DAC Member Profile: James R. Reid

Mr. Reid is an Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at Fortis Inc. He was previously a partner with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto where he practiced for 20 years and developed a diverse corporate and securities law practice with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. Prior to joining Fortis, Mr. Reid had a 15 year relationship with the Corporation, having advised on corporate governance matters, large capital market transactions, regulatory applications and mergers and acquisitions in both Canada and the United States.

He earned a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University in 1992 and an LL.B. from the law school at the University of British Columbia in 1996. Mr. Reid has been an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto for the past 10 years, teaching an Advanced Business Law Workshop.

What inspired you to go to law school?
Starting in high school and throughout my Political Science degree at McGill I was drawn to the role of the judiciary in shaping public policy, and more broadly, the role of law in society.  I just followed my interests.

What led you to pursue a career specifically in corporate law?
My parents were entrepreneurs and growing up they would talk about their work at the dinner table.  So business and economics were in my DNA.  When I discovered corporate law in law school it felt like a perfect fit.

What do you enjoy most about your new position at Fortis?
At Fortis I get to be a lawyer and a business executive.  Working with an experienced board of directors and a sophisticated management team in areas such as business strategy, corporate governance and risk management is exciting and rewarding.  

Why did you decide to join the Centre for Business Law Dean's Advisory Committee?
I jumped at the opportunity to maintain a relationship with the Faculty and its truly impressive business law faculty, and to contribute to an initiative that I believe in deeply.  The Centre has made a meaningful contribution to business law education, scholarship and practice.

What advice would you give to students from the Allard School of Law entering the legal profession?
Your legal education has only just begun.  Embrace the challenge of developing your legal skills and building relationships.  Look out for good mentors, they will make all the difference.  Be a good mentor to others, it’s incredibly rewarding.  Conduct yourself with integrity.  And have fun!