me, leading to more chest thumping.
What are you are currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
Paul Bradley, Don Bird and I have recently overseen the 2014 update of the BC PPSA Practice Manual. In early 2015 I will be involved with the first CLEBC seminar on PPSA in several years.
What has been your most memorable CLEBC experience?
Probably surviving the first one relatively unscathed. CLEBC seminars weren’t videotaped then, but it was still a trial of nerves to assert to a large audience that I was worth listening to while refraining from yawning or snickering. I was relieved to then be able to resume my practice instead of having to seek a new career.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
The bit about the birds and the bees. After that, to concern myself with reputation (read Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities). Although you can fool many people much of the time, now we have the Internet, and cameras in elevators. And lawyers are incurable gossips. After all, who decided we need confidentiality agreements and privacy legislation!
What advice would you give newcomers who are interested in working in the legal profession?
To check their motives. At the same time as everybody hates lawyers, they all want their children to become one. While most legal recruits are likely motivated by visions of paycheques, the forgotten benefit is to learn how to work effectively within the structures that govern our increasingly complex society. If you don’t learn it for yourself, you’ll probably have to hire lawyers to advise you. That’ll teach you.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
Working with and getting to know so many intelligent, capable, and engaging (most of them anyway) people has been an unanticipated and profound personal benefit of my legal career.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
I’m not passionate so much about law but about the things law enables, such as being able to play pool without having to duck bullets. I am passionate about many products of civilization: books, better food, wine, toilet paper...
What are some of your favourite legal resources? (blogs, websites, etc.)
Not keen on legal blogs and websites. CLEBC manuals are often the best place to start investigating a legal dilemma.
Anything you’d like to shamelessly promote? (favourite charity, social cause, etc.)
Yes, not stuffing absolutely everything imaginable into the computer. I’ve had a lot of fun with reality and I find virtual reality a lot like fast food; it makes for a good photo op but lacks the real meal deal.