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The Judge of the House

Word Count: 977


By Alise Fife




The floor cracks as Daniel Fife walks around his office in Kitchener as he speaks to his Dictaphone. He
murmurs in a low voice, and occasionally looks down at his pile of scribbled notes on his desk.
Fife has been practicing law for twenty-four years now, and has been certified by the Law Society of
Upper Canada as a Specialist in Civil Litigation.
For the last 10 years, Dan has owned a law firm in Kitchener called Fife McKeown. Fife says, I was a
partner at a law firm called Giffin Lee, which has about fifteen lawyers, and I decided the I wanted to try
something new. So I left to start my own law firm.
Fife says, people get their lives turned upside down, and they just dont know where to go. He
continues; while reclining in his chair, to say that he likes helping people, and enjoys being able to make
a difference in those individuals lives.
Fife talks about his small firm which only has two lawyers.
With my law firm, we only do whats called Civil Litigation, which is court cases dealing with people
who have been sued or are suing somebody else and most of that is for people who have been injure.
The law firm is doing really well, they have a lot of clients and files. On May 2, Dans former partner
Sharron McKeown left the firm to take care of her three young children. Dan was excited for her to start
a new chapter in her life, but he was also feeling quite sad about his partner of four years leaving, so on
her last day, he took his staff out for a goodbye lunch at the Charcoal Steak House.
With the help of his girlfriend Carol (now wife), and Jack Rudd, Fife decided to switch out of physical
education; for which he first got into university, and instead took political science and economics. Jack
Rudd was a former criminal lawyer in Boston.
He was very knowledgeable about a lot of different things, and a lot of different aspects of life, said
Fife as he looks to the recorder on the desk. He was just a very interesting man, who had a lot of
different life experiences.
Fife graduated from Laurentian University in 1985 after winning an award for the highest graduating
student in Economics. From there he went on to graduate from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1988.
[Carol Fife] helped me realize that I have potential to do more than sports.
Carol is Dans wife, they have been married for 26 years coming this September. They have six children,
from ages 12 21. Fife has three boys and three girls and mentions that people stare at them like they
were the Brady Bunch.
I love being a father, all those awards and honours I have received are great, but my top true
achievement is being a father to my children, says Fife.
In conjunction with being a lawyer and a business owner, Fife also is a professor of law at the Wilfred
Laurier University in Waterloo, and a part time judge.
Fifes secretary brings in some papers and looks up at the big family portrait mounted on Mr. Fifes wall
of his family. She places the papers on his desk and excuses herself from the room without saying
anything.
Fife checks over the files as the Michigans Football themed clock behind him ticks away.
In order to be a judge, you must be a practicing lawyer for 10 years, Mr. Fife explains, I sit as a deputy
judge for the small claims and what that means is that I was appointed, but for a three year term that is
renewable, and I have been renewed three times. Fife likes the job, but with a bit of hesitation he
mentions that he would not like it as a full time job because he enjoys practicing law more than being a
judge.
Being a judge is really cool, and it so interesting to be on the other side of the court room, and being
the one making the decision. I found being a judge easy, because honestly I am a judge at my home
everyday. Fife chuckles and takes a sip of his water. But I munch prefer being a lawyer.
Fife explains the reasoning for becoming a professor was that the university was looking for a practicing
lawyer to teach a business/law course.
He thought it would be interesting because not only is he a practicing lawyer, he also hears a lot of
business disputes being a judge and the aspect of being a owner of a business lead him to apply and
end up getting the job at the university.
I really enjoy teaching, says Fife, but I do not like the marking. Fife laughs at his words and continues
working on the files.
Fifes eldest daughter Emilie attends Laurier University and she says that I have attended one of my
dads classes, and I found he did a great job. He always gives us life lessons and it neat that he is putting
his energy to teaching other kids.
Ten years from now, Fife would like to have other lawyers a part of his firm that are dealing with the
day-to-day practice of law, and he wants to be more as a mentor. He wants to be directing the work that
others are doing. Fife believes he will be working less than full time and he hopes to pursue an interest
in politics somewhere down the line.
But for now, Fife packs up his brief case, stuffing it with illegible notes and documents as he closes the
door to Fife McKeown and walks to his car to arrive home just in time for dinner.