Sonia Kociper – Lawyer
Why did you become a lawyer?
What was your journey like?
As a young person, I had an inquiring mind. I was always interested in a variety of topics and constantly fascinated by the world around me. Being a lawyer requires me to have a critical and inquiring mind and the fit felt natural. Pursuing a law career always felt right to me and needless to say, it is a decision I am very glad I made.
I studied law at the University of Ottawa and focused my articles in the business department of one of the regions’ top-five law firms. There was one partner in particular who specialized in real estate and municipal law with whom I worked closely. It’s interesting that this is now what I practice. What I learned from her was invaluable, and her practical insights into approaching complex transactions continue to benefit me to this day.
After being called to the bar in 2003, I joined a small boutique law firm that specialized in municipal and urban planning matters. By 2005, I had started my own practice, working closely with one of Toronto’s preeminent real estate lawyers.
All along the way, I have had the opportunity to work with some very knowledgeable and intelligent people including other professionals such as planners, engineers, and architects in order to provide a high level of value to my clients on a daily basis.
What is your role at TvH Group?
Ours is one of a very small number a multi-disciplinary practices (MDP) serving Ontario. My partners and I offer a variety of services including financial and insurance planning, accounting and mortgages. Personally, I lead the Legal Department at TvH Group and provide expertise in real estate matters including buying and selling real estate, property litigation, which includes municipal and planning matters. Additionally, we provide service to numerous clients in the area of business law, which includes the creation and review of contracts. I often work in conjunction with my other partners on matters of estate law, including the drafting of wills and powers of attorney.
Why do clients choose to work with you?
When I ran my own practice, I came to understand the importance of being solely accountable for providing the level and quality of both advice and service that ensured my clients were properly represented. Combined with my own high standards, clients appreciate that my level of dedication to their cause will be second to none. My clients also recognize that to the best of my ability I will consider all available options and guide them to the right decision. This level of commitment is apparent to my clients over a broad spectrum of files, regardless of their complexity or subject matter.
While subject matter proficiency and knowledge helps to bring clients to the table, what I think keeps people coming back is the level of service that we extend at TvH. I believe it is rare in the industry to provide personalized service, especially on the transaction side of real estate. The reality is there is the potential for the overall experience to become commoditized. However, I am fortunate to have my efforts complemented by a similarly dedicated team who is always thinking ahead and regularly goes the extra mile for our clients. Finally, the ability to engage my partners on behalf of my clients on a variety of ancillary issues is also a significant benefit to the practice and ultimately, to our clients.
How are you adding value for your clients, today and in the long term?
We provide added value to our clients in a variety of ways. One of the more important avenues we pursue is in managing a successful teaching office. At any given time we will have a number of articling law students working with TvH Legal. While uncommon in smaller firms, the fresh approaches and different points of view within the context of our various files only serve to better address the needs of our clients and how to assist with their legal matters.
In addition, our multi-disciplinary practice also provides the proverbial ‘one-stop shop’ for our clients. No one person can know all things about everything. However, by working with similarly dedicated professionals, my clients know I have access to a variety of resources typically not available to someone in my position. My ability to provide clients access to services beyond my usual fields of expertise from trusted sources is of significant value to them.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I like achieving results for clients. Clients know I am always in their corner and that their wins are my wins, whether it is handing over the keys to a client’s new home or successfully resolving an issue with the Ontario Municipal Board. Simply put, it is very satisfying for me to have played a role in a client successfully realizing one of their dreams.
I also sincerely enjoy the role of trusted advisor. In any legal matter, I want to bring a voice of reason to the issue at hand and help people obtain the best result possible. Knowing that the people I work with rely upon and trust me is an important part of why I do what I do.
How did you become a partner at TvH Group?
Initially I met with one of our partners, Jon Sowerby, to help my partner and I with our own personal real estate financing. We found Jon to be highly responsive and professional. We liked his sincerity and approach and especially appreciated his advice. We referred him several of our family, friends and clients for mortgage advice. Shortly thereafter Jon put me in touch with Jim Lao, of TvH Financial who manages financial planning and insurance. The synergy that exists between our business perspectives and client-focused service was readily apparent and the rest is history.
At TvH, we draw on a combination of each partner’s professional experience to the benefit of each client. This collaborative approach is efficient as there is no overlap between the distinct areas on which we focus.
Ultimately, it is all about achieving the best results for the client while relying on our shared level of precision, patience and passion.
If you were to leave a prospective client who is currently reading this with one thought what would that be?
In my past, I was heavily involved in martial arts. As a third degree black belt and national sparring champion, I came to understand early in life the need for commitment. The reality is that many of the lessons I learned in my sport have much in common with the study of law. Both require mental and physical energy and call on one’s ability to strategically unleash large amounts of that energy when moving decisively toward a desired outcome. The arena may look a little different but at the end of the day my clients know they are going to get someone who has the ability and tenacity to go the distance when it comes to representing them.