Dan Marcotte is a leading lawyer in Prince George and was recently appointed to the Queens Counsel. Dan was also a key person in the early stage of econveyance and with the recent appointment we thought it was an excellent opportunity for an interview to learn more.
You can find more about Dan’s Practice on their website – http://www.marcottelaw.ca
How did you get started in the legal profession?
Initially I had not planned on becoming a lawyer. My degree was in commerce and business administration and it was only after that when I decided to go to law school. I wasn’t sure it was going to suit until I came to Prince George to article for a year. I created a practice which started to grow year by year and I began to really enjoy the field. I found myself enjoying both the practice of law but also the challenges of managing a firm. So you see it was not a conscious decision but something that evolved over time.
You were part of the creation of econveyance. What were your motivations, what gave you that vision and ultimately what prompted you to act?
Over time my practice evolved to include residential real estate conveyancing and we had a large volume. We became adept at handling these and I started to think how our expertise could benefit other law firms in remote areas of Northern BC. As there are a lot of small towns with one or two law offices that tend to be very general in their practice our thought was to assemble a network of lawyers to handle this area and call it RemoteLaw. This service would handle conveyancing for the lawyers in these smaller towns freeing up their time for other activities. It was therefore around the year 2000 that we set up RemoteLaw Online Systems.
As we worked on this concept of RemoteLaw Online it was becoming clearer that the internet was going to be a great way to collaborate between participants involved in the process of buying a house e.g. Realtor, banks, lawyers. At the time, everyone was using the same documents but creating them internally. We could see that if one party started the process of creating the documents then that initial work could be shared. That’s how the concept started and that’s how it grew. It took several years to develop and at an interesting point in time the BC government moved to electronic registration of land documents. They formed a partnership to develop an interface between the Land Title Office and the program (what is now econveyance). The aim was to convert everything to electronic documentation and to encourage the profession to submit electronically. The way to do that was to have them create the documents electronically at the very beginning of the process which worked well for submission at the Land Title Office.
As the scale of how useful our tool became apparent we bypassed the remote communities only approach and began rolling out province wide. Uptake was steady and it helped to be on BC Online as the lawyers and notaries did land title search and their files were pre-populated by accurate information straight from the Land Title Office. Partial identifier number was correct because it was pure data. Uptake was fast.
As the company grew we added more features which further increased adoption. While I’m not directly affiliated with the company I continue to use econveyance and everyone in the business I know uses it. I’m incredibly proud of the contribution I had coming up with the concept and coming up with the features.
You recently spent a year in Lyon. Can you tell us more about that experience?
I had wanted to complete a Masters and live abroad. My wife and I looked at different locations and programs but ultimately decided that the Catholic University of Lyon was ideal. It was a great decision and very rewarding personally with an opportunity to see around France.
The program itself was conducted entirely in English with students from Ireland, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Chile, Peru, South Africa, Turkey, Lebanon, Germany and Scotland. It was very interesting to meet people from different legal backgrounds and different points of view but with all of us having the course as a central commonality.
The experience was also very timely from a Canadian perspective because of the comprehensive economic trade agreement which is currently being ratified. In BC international trade has typically meant building stronger relationships between Asia and Canada without a lot of emphasis on European trade relationships. This is all set to change. The experience has given me a deeper insight into what the future may hold as well as building an international network of lawyers across Europe and indeed the world.
What is your vision for your firm and wider industry going forward? Big trends, significant changes.
I’ve touched on a couple of these points in the previous questions.
For me the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the new trade relationship with Europe, and what this means for Western Canada with resources development will be significant. This is particularly timely as the recent news from the US is they are less enthusiastic about international trade agreements. This potentially puts Canada in a very good spot between USA and Europe.
I also think the econveyance concept still has huge potential for growth. As the product add features the benefits of adopting this platform for the modern law firm continues to grow.