Associate, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP
Called to the bar in 2010
Paul-Erik Veel is a nerd and proud of it. He loved law school, where he spent day after day in the library immersed in legal theory. In the end, his hard work paid off: he graduated with the gold medal from the University of Toronto and went on to clerk for Justice Louise Charron at the Supreme Court.
After that, Veel, also known as Dash — a nickname bestowed on him during his undergrad by a pal on the McGill debate team — looked for a job that would allow him to continue his legal education outside the classroom. At Lenczner Slaght, one of Toronto’s top litigation boutiques, he found one: Veel works on cases across a range of practice areas, each one offering a new intellectual challenge. “If a case is black and white, it’s going to settle quickly,” he says. “So litigators spend most of their time in the grey area where both sides have a reasonable argument. Litigation affords a lot of space to think through interesting questions.”
In just four years since being called to the bar, he’s already served as counsel on homicides and a competition law trial. He also spearheaded a pro bono case that led to charges against two Toronto city councillors for violating elections law. But Veel’s favourite case is still his first: a successful challenge to exclude unconstitutionally obtained evidence from a perjury trial. A scholar at heart, he enjoyed the case because it reminded him of a “law school exam problem.”
These days, Veel gets to think up exam questions of his own: he’s an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s faculty of law. And his talent for teaching extends to his work at Lenczner Slaght, where he mentors articling students. “Paul-Erik’s experience in court has made him a role model. His mentoring is thoughtful, constructive and effective,” says Peter Griffin, the managing partner of the firm. Plus, it’s not hard to convince Veel to make time for students. “I like helping people find answers to tough questions.”