Haber inks deal that puts his name on one of the newest buildings in the city. The name will still appear on transit buses,



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 24, 12013. Chris Haber is a personal injury lawyer with a strong ability to promote.  The name of his law practice is seen on buses and on ball point pens.

Things were going very well for the firm and Haber thought he would move up market and put his name on a building.  While it wasn’t quite that simple – come September we will see the words Haber Recreational Centre, as part of the new complex being built on Tim Dobbie Drive in the Alton Village.

The complex consists of three buildings strung together consisting of a High School, to be named after Frank Hayden, a Library (they’ve not come up with a name yet) and the Recreational Centre that will have Haber`s name on it.

From the left, Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster sitting in for Mayor Goldring who had to remain at Regional Council to assure quorum, as she signs the 20 year $1.3 million naming rights deal with Chris Haber in the Centre. Chris Glenn on the right is pleased with that much cash

The idea of putting the family name on a public building got to Haber when his daughter, who runs the administrative side of the law practice, opened an envelope from the city detailing the new sponsorship program.  Stephanie thought it was a good idea – took it to her Dad and, it happened.

Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation met with the Haber’s. The city put some numbers on the table, Haber being the superb negotiator he is put a number on the table and between those two numbers they found one that said $1.3 million spread out over 20 years – which is not exactly chump change.  Much of the negotiating detail was handled by Stephanie Haber.

The deal went to council committee; they liked it and passed it along to city council.  They liked it as well and all of a sudden Chris Haber will have his name in lights on one of the newest buildings in the city.

None of the Haber family has had a chance to tour the building yet and they don’t know exactly where the sign with their name on it is going to go – if Stephanie is involved in those conversations the family will be happy.

Burlington wants to do more selling of naming rights and is currently cataloging everything they have and determining what is available and what they want in terms of naming rights fees.

These are good dollars and there isn`t a municipality in the country that turns its nose up at this kind of thing.  We might be seeing names on the Zamboni`s at the ice rinks soon.

So who is this guy Haber?  He runs a law practice with seven lawyers on staff and a son who has returned to Burlington after a number of years in Toronto where he tried his hand at business and looked at how well his Dad was doing and decided to study law.  Andrew is articling with his father’s firm and will write his Bar Admission exams next year and then be called to the Bar and become a member of the Upper Canada Law Society and be permitted to hang his shingle alongside his Dad’s.

It was Haber’s good fortune to be with a firm that was wonderfully connected.Chris Haber is one of ten children.  His father ran an insurance company and was once the Ontario Table top Tennis champion.

Chris played a little hockey , left wing.  Did his undergraduate degree at Waterloo and then on to Osgoode Law School and articled with Lang Michener, the firm that was once led by Rolland Michener who went on to serve as one of Canada`s more popular Governor’s General.  It was Haber’s good fortune to be with a firm that was wonderfully connected.

Chris Haber is a litigator – these are the warriors of the law world.  They live in Court rooms and they just love presenting a case to a jury.

“My job as a lawyer” explained Haber “is to do everything I can to get a jury to like me and to like my client.  If I can do that – I win my cases”.  Does he win them all?  Unfortunately no, but he certainly wins enough of them.

Worst case he ever had to handle?  Doesn’t want to talk about that one.  Case that he will never forget?  A young woman, a passenger in a car that was rear ended.  “My client was sitting behind the driver who was a heavy woman.  The force of the crash broke the seat the driver of the car was sitting in, which crashed backwards into my client who suffered very serious brain damage that left her epileptic and subject to small fits.  She would never be able to work again and would need constant care. “We could not get the insurance company to settle.  It took nine years to get that case into a court room.  The trial lasted eight weeks.  It was a jury trial held in Milton. There were more than fifty witnesses and I called three neurosurgeons to testify” explains Haber.

Haber either traveled with, read about or worked with some of the best legal minds in the country.We won that case for the victim – there was an award that exceeded a million dollars.  I’ve never forgotten that case.  These things stay with you.

One of the top business promoters in the city, Haber & Associates is seen where they need to be seen and if that can get done with a ball point pen – then so be it

Haber breathes the law.  He has tapes of some of the great practitioners and spends some of his evening time listening to the best of the best.  Who influenced his thinking the most? That would be The Lord Denning, who served as Master of the Roles in the United Kingdon.  Denning is remembered for his role in the Profumo Affair that brought down a government over a spy and a sex scandal; juicy stuff.  However, the Lord Denning was also one of the most progressive thinkers in British law, who, during his 38-year career as a judge made large changes to the common law, particularly while in the Court of Appeal, and although many of his decisions were overturned by the House of Lords, several of them were confirmed by Parliament, which passed statutes in line with his judgments. Although appreciated for his role as ‘the people’s judge’ and his support for the individual, Denning was also controversial for his campaign against the common law principle of precedent.

Asked who the best lawyer the country has ever had?  Haber has no doubt about that – J.J. Robinette

John Josiah Robinette, was a Canadian lawyer who became a legal legend.  In 1947, he appealed and eventually won the Hamilton case of Evelyn Dick after her conviction of murder in 1946. In 1952 he unsuccessfully defended the notorious bank robbers, The Boyd Gang.   Robinette was also hired by opponents of the cancelled Spadina Expressway in 1971 to make their case at the Ontario Municipal Board.  Haber either traveled with, read about or worked with some of the best legal minds in the country.

Haber hasn’t seen the recreation centre that is under construction yet.  He didn’t even know it was being built but he knew an opportunity when he saw one – and his quick decision had his firm being the first to garner naming rights under the city’s new sponsorship program.

A sharp move.

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