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May 17, 2021

Lawyer Profile: Doug E. Fawcett

Areas of focus:
Banking & Finance, Commercial Transactions, Commercial Real Estate

University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Laws, 2007
Brandon University, Bachelor of Arts, 2001

Number of years with Fillmore Riley:

Community Involvement:
Board and Committee Member, Ronald McDonald House Charities® Manitoba (Pediatric Oncology Family Centre of Manitoba Inc.); Committee Member, Dream Factory Foundation Inc.

Last Book Read:
Michael J. Fox’s No Time Like the Future

Why did you become a lawyer?

I did not plan on being a lawyer. My first degree was in sociology with a minor in mathematics. I intended to do graduate work in sociology with a focus on population studies. A friend was writing the LSAT, and I decided to write it too. The test went well. I went to law school and graduated with a degree and, more importantly, I met my wife in law school.

In hindsight, becoming a lawyer made sense. I was interested in business and institutions and how they shape society — the justice system and law have a profound impact on how we live. I also enjoyed debating. I made the right choice because I find the work interesting and challenging. Being a lawyer has also allowed me to give back to the community in meaningful ways.

You maintain a wide-ranging commercial law practice that includes purchase and sale transactions, commercial real estate transactions and banking and financial services. What do you enjoy most about your practice?

The best part of my practice is helping my clients achieve their goals. Everyone comes out happy – for the most part — that can’t be said for every area of law. I’m involved on the business side. So I’m primarily helping people move forward with growing their businesses or exiting after they have been successful.

A good lawyer in this area anticipates clients’ needs and provides common-sense solutions. After practising in banking and finance for more than a decade, I can navigate each situation and cut through the complexity to achieve the best outcome for my client.

How has COVID-19 impacted your practice?

I have been fortunate that the pandemic did not cause a lull in my practice, but the way I practised law changed. In 2020, after the schools transitioned to remote learning, my kids were at home. Before the pandemic, I had firm boundaries between professional and personal life. When I left the office and came home, I focused on being a dad. During the first lockdown, I found it difficult to work at home and be a lawyer and a dad. My wife thinks I’m too hard on myself, but I felt like my kids saw me at my worst.

When the kids went back to school in the fall of 2020, it was easier to maintain a work-life balance. Not having to commute and making the most of technologies has helped me achieve some time efficiencies. I am able to be just as productive as before the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic hasn’t taken a toll on my family. It’s so hard for kids — it’s hard for everyone.

You have also devoted time to giving back to the community and you are a zealous supporter of the United Way. What motivates you to invest in the community?

Life is hard, and you only get to be a kid for so long. I like to help kids who don’t have a chance to be kids because they were born into circumstances that rob them of their childhoods, whether that’s family breakdown, poverty or illness. We’re a two-lawyer family and professionals are in privileged positions. It feels good to be able to make a difference in children’s lives. My wife jokes that I will raise an eyebrow at a $25 Starbucks charge on our credit card, but I will think nothing of donating a much larger amount to a cause that helps kids.

I find it really fulfilling to be involved with The Dream Factory. These kids are battling life-threatening illnesses. The Dream Factory gives them well-deserved moments of pure joy. I am also an ardent supporter of the United Way because the programs they support make such a difference in the lives of so many Winnipeggers.

You took on the role of Capital Campaign chair at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). Why did you get involved?

As a parent and as an uncle, I have directly experienced the warmth and strength that comes from the support provided by RMHC Manitoba when dealing with a sick or injured child requiring medical care.

When a family travels to Winnipeg so their child can get medical care, they shouldn’t have to worry about booking hotels or seeking out support  — that is where RMHC Manitoba can help. By providing accommodations, meals and support for those families, the families can solely focus on supporting their child.

I joined the Capital Campaign Fundraising Committee shortly after joining the Board and subsequently became the chair. We had to change our approach because of COVID-19, but it worked out quite well. We have been successful in raising the money to build the new RMHC Manitoba house – we are very close to our original capital campaign goal. The new house will expand our ability to help more families and provide additional supports. It was so satisfying to attend the ground-breaking ceremony in March.

The new house will increase RMHC’s capacity from 14 to 40 bedrooms. The 48,000 square-foot house will offer larger rooms with private washrooms so families can be comfortable. There will also be specialty suites for bone marrow and solid organ transplant patients. The response from the Manitoba and NW Ontario community to this project has been amazing, so my involvement has been incredibly rewarding.  I am so proud of the RMHC Manitoba team.