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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

R Bruce Reynolds continues to be ranked as a top-flight construction practitioner in the international market. He is praised for “leading the charge for introducing new legislation to the Canadian government” thanks to his stellar work on prompt payments in Ontario.

Questions & Answers

Bruce Reynolds is co-chair of the firm’s international construction projects group and a partner in the construction and infrastructure practice group. Bruce is certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario, and is a fellow of both the Canadian and American Colleges of Construction Lawyers. In 2018, Mr Reynolds was named Global Construction Lawyer of the Year by Who’s Who Legal. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada; Chambers Global (band one); Martindale-Hubbell (AV rating), the construction section of Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada; and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.

What is the most interesting construction dispute you have been a part of?

Perhaps my most interesting matter was one that involved an offshore mining project. We were acting for an EPCM contractor who had unfortunately been terminated by the mine developer, which precipitated two major ICC arbitrations. The case required the reconstruction of the fact-pattern in regards to a mega-project that stretched back over a decade. There were large populations of documents to review and witnesses to interview in far-flung parts of the world: our memorial was about 2,000 pages.

What qualities make for a successful construction lawyer?

A fascination with the construction process itself, and an ability to immerse oneself in the details of structural steel, concrete, dewatering, engineering loads and reactions and other technical aspects of construction and engineering. You also need the instincts of a detective because when a major dispute crystallises, it involves the narrative arc of the entire project which will span years and requires a team of construction lawyers to figure out what happened. You also need great attention to detail; intellectual honesty; and a love of process.

How has your experience as a fellow of the Canadian and American Colleges of Construction lawyers enhanced your practice?

It has wonderfully enriched my professional experience because it has made it possible to exchange ideas with construction lawyers throughout North America; and to spend social time with other construction law experts. Construction lawyers, in my experience, share the characteristic of leaving their ego at the door when involved in professional development events and substantive dialogue on construction law issues. They tend to roll up their sleeves and solve the problem, and they enjoy spending time with one another in part because they share that characteristic. Both the Canadian and American colleges have contributed greatly to my professional quality of life. I have also been privileged to be involved in the international construction project committee of the IBA. A very interesting aspect of being part of these organisations is the opportunity to share learning from both civil and common law jurisdictions: the comparative law aspects of these organisations are extremely valuable.

How does Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel distinguish itself from competitors in the market?

My partner Sharon Vogel and I joined Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP on 1 January 2018 to found the new Toronto office of the firm. We joined a very mature and well-respected construction law firm led by John Singleton, our managing partner. With the full support of our Vancouver partners, Sharon and I set out to develop a Toronto office that would constitute a construction and engineering law dream team. We are dedicated to construction and engineering law, along with international arbitration of construction disputes, and our subject-matter expertise has translated into widespread market recognition. An important aspect of the firm’s focus is its commitment to intellectual leadership in the area – including writing, speaking, involvement in industry associations, and taking a direct role in public policy development in the construction industry.

You and your firm are very active in working with the Ontario government to modernise construction laws. How are these changes going to positively impact construction practice in Ontario?

We are not only extremely active with the Ontario government in modernising construction law, but since early 2018 we have also been working with the federal government of Canada on a very similar remit. The changes that are hoped for as a result of these public policy development initiatives cover two areas. First, the acceleration of ordinary course payments on construction projects; and second, the solution to payment gridlock on troubled construction projects. As a result of having conducted intensive reviews for both the province of Ontario and the federal government of Canada, including widespread consultation, it became evident that the ordinary course-payment cycle of monthly draws had become elongated, such that suppliers and subcontractors were financing large amounts of capital for extended periods of time. It also became evident that where major disputes occurred, payment could be delayed for years, and there was a great sense of frustration with the traditional legal system. Ultimately, we recommended – and Ontario and the federal government adopted – statutory prompt payment, which should reduce the time lag in respect of ordinary course payments by rewriting the payment mechanisms of construction contracts to shorten the payment cycle. In regard to payment gridlock, we recommended the adoption of a UK-influenced adjudication regime: a first in North America.

What challenges did you face when joining Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel?

The challenges that faced us in opening the new Toronto office were very practical ones. On day one we were four lawyers practising out of premises that were under construction, working off white plastic Ikea furniture. We were recruiting new lawyers and wiping off plaster dust from our keyboards every morning, at the same time as working on our federal prompt-payment report. In addition to the exigencies of recruiting and construction management, we were developing and implementing a marketing programme and, with the constant support of the Vancouver office, addressing the hundreds of details associated with starting up a new office. The burden of these challenges was lightened considerably when we learned in early February 2018 that we had been named Canadian construction litigation firm of the year. Throughout this challenging period our clients were very loyal and understanding, and we gradually succeeded in recruiting the membership of the team we had envisaged for the Toronto office.

Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?

From a domestic perspective, prompt payment and adjudication are making their way across Canada from province to province, and this national phenomenon will have the effect of revolutionising construction law practice in Canada, just as adjudication did in the UK twenty-some years ago. Dispute resolution, formerly a somewhat leisurely stroll for the lawyers involved, will become a footrace requiring the development of significantly different dispute resolution management strategies. From an international perspective, the internationalisation of the construction bar will continue, with a significant focus on mega-projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Initiatives like the BRI will call upon the global reservoir of construction law expertise, in procurement, project shadowing, and dispute resolution. In addition, both domestically and internationally, the design of dispute resolution will continue to be a focal point as the construction industry strives for the swift and efficient resolution of construction and engineering disputes. Innovations in construction dispute resolution design will also continue to influence international arbitration.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

The achievement to which I would point, which is not mine alone, is the design and implementation of the process that was utilised in the Ontario Construction Lien Act review. When the Attorney General introduced Bill 142 for third reading, he expressed the view that the process which had produced the Construction Act was a model for the development of sophisticated commercial legislation in the future. The bill passed third reading unanimously, and I was able to watch the vote from the visitors gallery of the legislative assembly.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Bruce Reynolds continues to be ranked as a top-flight construction practitioner in the international market this year. He is praised for “leading the charge for introducing new legislation to the Canadian government” thanks to his stellar work on prompt payments in Ontario.

Questions & Answers

Bruce Reynolds is co-chair of the firm’s international construction projects group and a partner in the construction and infrastructure practice group. Bruce is certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario, and is a fellow of both the Canadian and American Colleges of Construction Lawyers. In 2018, Mr Reynolds was named Global Construction Lawyer of the Year by Who’s Who Legal. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada; Chambers Global (band one); Martindale-Hubbell (AV rating), the construction section of Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada; and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.

What is the most interesting construction dispute you have been a part of?

Perhaps my most interesting matter was one that involved an offshore mining project. We were acting for an EPCM contractor who had unfortunately been terminated by the mine developer, which precipitated two major ICC arbitrations. The case required the reconstruction of the fact-pattern in regards to a mega-project that stretched back over a decade. There were large populations of documents to review and witnesses to interview in far-flung parts of the world: our memorial was about 2,000 pages.

What qualities make for a successful construction lawyer?

A fascination with the construction process itself, and an ability to immerse oneself in the details of structural steel, concrete, dewatering, engineering loads and reactions and other technical aspects of construction and engineering. You also need the instincts of a detective because when a major dispute crystallises, it involves the narrative arc of the entire project which will span years and requires a team of construction lawyers to figure out what happened. You also need great attention to detail; intellectual honesty; and a love of process.

How has your experience as a fellow of the Canadian and American Colleges of Construction lawyers enhanced your practice?

It has wonderfully enriched my professional experience because it has made it possible to exchange ideas with construction lawyers throughout North America; and to spend social time with other construction law experts. Construction lawyers, in my experience, share the characteristic of leaving their ego at the door when involved in professional development events and substantive dialogue on construction law issues. They tend to roll up their sleeves and solve the problem, and they enjoy spending time with one another in part because they share that characteristic. Both the Canadian and American colleges have contributed greatly to my professional quality of life. I have also been privileged to be involved in the international construction project committee of the IBA. A very interesting aspect of being part of these organisations is the opportunity to share learning from both civil and common law jurisdictions: the comparative law aspects of these organisations are extremely valuable.

How does Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel distinguish itself from competitors in the market?

My partner Sharon Vogel and I joined Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP on 1 January 2018 to found the new Toronto office of the firm. We joined a very mature and well-respected construction law firm led by John Singleton, our managing partner. With the full support of our Vancouver partners, Sharon and I set out to develop a Toronto office that would constitute a construction and engineering law dream team. We are dedicated to construction and engineering law, along with international arbitration of construction disputes, and our subject-matter expertise has translated into widespread market recognition. An important aspect of the firm’s focus is its commitment to intellectual leadership in the area – including writing, speaking, involvement in industry associations, and taking a direct role in public policy development in the construction industry.

You and your firm are very active in working with the Ontario government to modernise construction laws. How are these changes going to positively impact construction practice in Ontario?

We are not only extremely active with the Ontario government in modernising construction law, but since early 2018 we have also been working with the federal government of Canada on a very similar remit. The changes that are hoped for as result of these public policy development initiatives cover two areas. First, the acceleration of ordinary course payments on construction projects; and second, the solution to payment gridlock on troubled construction projects. As a result of having conducted intensive reviews for both the province of Ontario and the federal government of Canada, including widespread consultation, it became evident that the ordinary course-payment cycle of monthly draws had become elongated, such that suppliers and subcontractors were financing large amounts of capital for extended periods of time. It also became evident that where major disputes occurred, payment could be delayed for years, and there was a great sense of frustration with the traditional legal system. Ultimately, we recommended – and Ontario and the federal government adopted – statutory prompt payment, which should reduce the time lag in respect of ordinary course payments by rewriting the payment mechanisms of construction contracts to shorten the payment cycle. In regard to payment gridlock, we recommended the adoption of a UK-influenced adjudication regime: a first in North America.

What challenges did you face when joining Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel?

The challenges that faced us in opening the new Toronto office were very practical ones. On day one we were four lawyers practising out of premises that were under construction, working off white plastic Ikea furniture. We were recruiting new lawyers and wiping off plaster dust from our keyboards every morning, at the same time as working on our federal prompt-payment report. In addition to the exigencies of recruiting and construction management, we were developing and implementing a marketing programme and, with the constant support of the Vancouver office, addressing the hundreds of details associated with starting up a new office. The burden of these challenges was lightened considerably when we learned in early February 2018 that we had been named Canadian construction litigation firm of the year. Throughout this challenging period our clients were very loyal and understanding, and we gradually succeeded in recruiting the membership of the team we had envisaged for the Toronto office.

Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?

From a domestic perspective, prompt payment and adjudication are making their way across Canada from province to province, and this national phenomenon will have the effect of revolutionising construction law practice in Canada, just as adjudication did in the UK twenty-some years ago. Dispute resolution, formerly a somewhat leisurely stroll for the lawyers involved, will become a footrace requiring the development of significantly different dispute resolution management strategies. From an international perspective, the internationalisation of the construction bar will continue, with a significant focus on mega-projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Initiatives like the BRI will call upon the global reservoir of construction law expertise, in procurement, project shadowing, and dispute resolution. In addition, both domestically and internationally, the design of dispute resolution will continue to be a focal point as the construction industry strives for the swift and efficient resolution of construction and engineering disputes. Innovations in construction dispute resolution design will also continue to influence international arbitration.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

The achievement to which I would point, which is not mine alone, is the design and implementation of the process that was utilised in the Ontario Construction Lien Act review. When the Attorney General introduced Bill 142 for third reading, he expressed the view that the process which had produced the Construction Act was a model for the development of sophisticated commercial legislation in the future. The bill passed third reading unanimously, and I was able to watch the vote from the visitors gallery of the legislative assembly.

Global Leader

Construction 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Bruce Reynolds continues to be ranked as a top-flight construction practitioner on the international market this year. He is praised for “leading the charge for introducing new legislation to the Canadian government” thanks to his stellar work on prompt payments in Ontario.

Biography

Bruce Reynolds has earned a stellar reputation in the construction industry for settling disputes and drafting and negotiating contracts. Who’s Who Legal has recognised him as “one of the foremost construction practitioners in the world” while his clients have praised him for his legal skills, integrity and clarity of insight.

Bruce is a partner in Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP’s construction and infrastructure practice group and co-chair of the firm’s international construction projects group. He specialises in the resolution of construction and insurance claims, liens, surety bond claims, product liability issues, and architects’ and engineers’ errors and omissions issues. In addition, he advises clients on construction projects in Canada, the United States and overseas.

Bruce, together with his colleague Sharon Vogel, played an important role in helping the Ontario government modernise the province’s construction law, which saw the first round of amendments come into effect in 2018. The pair reviewed the previous Construction Lien Act for the Ministry of the Attorney General, a process that involved consulting with more than 60 provincial stakeholders and submitted a report with 101 recommendations – 98 of which were eventually included in the new legislation, the Construction Act. Among the changes to the legislation are the creation of a prompt payment framework and the introduction of a mandatory dispute resolution system.

Bruce has been certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Upper Canada. He is a fellow of both the Canadian and American Colleges of Construction Lawyers, vice president of the International Academy of Construction Lawyers and past co-chair of the international construction projects committee of the International Bar Association.

He was recognised as the 2018 Global Construction Lawyer of the Year by Who’s Who Legal. He has been selected by peers for inclusion in numerous editions of Best Lawyers in Canada. He is listed in Chambers Global (Band 1) and Martindale-Hubbell (AV), and he is also recognised in the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada (construction law) and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.

National Leader

Canada - Construction 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

R Bruce Reynolds is a standout construction lawyer who regularly acts in complex transactional and dispute proceedings, as peers note that he is "gold standard in leadership".

Biography

Bruce Reynolds has earned a stellar reputation in the construction industry for settling disputes and drafting and negotiating contracts. Who’s Who Legal has recognised him as “one of the foremost construction practitioners in the world” while his clients have praised him for his legal skills, integrity and clarity of insight.

Bruce is a partner in Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP’s construction and infrastructure practice group and co-chair of the firm’s international construction projects group. He specialises in the resolution of construction and insurance claims, liens, surety bond claims, product liability issues, and architects’ and engineers’ errors and omissions issues. In addition, he advises clients on construction projects in Canada, the United States and overseas.

Bruce, together with his colleague Sharon Vogel, played an important role in helping the Ontario government modernise the province’s construction law, which saw the first round of amendments come into effect. The pair reviewed the previous Construction Lien Act for the Ministry of the Attorney General, a process that involved consulting with more than 60 provincial stakeholders and submitted a report with 101 recommendations – 98 of which were eventually included in the new legislation, the Construction Act. Among the changes to the legislation are the creation of a prompt payment framework and the introduction of a mandatory dispute resolution system.

Bruce has been certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Upper Canada. He is a fellow of both the Canadian and American Colleges of Construction Lawyers, vice president of the International Academy of Construction Lawyers and past co-chair of the international construction projects committee of the International Bar Association.

He was recognised as Global Construction Lawyer of the Year by Who’s Who Legal. He has been selected by peers for inclusion in numerous editions of Best Lawyers in Canada. He is listed in Chambers Global (Band 1) and Martindale-Hubbell (AV), and he is also recognised in the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada (construction law) and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.

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