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Business Law, Estate Litigation, General Litigation, Land Development

Legal Bites - Get to Know Doug Flannigan

February 16, 2022 by Doug Flannigan

Our team of lawyers have a very diverse background coming from all parts of the country with extensive knowledge helping people with their legal needs.

Doug Flannigan is the “F” in FH&P Lawyers. He has been practicing law in Kelowna since 1978 and is one of the most well-respected lawyers in the Okanagan, helping clients in civil and commercial matters. He has been a partner since 1982 and has had plenty of experience in a wide range of the legal field. He’s also an avid soccer fan attending five World Cups from 2002 to 2018.

We find out a little bit more about Doug in this “Legal Bites” Q & A:

Tell us about your practice:

My practice is civil and commercial law. I still do some litigation related to property development, property work and administrative boards and tribunals. We put together developments; I do commercial financing for banks, borrowers and lenders along with property disputes and assist with subdivisions.

Why did you go to law school?

It’s an interesting story; I started with geology until I realized I needed physics (laughing), which was my undoing. I then decided to do a self-analysis to figure out what I’m good at, and after deciding on virtually nothing, I thought about going to law school, so I did, and here I am.

What is your most significant professional achievement?

It really comes down to being able to help people with their legal problems and navigate our tricky legal system.

Since you were called to the Bar in 1978, has the legal system changed?

Yes, it has. Somethings good, somethings bad. There is layer and layer of bureaucracy that no one likes. I have found that the overall level of intelligent discourse has improved. I have found the judiciary is far more gentile or polite and not as mean and nasty or ill-tempered as it used to be; judges are all decent to appear before. The Bar is not as collegial as it used to be, but it’s still in fairly decent shape, and the nice thing about practicing in a smaller center like Kelowna is that you know most people in the profession.

What are some of the challenges for younger people getting into the law profession?

Figuring out what they want to do. The profession is becoming compartmentalized, so it is hard to be a “Jack or Jill of all trades” or a general practitioner. You should try and find an area that a) you like because you will spend a lot of time there and b) that you have an infinity for, not everybody can jump in front of a judge in a criminal law proceeding and shoot from the hip. It takes a certain amount of loquaciousness in order to do that and an actor’s fortitude to put up with all the fears that strike us all.

What advice would you give to a younger person just coming out of law school?

The profession has become less traditional, besides a private practice becoming compartmentalized; there are a lot of areas that are now open. For example, we had a bright, personable lawyer here, and she decided that private practice wasn’t for her - now she’s corporate counsel for a couple of start-ups in town. There are other areas in law, not just the traditional private practice route. So my advice is to figure out what you want to do first.

Is the Corporate Counsel route a relatively new path for people in the law field?

These opportunities are much more readily available. There has always been corporate counsel, but you had to go on a path reasonably early on in your career, and you would have to look for those jobs because there were fewer of them. Nowadays, people utilize legal counsel for doing their own contracts in-house; it’s more of an entrepreneurial spirit that is raging these days.