“Advocacy is both an art and science. You have to combine creativity, intuition, instinct and flair with thorough review, preparation and fact-based investigation.” - David Thompson
David Thompson’s irreverent, direct style has been getting results for his class action, commercial and civil litigation clients for more than 25 years. His candid, street-smart advice and approachable manner set him apart from the lawyers he regularly faces across the negotiating table or in court.
On Bay Street they call him a cowboy.
David Thompson meets his commercial, civil and class action litigation clients on their terms, because he figures it’s the only way to give them the service they’re looking for. But you’ll never get a pretentious or reserved attitude from him—because there’s only so much he can change.
“Some clients like that we can be scrappers,” he admits. “But that’s not what everyone—including the judge—is looking for. One thing we always encourage is open dialogue. It leads to better representation, because it’s the only way we’ll truly know what the client wants and how they’re comfortable achieving those goals.”
Dave’s personable, charismatic style serves clients well when the case is in full swing. “It’s all about building rapport and making connections,” he says. “In writing I make sure I’m telling the client’s story in a compelling way. When I speak in court I try to be eloquent and appealing, so people actually listen.”
He typically starts a case by taking a 40,000 foot view, relying on excellent intuition and more than a quarter century of experience to identify the strengths and weaknesses and recommend a course of action. “Once we get into the details we’ll re-evaluate,” Dave says. “But usually I’m bang on.” His team, including fellow partner Matt Moloci, is critical to both strategy and execution. “Working with Matt has made me a better lawyer,” he says. “A judge once said we were like two horses pulling the same wagon.”
Dave is reluctant to talk about career highlights, simply because loves what he does too much to think about retirement. His biggest case involved 900,000 people across the country and a dollar value of $260 million, but his proudest moment so far was successfully suing another law firm for providing bad tax advice. “I don’t measure success in terms of numbers,” he says. “What matters to me is the difficulty of the case, the calibre of the opposition and the resolve and creativity it takes to get results.” His favourites are the against-all-odds cases, particularly at the Ontario Court of Appeal.
David is recognized by his peers in the ‘Best Lawyers in Canada’ directory in the area of class action litigation.
He is recognized by his peers in the ‘Canadian Legal Expert’ directory in the area of class action litigation.
He is a frequent commentator on legal issues in national media including television, radio and newspapers.
David acted as lead counsel on one of the largest class action settlements in Canadian history involving 900,000 class members at a settlement value of over $260,000,000.00.
David is author of numerous articles and papers on various aspects of law as well as a frequent guest speaker on class actions and other litigation topics.
Q: Personal quality that’s served you well.− A: “I’m mentally tough. Not much phases me.”
Q: Top tip for clients.− A: “I always tell my commercial litigation clients, 'Conduct yourself at all times as if you were wearing a bracelet that said, ‘What would the judge think of this?’ If you don’t and you try to characterize your conduct as different than it is, it will bite you in the butt every time.”
Q: Favourite place to find inspiration.− A: “I’m an avid runner and head to the trails to de-stress but invariably I end up thinking about work. The end result is great ideas for clients and cases.”