Michael Dew’s practice is focused on commercial litigation, particularly construction law, creditors’ remedies, insurance matters, and shareholder disputes.
Michael has worked on a wide range of construction law matters including disputes over work quality and entitlement to payment, as well as structural failure cases where he draws on his prior experience as a structural engineer to better understand the issues and serve his clients. Cases involving technical engineering issues have included retaining wall and embankment failures, ground settlement (under warehouses, and major residential projects), and structural failures (buildings and transmission lines).
The builders lien cases Michael handles in the construction law context overlap with the general creditors remedies work he does, including foreclosures, creditors remedies in the bankruptcy context, and involvement with Mareva injunctions (asset freeze orders) and Anton Piller Orders (civil search orders).
Prior to joining JML in 2011, Michael clerked for six justices of the British Columbia Supreme Court, completed an internship with the Provincial Crown, articled and then worked as an associate at a national law firm, and then worked as an insurance defence lawyer for two years.
Litigation, and construction litigation in particular, often involves large volumes of documents and managing data effectively is important not only to ensure cost effective delivery of legal services, but is also an opportunity to obtain a strategic advantage and achieve a better overall result through superior understanding of the facts and management of the data. Michael is enthusiastic about using technology to improve the quality of legal services provided, and a strong believer that while competent use of computers is not a substitute for traditional legal skills (such as knowledge of substantive and procedural law, business judgment, legal writing skills, legal research capabilities, etc.), technology skills are now an essential additional area of competence required in order to meet reasonable client expectations. Michael strives to involve clients (who at the outset know more than anyone about their own disputes) heavily in the fact organization process that is so important when litigating factually complicated cases, and seeks to collaborate with clients online using cloud technologies and familiar applications such as Microsoft Excel. As a relic of his engineering background Michael maintains a hobby interest in computer programming (primarily VBA) and builds spreadsheets to run his practice and client files more efficiently. He has shared some of his spreadsheets through his Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/MichaelDewTechTips/videos
Michael has previously presented papers at continuing legal education seminars hosted by Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, the Pacific Business & Law Institute, and the Pacific Legal Technology Conference, including on the topics such as the Implied Undertaking of Confidentiality, Waiver of Privilege, and Expert Evidence in Civil Proceedings, but has more recently focused on self-publishing at www.legaltree.ca, and on YouTube, to reach a wider and continuing audience. Michael also maintains the website www.builderslienlaw.ca which provides information about builders lien claims in British Columbia.
Education & Bar Admissions
- B.Sc., Civil Engineering, University of Cape Town, 1997
- M.A.Sc., Structural Engineering, University of British Columbia, 2000
- LL.B., University of British Columbia, 2006
- Called to the Bar of British Columbia, 2007