Pictured left to right:
Sheila Evani – Real Estate and Business lawyer, Basil – A Pug Dog and Master of the House, Ron Segev – Founding Partner; Business and Technology Lawyer, Geoff Dittrich – Business and Technology Lawyer, Marius Adomnica– Business and Technology Lawyer
On the third floor of the Mercantile Building on Homer Street, is Ron Segev, his twin brother, a bunch of chilled out, easy going lawyers and a pug. They are Segev LLP – a law firm specializing in business, technology, IP and real estate law. They are also experts on Online Gaming, Social, Mobile and Video Gaming & Gambling Law. The space is not what you would expect – there are no oak paneled walls, or stuffy gentlemen named Wainwright or Winthrop III. You can actually see everyone and everything because it’s so open and full of light. You may very well think you got off on the wrong floor and would need to double check the sign on the door. But this is the place all right and these are your people. Segev LLP is as good as it gets. Problem is …you just won’t want to leave when you get there.
Segev LLP is not your average law firm. What makes you different?
Ron: The original motivation for setting up this firm was so that I could be myself at work and be surrounded by others who want the same thing. Years ago, I got a job with a company and I wasn’t fully qualified for the position. After a few months, I asked my boss why he hired me. He said that he didn’t want to work with his dad and that I was quite different from the image of a clichéd lawyer. It really resonated with me and the fact hit home that this profession is truly about relationships and relationships only work when you’re sincere and can honestly be yourself. As a result, we have been able to create a dynamic that works between lawyer and client – one which makes us do better work, it makes happier lawyers and happier lawyers do better work. The shop that we have built is one based on the foundation of helping people and allowing open, honest and lasting relationships to grow.
Sid Kosul – Real Estate and business lawyer
I feel like there’s a lot more freedom Everyone comes from different backgrounds and feels comfortable here. You can show up on a Friday with your tattoos showing in front of your clients and not get in trouble from the big scary partners.
Sheila: I have practiced in all sorts of different environments; big and small firms that were based on a more traditional model. I believe the practice of law is changing a lot. I think what we have here are lawyers who are focused on building business and relationships with their clients and perfecting our craft. In our practice, there isn’t the bureaucracy that you’ll find in larger firms which gives us the opportunity to focus on what really matters – doing great work.
Jeff: Quite regularly, when new clients come into the office for the first time, they say: ‘Wow! This doesn’t feel like a law firm’. I think that statement captures a lot of what we’re trying to do, and from what everyone has said so far, it shows how comfortable it is for us to work here and how comfortable it can be for our clients. Our work environment is similar in many ways to our clients work environments, and that I believe is fundamental to our success.
Why pick Gastown instead of the Central Business District where most law firms are located?
Ron: Gastown is a better cultural fit. We wanted a shop where people can be themselves and Gastown is a neighbourhood where people are themselves. It’s the neighbourhood that attracts the boundary pushing businesses, the fashion forward businesses. Whether it’s food or retail or what have you, there’s a collective confidence of business owners in this neighbourhood who are willing to try new and daring things. So for us, Gastown is a really good fit. It also has a lot of other values which you wont see in traditional business clusters – the architecture, the scale is human with open windows; we’re exposed to life on the streets. A lot of our clients work in Gastown so they can relate to our office and often drop by for a quick visit. It’s also near a skytrain station and there are a lot of great restaurants and things to do. Ultimately, it’s about the perfect match of cultures where the neighborhood has a natural confidence to just be what it’s going to be. And that’s what we’re about too.
Alon Segev – Partner; Real Estate & Business Law
When I first arrived here, I thought that doing business out of Gastown would actually hurt my own personal brand and business. I was dealing with a client base that came from very conservative backgrounds. They came to the office and started to explore the neighbourhood and their reactions were not what I expected. They found our office space refreshing and the family environment very refreshing and they confirmed for me the fact that Gastown was no longer up and coming, but rather the place to be.
Ron, now that you’re settled here at home in Gastown – what are your future plans and vision for Segev LLP?
Ron: My original design ideas included a huge open space with a long wooden table, stretching the entire length of the room and at the end of the table was an ice well and beer taps. As I thought of how great this would be, the voice of reason chimed in and I realized that this would only work for me personally. We’re still a law firm and we need to create an environment where lawyers feel comfortable working. The current design is the middle ground between that long table idea and a traditional law firm. For future designs, I’d like to see a space that is even more open, with less individual office space and a more communal workspace. Often some of us will work at the long table with each other and it’s a lovely change from being in the office alone.