‘Playing on the edge of laws’ -- Ed Waitzer, partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP, on breaking norms in Big Law
Tim Kiladze / The Globe and Mail / Published
During my first year at The Globe and Mail, a senior colleague suggested I sit in on a class she taught with a top corporate lawyer. Her fellow instructor, Ed Waitzer, had managed Stikeman Elliott, one of Bay Street’s most prestigious corporate law firms, and she swore the law school students and I would learn a lot.
She wasn’t lying. Canadian corporate and securities law can be mind numbing; there’s a dearth of salacious insider-trading scandals and the trials for high-profile cases often take years to start. But Mr. Waitzer had a way of approaching it from fascinating prisms, making you care more than you thought you ever could. “I want to have sex with his brain,” one former student once told me.
Five years later, that brilliant mind, and the man attached to it, is sitting in front of me at Mercatto in downtown Toronto on one of those glorious late-spring Fridays. Mr. Waitzer’s attire matches the mood: Blue jeans, navy loafers, dark blazer – and dress shirt unbuttoned at the top, letting his copious chest hair flow.
We’ve talked many times over the years, yet the lawyer-turned-academic has remained somewhat of an enigma. He climbed to the highest echelons of corporate law, despite progressive political views that had his early colleagues calling him a “Commie”. He served as the chief watchdog at the Ontario Securities Commission, Canada’s leading securities regulator, but also gave legal advice to Conrad Black.