Via the Toronto Star, the news dropped like a bombshell and rocked the Toronto legal community:
A Toronto lawyer who launched a high-profile lawsuit on behalf of investors in the Trump International Hotel & Tower has left the country in the wake of allegations that “well in excess” of $3 million in trust funds is missing.
Litigator Javad Heydary, 49, was last heard from Nov. 15 when he told colleagues he had to return to his native Iran to tend to a sick relative.
The Law Society of Upper Canada alleges in a court filing this week that Heydary is being investigated for “misappropriation, mishandling trust funds, and failing to comply with a court order.”
In the face of the recent resignation of a number of well-respected lawyers from some half dozen boutique firms that Heydary ran in the heart of the financial district, the Law Society has taken over as trustee of the businesses.
My colleague, Selwyn Pieters, was among the first to pick up the story on The Twitter:
The timing of Heydary’s disappearance is in stark contrast to a recent Law Times story touting Heydary’s visionary, ground-breaking alternative law firm model:
Javad Heydary has a theory: the future of law belongs to large international and small boutique firms. So when he sought to expand his law firm a couple of years ago, he decided he didn’t want to go with something between those two extremes.
That’s when he came up with a model called “affiliated boutique firms.” Today, the Heydary law firms, besides Heydary Hamilton Professional Corp., include intellectual property practitioners at Heydary Hayes Professional Corp., family lawyers at Heydary Green Professional Corp., a litigation practice at Heydary Elliott Professional Corp., and real estate lawyers at Heydary Samuel Professional Corp.
Each firm is legally a separate entity as a professional corporation. Heydary is a shareholder in each of them. To his knowledge, no one else in the legal industry is using this business formula.
“The future of law, in my humble opinion, will be those large international law firms and boutique firms,” says Heydary. “I don’t see a future for smaller full-service firms. The market is shrinking. There’s too much competition.”
Erm, the future of law has not only left the building, he has left the country. (more…)