Obiter | A Podcast from McKenzie Lake Lawyers

Episode 1 - Running the course with Managing Partner and Triathlete Michael Peerless

January 18, 2021 McKenzie Lake LLP Episode 1
Obiter | A Podcast from McKenzie Lake Lawyers
Episode 1 - Running the course with Managing Partner and Triathlete Michael Peerless
Show Notes Transcript

Co-hosts Melissa Won and Patrick Clancy sit down with Mike Peerless: managing partner: pioneer in Canadian class action proceedings, class action department lead, and triathlete.

From an articling student to issuing the first class proceeding in Canada only a year later, to the Dow Corning Gel breast implant $30 million settlement, Mike hit the ground running. He would go on to obtain numerous settlements for Canadians harmed by drug and medical companies and government action, writing the playbook for class actions in the process. Ultimately, Mike notes, class actions allow regular people to “level the playing field against a massive corporate defendant that has unlimited money to fight.”

Years of inflicting “maximum havoc” on big corporations left Mike little time to care for himself.  While his wife was training for a marathon he went on a practice run.  Six weeks later he ran the Chicago marathon.  He wasn’t fast, but he’d discovered a love of running. Since then, he has completed another 20 standalone marathons including New York and Boston and 11 Ironman Triathlons. 

Learn the meaning behind Mike’s Twitter handle @piratemike911, what he says is the biggest challenge with managing a law firm, and how he approaches his role as managing partner 

Patrick Clancy:

Hey everyone. Welcome to the opening podcast. I'm Pat Clancy and I'm Melissa Won. And this is episode one of the lawyer series. In this series. We sit down with lawyers at McKenzie Lake to discuss their career personal life and anything in between all in an effort to introduce our listeners, to the human being behind the lawyer.

Melissa Won:

Today, we're joined by Mike Peerless, affectionately known by his Instagram and Twitter followers, as at pirate Mike nine 11, Mike and his team joined McKenzie Lake in 2014. Since that time, Mike has led the firm's class actions group and has recently assumed the role of managing partner.

Patrick Clancy:

It's not a stretch to say that Mike laid the groundwork for Canadian class proceedings. As we know them today, he orchestrated the first ever class auction to be certified in Canada, a case against a multi- national corporation called Dow Corning for defective breast implants. He's since been involved in some of the most prominent class proceedings against pharmaceutical companies, motor vehicle manufacturers, governments, and educational institutions.

Melissa Won:

He's had quite the career, but he's also a down to earth guy who has a ton of great stories and a lot of interests outside the law.

Patrick Clancy:

Mike start us off by telling us about what you do and what exactly a class action is for those who may not be familiar.

Michael Peerless:

Since 1993, when I was called my practice has been almost entirely restricted to , class actions, 80% probably on behalf of plaintiffs or classes. And so I litigate a wide variety of kinds of disputes between groups of people and entities or governments who , uh, who have harmed those groups of people. So, you know, my practice has been a lot of it has involved medical products or pharmaceutical products, because if you think about it, they're the kinds of things that if, if , if a drug turns out to be defective and injure someone, a drug often is sold to large numbers of people. It probably injures large numbers of people. And so I would sue on behalf of that group of people and I've sued lots of governments because again, a government action, that's an unlawful in a way that can be sued for often affects large numbers of people. And so what class actions do is allow those large numbers of people to get together and Sue in one lawsuit. So that's what class actions are. And that's really, really all I've done with a few small exceptions,

Melissa Won:

Mike, for the benefit of our listeners. Can you explain the certification process?

Michael Peerless:

There's a sort of a preliminary that you can't just start a class action. You have to ask a judge to make your case into a class action. And so what that involves is bringing some evidence, some, some evidence and some legal arguments to bear, going to a court and saying, look, here's why this is a class action. You know, this client of mine or this group of clients of mine, we're all injured by Vioxx say case I , I actually did. These clients were injured by Vioxx, but also another few thousand people had the same injury from Vioxx in Canada. And so what I want to do your honor is I want to make this case into a class action. So that all 2000 of those people who were injured with who took Vioxx come together, take on a Merc , big multi-national pharmaceutical company, but take it on in one group so that they can spread out the risks and the expenses and , and ultimately, you know, have a chance to, as I said earlier, level the playing field against that massive corporate defendant that has unlimited money to fight.

Melissa Won:

One of the considerations that you must have to think about early on in the process is whether, whether a proceeding is financially viable, both for the class and for counsel , what goes into that determination?

Michael Peerless:

Yeah, that's a great question. Because most of the time I get paid almost always, I get paid on a contingent fee basis. So the advantage of that from my point of view, and from the client's point of view, are that we're, first of all, we're in perfect alignment on our interests because you don't get paid if they don't get paid. And so, and the more money I get for my clients, the more money I get for me. So we all have the same thing in mind. It's, you know, I would say sometimes the defense lawyers who get paid by the hour, usually you get the feeling like, you know, occasionally at least you get the feeling like, you know, they don't really want this case to end because they are charging a lot for it and they're doing good work. And if they tell their client, look, we think we're going to win this case. We should keep fighting. And that's going to save you $10 million, you know, as long as that's reasonable, that might be a pretty smart thing to do, rather than to say, look, maybe we can resolve it for cheap and then we're not being paid anymore. So in my case, I'm always , almost always perfectly aligned, but, the basic approach that, that I've had, and that we try to take on all of these cases is sort of my motto, which is maximum havoc, make it painful for the defendant, as painful as you can, so that they want to talk to you about , sensible resolutions that, of going to trial and appeal and all that. So that's what we do. How did you ,

Patrick Clancy:

How did you get into it and you know, how did you find yourself in class actions , uh, from the outset?

Michael Peerless:

Well like many other things , um, circumstance being in the right place at the right time, I was an articling student in the fall of 1992 and I was doing my Board Admission course. And at the same time working part-time at the law firm I was at. And the thing I was doing as I was working part-time much of the time was taking intake calls for new cases. And I was, I was interested in litigation. So I was doing a lot of the intake litigation cases. And , uh , a young woman came in to see us and I met her and she had had breast implants that had ruptured in her body. It had to be removed surgically and she thought it was a surgical problem and wanted to know if we would sue her plastic surgeon. We certainly were doing medical malpractice cases. And , and I thought it was an interesting case. Uh, her fact pattern was quite interesting. So I , uh, got her permission ordered her medical records , uh , which I reviewed. And then I reviewed by sending to a plastic surgeon I knew and said to him, what are you thinking? He said, well, there's nothing wrong with the surgery that I can see from these records, but you know, these implants, they rupture all the time. Like this is very common.

Patrick Clancy:

And those are silicone implants, right?

Michael Peerless:

There were silicone gel implants made by a company called Dow Corning. They right around then those implants got recalled. They were, it was being illegal to put new ones in and there was a warning sent out to surgeons who had put them in. And that was in , um, November.

Patrick Clancy:

Health Canada had sent out that warning?.

Michael Peerless:

Health Canada. Y ep. And that was in November of 1992. So I happened to know along with a colleague of mine. So I was an articling student. My colleague was just finishing his first year of practice at that point. But the two of us had talked a little bit about class actions because just on an academic level, it had seemed to be interesting. And we knew that the class proceedings act was coming into force on January 1st, 1993. So that would have been the first time that class actions were possible in Canada. So we, we went to our mentor and said, this might be a class action. And he, he's a really good guy and a great lawyer, but was like, I don't know, that's not really the kind of thing we probably want to get into. So we went back and forth and tried to talk him into it for about a month until , um, January the act was proclaimed enforced in January of 1993.

Patrick Clancy:

And were you, sorry, were you a lawyer at that point or still articling?

Michael Peerless:

Still articling my , um , but my colleague was a lawyer, a good friend and was a lawyer. And so eventually I went to his office and said, you are a lawyer. I think we should just start this case. And then Scott, our mentor, well, it was more like we know Scott and he'll be on board. He, he's a guy who embraces complicated things and he won't be mad at us, but we'll ask for forgiveness, Right. Instead of permission. So, so that's what we did. So we issued that claim on February 1st, 1993, I was called to the bar on February 8th, 1993. And we certified that case as the first class action in Canada in June, and then won the appeal in October and , uh , settled it in about 18 months later for about $30 million for Canadian . So it was pretty, pretty worked out okay.

Patrick Clancy:

Pretty significant. Yeah. So I think if I'm not mistaken, there was already a parallel. There was already a U.S. Class action against Dow Corning . Is that right?

Michael Peerless:

There was. Is it now in those days, it was before the internet and things. But I found out by phoning around that the case was headquartered out of the Eastern district of Ohio in Cincinnati. So I drove to Cincinnati to search the court file, to see what I could find. And I got all the pleadings from that file. So that would have been between beginning of February and in a few months later when we had the motion and I, and including we got all the affidavits that had been filed and deposition transcripts and things like that, which were certainly available, but , um, it's about a seven hour and 10 minute drive to Cincinnati. I know that because I did that drive quite a few times , um , for that ,

Patrick Clancy:

Uh , kind of leads to my next question is based on the timeline, the class actions, proceeding act was just enacted. We as lawyers heavily rely on precedent . I can't imagine it was any precedents at that time. You know, how did you, how did you know how to go about putting together a motion record or your pleadings? Like, were you looking at the, you know, were you relying on the U S file to do that?

Michael Peerless:

Well, at first we , we , we weren't, we certainly moved to that. We certainly moved to that as the, as the process went on because we got more and more information from the U S but to a large extent, we , we kind of invented it. You know, for example, one of the tests for a class proceedings for a class proceeding is that the plaintiff must produce a plan for proceeding with the case. It's sort of a throwaway sentence in the act. And like, I literally sat at my desk and said, I wonder what a plan for a proceeding would be? So I kinda wrote something and I called it plan for proceeding. Well, every single class action in Canada now uses that format and basically does writes what I did by and changes the dates. So was that what they had in mind when they drafted the thing? I don't really know, but that's how it worked out. It works out. Yeah . So were you as c ounsel helpful at all in that process or no. No, because for a variety of reasons, although I can tell some funny stories about U.S. council and the extent that we ultimately made great relationships with some of those council and, and that was very helpful for future cases. But for the most part, they were just very suspicious. Like, first of all, we were, I mean, we were so junior and knew so little about what we were talking about and they just didn't know us. And they'd never heard of a case in class in Canada.

Patrick Clancy:

I've heard of Canada, some of them that's true. I'm just kidding.

Michael Peerless:

Well, I will tell you this, the firm was not super keen on this either other than our mentor who was fully keen. Ultimately he became fully on-board, but the firm wasn't super keen. And, and so we weren't really getting any really much help. And the firm didn't certainly didn't like spending any money on it. So the firm was used to spend giving money for things like , uh , mileage to drive your car somewhere. So we, we found out that there was a plaintiff's hearing and conference in New York city two weeks before our certification motion was scheduled to go. And so we thought, well, maybe we should go try to talk to those American lawyers and see if we can get any pointers or tips. So my, my friend, Mike and I , um, got in his 20 year old K car, drove to the Buffalo airport, got super cheap flights to New York city on our own , which we paid for with our own money. I was making $22,000 a year, flew to New York, shared a hotel room at the hotel that the, that the conference was in. I do remember that we looked at the room service menu when we got there and were so shocked that we walked for about 40 blocks till we could find somewhere where we could afford to eat. McDonald's pretty much, but the next morning we went and tried to go to the meeting and they wouldn't let us in because they said they didn't know us. So we were very frustrated. We walked around all day trying to think of other ways. And then we went back to the restaurant to the hotel and we saw all these guys sitting in the bar. So then we said, okay,

Patrick Clancy:

And you guys, were you guys old enough to drink at that point?

Michael Peerless:

We were barely. You don't know . I went to , I went to law school a bit later, so I was plenty old enough, but, but I went, so we went into the bar and we went up to these, the same group of people and said, Hey, like, can we at least sit down and have a beer with you guys? We can't go to the meeting. And ultimately kind of struck up a bit of relationship. Some of that has turned into friendship. Some of those guys, I still talk to today. Um, they're all retired, but I still talk to them from time to time. And , um, they, they then were quite helpful and they were helpful later after we got it certified. They're helpful making introductions to the right U S defense lawyers to start talking to about settling the case because the Canadian defense lawyers didn't know anything about it. And certainly weren't interested in settling, but when the American cases started to settle, then the companies were like, well, they , they want to get, they want to buy peace, not more litigation somewhere else. So they just, we ended up doing that. So, yeah, I mean, it was, you know, it was, it was , uh , it was interesting. It was difficult again, though. It was being in the right place at the right time. That's what was important.

Patrick Clancy:

So Mike, what or who is the big bamboo?

Michael Peerless:

The big bamboo. So , um , the big bamboo, it was the nickname of a guy named whose real name is Danny Becknell. Danny Becknell was a, is a larger than life, like seriously larger than life caricature of a litigation lawyer from Louisiana, new Orleans. He's, he's widely considered to be the model for several John Grisham characters. And he's been disbarred numerous times , uh, and then reinstated he's , he's been to jail for bribing a judge, and then put r ight back again, we're talking Louisiana here. So I had no idea who he was, but we were at a p laintiff steering committee meeting at the Tutwiler hotel in Birmingham, Alabama, which is a nice hotel, very nice hotel. And this was years. This would have been three or four years after we did the first case. You know, by this time I was allowed in the meetings.

Patrick Clancy:

And so, sorry, just to , just to the original case led to further breast implant class-action cases?

Michael Peerless:

It did. Okay. Yeah, that's right. And I was doing, I did breast implant cases for 10 years, probably after that first one. And so , so anyway, we're at a meeting about this and by this point, you know, I owned like a pretty good suit and things like that. So I was at this, the hearing during the day and at a meeting in the afternoon, the early evening, and then, and then at a cocktail party at the, in the lobby hotel bar of this, this hotel, and there might've been 30 or 40, maybe 50 lawyers there, most of whom were middle-aged white guys, including, I guess me, by that point, I would have been in my early thirties anyway, but there were a few younger lawyers, male and female, and a few, younger paralegals to also male and female and part . So partly it turned out the reason there were some of these younger lawyers is that there was something called a common fund that was created in these cases for legal fees. And some of the lawyers, including Danny Becknell had bamboo, the big bamboo had , had invented a system for getting paid a lot of money out of that common fund. And that was what cause , and he explained this to me in the bar. He said, you gotta see y'all Canadians gotta start doing, we do. He got a munchkinize and like munchkinize. Yeah. Hire munchkins, put juniors on your cases and have them do work real work, but then mark them up. So he said, all these juniors here, they are my munchkins. So he, they had come from new Orleans, turned out to Birmingham, Alabama, which is a , you know, not an outrageous distance, but he brought them in buses and they worked in the bus looking at documents. And then they came to the hearing and sat there and listened and took notes. And then they went through and they, and they were spending a week in a motel that he had rented for them while they worked. And then there was a couple of days of these hearings and then he was taking them back and he goes , uh , pay these people $25 an hour and I charge them out at 400 and a case of beer. Right. And then the bus ride. So, yeah . Anyway, so I , I, I mean, it was, to me, it was like, okay, this is a, it's a bit crazy, but sort of what lawyers do, I guess, calling it that telling somebody who doesn't know that that's what he's doing to kind of cheat a federal judge seems kind of crazy. And so anyway, this cocktail party went on for a while and then he got some news. I never did find it, what that news was good news. And he did say, he said, okay, all the drinks for the rest of the night are all me anything. So, so anyway, he was, he was pretty drunk. And so, but I'd happened to be near him. And he was about, I would have said he was 60 at the time. And , um , pretty good looking guy, you know, well dressed and slick, like a very slick, like very, you know, not slick greasy know it's a , it's a fine line. Um, but, but I , he was when he was once he started to celebrate, he was, you know, finding the youngest women and putting his arms around them and calling them honey and sugar and things like that. No , this was 20 years ago. I at the time thought it was highly inappropriate. Right. But you know, at 60 year old, 20 years ago , uh , you know, yeah.

Patrick Clancy:

Things were different in the South. It was a bit, it was a cultural experience that way for me.

Michael Peerless:

So anyway, at a certain point, people are drinking. I personally was drinking Dom Perignon, cause he said he was paid for everything. So that's what I started ordering. Right. And , um, and people were drinking more expensive things than that. And then he, somebody went up to him and said, somebody else, I was near him though, and said, so why is your nickname the big bamboo? I am called the big bamboo because I have had many, many, many wives, girlfriends lovers and paid escorts. Many and I have never had a complaint about the size of my equipment. The big bamboo. Yeah .

Patrick Clancy:

There you have it. There's where the , the big bamboo. So Mike, on a bit more serious note , uh , in a later case, it followed the Dow Jones case. You found yourself in New York city at a pretty historic time. Can you tell us that story?

Michael Peerless:

Very last one of those meetings I attended was in August of 2001. Uh, and that was the, that was the , uh, the case that happened in it was New York. Um, the hearing was in the main New York courthouse, federal courthouse. And then the cocktail party was at windows on the world, on the top floor of the world trade center. And , um, about a month later as I was on my way into New York for another meeting on a different case, I was on the last flight that landed at LaGuardia before the , before the second plane hit. And , um, I ended up stranded in New York for 10 days. We weren't able to leave and I watched the towers fall and get out somewhere from downtown, like ground zero basic from within, well what's closest you could be with like , I was 15 blocks away when tower two fell the first one to fall. And I was at this, I was evacuating when the second one fell.

Melissa Won:

The point in the street where there was, you know, you could see debris, couldn't see debris,

Michael Peerless:

But I had , uh , you know, I was covered in Ash, Oh , I said half an hour. And I like many other people who were in New York that night , um, spent the whole night standing in line to give blood at , at a, at a hospital, which they ultimately didn't need. Of course, because there were essentially no injuries, but that's not what they had thought at the beginning. But I had been in those buildings many times working on that case.

Melissa Won:

So we've talked quite a bit about your professional life at this point. And thank you for that. What do you do, what do you do outside of the office?

Michael Peerless:

For the last 20 years or so ago I guess. Um, by the time I turned about well, by the time I turned 40, I had been kind of doing nothing but work for 10 years and I couldn't help noticing that that, u m, hadn't been probably that good for me. That was right around the same time as 9/11 and I weighed, u h, over 250 pounds. U m, i t didn't really do anything except work. And, u m, my, my wife and a couple of my friends were training to run the Chicago marathon. And, u m, they, u h, they'd been doing a bunch of a bunch of running, of course, and they'd been running, you know, for months, u h, to get ready for it. And, u m, I had been my contribution to that had been to watch the kids and they were going for their last, what they call long run before the marathon o n, on, I think it was labor day weekend. And , um, we went to a friend's cottage and the guy who was running the marathon with a big group of people, there were about 10 of them who were running the marathon. And , um, we went to that guy's cottage for the weekend. He happened to also be my family doctor and they, they , uh, they were going to go for the long run. I was watching the kids, which was maybe 10 kids. I don't even like kids very much. Um, but that was my job. So I was what I was doing and off, they went for the run and they got about two hours into it. I think it was going to be a three hour run. And , um, they came back , uh , because there's a big thunderstorm happening and they all came back and it went on and on and on. So they they just gave up and said, well, that was long enough. So they all had showers. There was only one shower at the cottage. The cottage was my friends , the doctor who, who was also the most serious runner by the time everybody else had had a shower. Cause he let them go first, the weather cleared up. So he said, Oh, I think I'm going to go do the, my last hour of my run. Again, he was the most serious runner and he, and then he said, Mike, you should come with me and everybody including me and like the small children laughed because that was ridiculous. That I even think about it.

Patrick Clancy:

Even the small children, the small children even knew . Yeah.

Michael Peerless:

He , so he said, well, I'm , I'm really not kidding, Mike it's either that or die. So when your doctor says that to you, I said, well, even then I said, well, I don't have any, any , uh, running shoes. Cause I never really owned a pair of real running shoes. And he goes, I probably have 15 pairs of size, 10 or 10 and a half running shoes back in the mudroom. There , you can borrow any pair that you can get on your feet. Uh, I don't have a pair of running shorts. And he said, well, they're , I can't help you. No one makes running shorts in your size. Oh, wow. So in my, in my cotton t-shirt and borrowed running shoes and khaki shorts, I went out and ran 10 K, which took me two hours and 20 minutes. And I felt terrible. And mostly it was walking. Um , and I thought it was stupid. And six weeks later I ran the Chicago marathon. So cause I was late , I was probably down about 20 pounds. So you ran it at about 230, and 4 hours and 31 minutes, which is not a fast marathon. No , but it's a lot faster than 220 for 10 K. And if you run a big enough, big city marathon, there's 30,000 people. I finished 10,000.

Patrick Clancy:

Yeah. And you've run, I assume you've run a lot more marathons since then. And if you got into anything, right ?

Michael Peerless:

Yeah. So since, so it was, it was kind of addictive as, as running is and I've since then run about another 20 standalone marathons , um , including New York and Boston a few times. And um, you know, I got, no , I never got fast, but I got fast enough to run the Boston marathon. And then I got into , um, doing triathlons because I preferred cycling to running really in terms of road running marathon training, it's just sort of feels like it's hard on your body. And I like cycling. So got into cycling, did a bunch of triathlons. I've done 11 iron man triathlons. Now

Patrick Clancy:

An ironman, sorry, I don't do ironmans. What does an ironman entail again?

Michael Peerless:

So that's a four kilometer swim, 180 kilometer bike ride and then run a marathon. And how long does that take? So my fastest ones that , that are about 11 hours. So yeah. So ,

Patrick Clancy:

Um, and where, where have you done those? So I've done. That's the most grueling one you've done?

Michael Peerless:

The most grueling. The two most grueling ones are I'm in, we're in Texas where it was extremely hot, well over 110. So that makes it hard to run a marathon because you're always running it in the heat of the day because they start at seven o'clock in the morning. And by the time you've done all those other things, it's, you know, one or something and, and the one in Kona, the world championships, that's very hot and hilly and humid and windy and things too. So those are probably the two toughest ones, but they're all tough. The suffering is why you do it. It's the fun part.

Patrick Clancy:

You mentioned Kona. Is that, is that what makes you a Kona-file?

Michael Peerless:

That is well that's, that's why I first went to, to Kona, to the big Island of Hawaii

Patrick Clancy:

And sorry, I'm calling you a Konafile cause I checked your Twitter and you have on there that you are a Konafile.

Michael Peerless:

Right? And , and because I and F after being in Kona , uh, for the first time in 2003 to do the Ironman world championships, my, my wife and I, and I guess our kids kind of fell in love with Hawaii and said to ourselves of one , one day, we'd love to be able to, you know, well, first of all, we'd like to come back and one day be great to come back, you know, on a regular basis. And then we were lucky enough to, to be able to purchase a house in Hawaii a few years later. And so we go, we do go to Hawaii a lot and , uh , done , done lots of racing in Hawaii, but also just like to go to Hawaii

Melissa Won:

Again, am I caring that I have a sailor as well? Aren't you?

Michael Peerless:

I was a very avid sailor and I will say, my wife gets seasick. Doesn't really like sailing. So she hasn't really ever gotten into it. So we've kind of as a family, we haven't done much of it, but I used to do a lot of sailboat racing. I was on the national sailing team for a while. I've erased all over the world, raced across lots of oceans. I've got a friend right now Who's doing the Von day globe single-handed around the world race. So yeah, I think that actually helped me when it came to things like marathons, because I used to do lots of long distance offshore sailing, which is kind of a mind game. Cause you don't really see anything it's it goes on for a long time, sometimes days or weeks, marathoning, long distance triathlons, that kind of thing, kind of similar. But yeah, I love sailing and I, I used to do a lot of it. Occasionally. I still do some cause one of my brothers lives in , uh , Houston, which is on the ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. And he has a few sailboats and he does some racing. So I sometimes go down and race with him and I occasionally I get a call to go and do some sailboat racing somewhere else too. So every once in a while. So

Patrick Clancy:

You like to go fast on the water. Do you like to go fast on the road?

Michael Peerless:

Well, it would be, I would never break the law. I'm going fast on the road coud be, I mean.

Patrick Clancy:

What kind of should be the highway traffic act? Yeah . You drive a Honda civic, don't you?

Michael Peerless:

I have a Honda pickup truck much of the time.

Patrick Clancy:

But what kind of vehicles do you like to go fast?

Michael Peerless:

So I do like to go fast and I and I, and I do spend quite a bit of time on the track in cars. So I, I hop in, I have a Porsche nine 11 GT three, which a great car to be able to drive, you know , on the road, but also take to the track. Um , it has a cage and harnesses and really, and I, and I have, you know, what tracks do you take it out too ? So we're lucky here in London to have a very good track road course close by at grand bend. Great, great road course right there. Uh, I've driven, I've driven nine 11 at Delaware Speedway on the quarter mile oval. Um, and I've driven stock cars there too. Lots of times. Cool. Occasionally raced them. Then I go to Shannon Ville and Mosport and , uh, Mont Tremblant nd , um , Sebring . Nice in Florida and Daytona. Yeah . Um,

Patrick Clancy:

Did you travel somewhere to pick that car up?

Michael Peerless:

Like I did. I picked that car up in Germany at the factory in Leipzig, drove it on the track , uh, in Leipzig and then drove it to Belgium and drove it on at spa on the formula one course day. Did you drive on the Autobahn? I did drive on the Autobahn. I did go fast. I go , I went faster on the Autobahn and then I went and I've been able to go on the track even because it was illegal because it was legal because it was legal. That's right. Yeah. So, so we have 337 kilometers an hour. You don't, you probably don't want to go faster than that. No, no, thanks . Something bad happens. It's probably going to be real bad.

Patrick Clancy:

I was nervous when they increased the, the maximum speed on the four 402 to 110. So , uh.

Michael Peerless:

Usually on, in , in a good car, the straight fast parts are the part you relax, take your hands off the wheel. It's this, it's the scary corners.

Melissa Won:

So Mike, you've just settled into the role of managing partner of our firm. And do you have a bit of a background in , uh, in law firm management with your previous firm. What do you think is the most challenging part of managing a firm?

Michael Peerless:

Well, you know, I think like anyone who's the managing partner of a law firm, there's only one real, two real reasons to do it. That's to reward my friends and punish my enemies, but no, that's not really the reason. Um , you know, the, the difficult part is balancing the interests. I think , um, you know, and I, I don't think that's difficult here really, but it's the most, the most difficult thing that , that there are there legitimate interests that are, that are conflicting or at least are butting against each other, between , uh, you know, making this a good place to work, being good members of the community, supporting charities, paying people fairly, or, or better than fairly making sure the workplace is healthy and fun and all that. And so coming up with that balance is , is the tricky part. Um, I'm certainly not, it's certainly not my goal as managing partner to shake things up or make, make big changes. I think it's a great place. I'm not , uh , I'm not , uh , I'm not here to do a turnaround . I'm just here to, you know, hold the line and , and , uh, and try to live up to the great management that , uh, that the firm's been enjoying over the last , uh, well , the whole time I've been here ,

Patrick Clancy:

Mike, that's awesome. Thanks so much for sitting down with us and talking to us today. Thanks for doing this. This is great.