ZSA is proud to feature the 8 Questions Series interviewing prominent lawyers in Canada, aimed at discussing interesting perspectives and the challenges that face those in the legal profession. These articles, entitled “8 Questions With…” will be published on our website www.zsa.ca and in the ZSA Daily Digest, a daily compilation of legal news circulated by email to more than 1,500 legal professionals across Canada.
Emily Lee, Partner, ZSA Legal Recruitment, interviews Terence P. Badour, Executive Vice-President, Law and Administration, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International
1. Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
Trying to decide what to be was harder than actually going about it. I was always interested in advocacy and in my house growing up social justice issues were often discussed and law seemed to be a good way to gain real experience and intellectual stimulation; I’ve really enjoyed this career. It’s interesting… I have three children, and my middle child has always wanted to be a lawyer despite that my wife often points out the many evenings and weekends at the office. He is currently in law school working as a summer law student and is really enjoying it. We all know the lawyer jokes, but most parents are proud when their children decide to go to law school. There’s a bit of a love/hate relationship with the law.
2. What is the biggest professional challenge you have faced during your career?
The biggest professional challenge by far that I have faced was with Fairmont in 2006 when we were subject to a hostile takeover by Carl Icahn. Fairmont was searching for a white knight to counter the takeover bid and eventually a U.S. private equity and Prince Al Waleed of Saudi Arabia came in and took us private in the spring of 2006. Going from public to private, and going from a company that was about to be devoured to one that was eventually combined with Raffles and Swissôtel, was a very intense process. The company came out better for it; however, there were lots of bumps and uncertainty along the road. As you can imagine, the law department played a significant and honoured role in that transaction and there were numerous legal and governance issues to handle. It was a great professional experience and I was very fortunate to be recognized as ‘Dealmaker of the Year’ at the Canadian General Counsel Awards that year.
3. If you could change one thing about the practice of law, what would it be?
Definitely one thing I would change about the practice of law would be to allow a better balance between personal and work life. It is difficult to manage one’s time and competing interests, and I’ve had some success at achieving this balance thanks to the support from my wife and family. I believe that technology and the connectivity that we have today is helping lawyers have a better work/life balance. Because of technology, we don’t have to sit in the office; we can be at home, the cottage, or at a family function 500 miles away and still be accessible. This has been a great improvement that I’ve seen.
4. What advice would you give to someone starting his/her career in law?
I could be facetious and say that you should get out there and enjoy life as much as you can beforehand, but truly I believe life experience, including self-actualization and professional development, are extremely important to becoming a well-rounded lawyer. I’ve always been impressed by lawyers with interesting life experiences, whether its building homes in third world countries or studying the science of genetics before law school, business backgrounds and different interests are really important to making a good lawyer.
5. What was the last good book you read/movie you saw?
I really enjoyed “Solar” by Ian McEwan. I’m a bit ‘old school’ in that I’m still reading paper books, however I am waiting for my BlackBerry PlayBook to arrive, and when it does I’ll be sure to download a lot of books to take with me on my travels. As for films, I really enjoyed “Limitless”, which had a very good plot and certainly exceeded my expectations.
6. What is your favorite restaurant?
This might sound a bit like a plug, but I honestly most enjoy EPIC at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel [100 Front Street West]. I go there often and the food is terrific, the chef [Timothy Palmer] is remarkable, and I feel that the restaurant is the most underrated in Toronto.
7. Where would you most like to travel?
I’m a European traveller. I head to Europe 5 or 6 times per year on business, and when we vacation we go there as well. Our family has spent time along the Mediterranean, including Cote D’Azur, Positano, Spain, Turkey, and this year we are going to Montenegro with the kids and their significant others. We try to get away at least one week per year as a family, and Europe is a top destination for us.
8. If you were not a lawyer, what would you be doing?
I might be backpacking through Asia and Europe. I wanted to be a filmmaker before going to law school and I’ve often thought about returning to photography and film. I also think I would really enjoy teaching.
Terence P. Badour Executive Vice-President, Law and Administration, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International
Terence P. Badour is the Executive Vice President, Law & Administration of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International Inc. He joined the company in 1998 as Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Fairmont Raffles Hotels International Inc. is a global hotel management company headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The company owns and manages approximately 100 hotels and resorts under the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands, and also manages Fairmont and Raffles branded Residences, Estates and luxury private residence club properties.
Mr. Badour has over 25 years experience in the fields of corporate and securities law and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Fairmont, Mr. Badour was in private practice based in Montreal, Quebec at the law firm of Norton Rose (formerly Ogilvy Renault) and subsequently at Lavery DeBilly. In 1990 Mr. Badour joined the Law Department of Canadian Pacific Limited. In 1996, Mr. Badour was appointed Corporate Counsel and Assistant Secretary of Canadian Pacific Limited, responsible for legal services at the company’s executive office in Calgary, Alberta.
He holds a B.A. (cum laude) in Political Science from Concordia University in Montreal, and a LL.L. and LL.B. from the University of Ottawa. Mr. Badour was called to the Quebec Bar in 1985 and the law societies of Ontario and Alberta in 1991 and 1998, respectively. He is also a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the General Counsels Committee of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and Council of Senior Legal Executives of the Conference Board of Canada, and the University of Ottawa President’s Circle Advisory Board.
In 2002, Mr. Badour was named one of Canada’s top general counsels by Lexpert magazine. In 2006 he was bestowed the Canadian General Counsel Award “Dealmaker of the Year”. Mr. Badour was recently inducted into the University of Ottawa Law School Honour Society in recognition of his contribution to the legal community and the Law School.