Mark V. Lewis—In the Spotlight

Practice Point

Mark V. Lewis—In the Spotlight

December 2021

This month’s spotlight shines on Mark V. Lewis of Bennett Jones.

How did you first get involved with CLEBC?

I think my first involvement was helping with updates to the Due Diligence Deskbook in the late 1990s. According to the CLEBC binders in my office, my first official involvement was in 2005, presenting a paper about drafting purchase and sale agreements for real estate transactions as part of a Real Estate Fundamentals course. I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I seem to recall but there definitely would have been a lot of butterflies and a deep breath or two before I first spoke.

What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?

Since 2014, I’ve co-chaired (with CLEBC legend Ed Wilson) the bi-annual Real Estate Development Update, with the most recent iteration taking place earlier this year. In 2015, I joined the editorial board for the Real Estate Development Practice Manual and I’m the author of two chapters in that publication, including the Development Marketing chapter, which I’ve written since the Province brought in the Real Estate Development Marketing Act. I’ve also been an author for the British Columbia Mortgages Practice Manual since 2006.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?

There are no lawyers in my family but sometime around Grade 10 I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer doing business transactions. From that point onward I was pretty focused on that goal. I was fascinated with business from an early age and very obsessed with solving puzzles; I think I saw being a solicitor as a natural combination of those two interests.

What inspired you to practice in real estate development?

The easy answer would be that the inspiration came from my father who was a developer but the truth is that I never really thought of real estate as an area in which I wanted to practice until after I started my articles (at Ladner Downs). The firm had an outstanding real estate practice and the partners in the group very quickly introduced me to a lot of responsibility and complexity beyond conveyancing. The lawyers in the group and the fast pace of the practice won me over. It was a bonus that it helped to explain many years of meal-time conversations that had only made a vague amount of sense when I was young.

What is the most valuable piece of advice that you have received in your career?

Never assume you know the answer (even if you’re sure that you do); take the time to make sure that you’ve got it right. And turn on spellcheck.

Other than law, what are you passionate about?

I’ve been actively involved in a number of volunteer roles. I’ve spent ten years on the board of the Urban Development Institute, and I’m currently engaged in board and fundraising work in the education and healthcare sectors, with a particular focus on support for mental health and addiction. I’ve also spent a lot of time working with amateur sports organizations, having served twelve years on the board of the Vancouver Rowing Club, including two years as Club President, as well as time on the executive of the New Westminster Minor Hockey Association. Earlier this year I started my second two-year term as the President of BC Rugby; leading a provincial sports organization during a pandemic has been an interesting learning experience.

The last 21 months have also reminded me how much I love being outside enjoying all the activities BC has to offer year-round. I took up skiing again last winter after many years away from the slopes (and even tried snowboarding for the first time). On weekends I can usually be found somewhere on a golf course but only sometimes close to where I want to be.

What do you look forward to most in 2022?

My younger child graduates from high school next year and is planning to go away to university so my wife and I will soon be empty nesters! We are looking forward to that experience with both trepidation and curiosity. I’m hopeful that travel will feel more inviting by then and that we’ll start visiting friends and family who we haven’t seen in person for far too long.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t send a big thank-you to my UBC Law ’96 classmates and long-time CLE superstars Joy Tataryn and Teresa Sheward, with whom I’ve had the great pleasure of working on almost all of my publications and presentations. It’s been a real treat working with them for so many years. (Maybe we’ll finally get to have our postponed 25-Year Class Reunion in 2022!)