On September 14 at a gala dinner held in his honour, Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel Co-Managing Partner, Bruce Reynolds, received the 2023 Ontario Bar Association Construction & Infrastructure Law Award of Excellence. The Award was presented by his long-time Partner and friend, Sharon Vogel, recognizing Bruce’s exceptional contributions both to the law and to the construction industry.

Bruce was raised in Huntsville, Ontario, in the Muskoka district, at the time a small town with a population of 2,000. He entered Victoria College at the University of Toronto in 1974, his father’s alma mater, to study English Literature. He graduated from the University of Toronto Law School in 1981.

Bruce began his legal career as an articling student at Borden & Elliot, the Toronto predecessor entity to Borden Ladner Gervais. Following this he was hired back by the firm as an Associate in 1983 — one of only two in his class of 12 — to work with Dr. Carl Morawetz, the leading insolvency lawyer in Canada and an original co-author of Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law of Canada. In late 1985, Bruce began working with Ken Scott, a leading expert in the area of surety bonding.

These experiences, and the foundational mentoring he was afforded, had a strong influence on Bruce’s path to becoming a construction lawyer. His work with Ken Scott during the depths of the two 1980s recessions provided a strong pipeline of opportunities and piqued his passion for the construction industry. Says Bruce, “from our basis in surety, we developed a strength in construction law generally, and together conceived the idea to grow the footprint of the practice to include pure construction disputes.”

Bruce’s development as a construction lawyer over the next few decades is well documented, as evidenced by the awards that adorn his office, and the list of satisfied clients who make him their first call when they are in need of counsel. He points to a casual comment made to him by Carl Morawetz many years ago: “Reynolds, you’re going to be a great success; not because you’re smart, but because you’re lucky.

Bruce carries these words with him to this day. “Brains are table stakes” he explains. “There are many smart people out there, but smart is not enough. You have to work like a Trojan; but that is still not enough. You have to be lucky!”

Luck is in the people you work with”, he continues. “And it’s in the opportunities that come your way,” although he omits mentioning his role in bringing out the very best in those people, as well as his track record of knocking those opportunities out of the park when called to the plate.

After 37 years building one of Canada’s premiere construction practice groups, Bruce decided to leave behind the security of a successful practice in favour of a bright new challenge. And on January 1, 2018, alongside Sharon Vogel, Bruce joined Singleton Urquhart with a vision to create a dream team and establish the firm as the premiere Construction Law practice in Canada, and one of the premiere practices in the world.

Mission accomplished! Since establishing the office only five and a half years ago, Singleton Reynolds’ Toronto Construction Practice has grown from just four lawyers to 20, who represent high profile clients on matters valued up to hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars. And the future could not be brighter.

True to form, Bruce points to the quality of the team as responsible for the success. “Building from a base of four very committed and hard-working lawyers to a platform of 20 would not have been possible without the very strong and consistent support of our Toronto office, and the unwavering support of our Vancouver office, and in particular our founder, John Singleton.”

Bruce also points to continuing engagement and reinvention as keys to his long-term success, and who could argue? Here, he provides the examples of his involvement in the Canadian and American Colleges of Construction Lawyers, the International Bar Association and the International Academy of Construction Lawyers. Not content with resting on past achievements, he hints at the next chapter, which involves continuing his counsel practice while also working in dispute resolution, with a focus on the mediation and arbitration of construction disputes.

It will allow me to continue my counsel work, which I love, and to continue to help build the firm, and enjoy the benefits of collegiality and camaraderie with my colleagues, which I also cherish.” A win-win for all.

Congratulations Bruce on winning the 2023 Ontario Bar Association Construction & Infrastructure Law Award of Excellence, from all your friends and colleagues at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel!

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