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Dan McIntyre owns and runs Dan McIntyre Paralegal and Consulting Services based in Toronto, Canada. He only represents residential tenants.
He started his career as a volunteer. Mr. McIntyre was living in a large rental complex in Ottawa, which was known as Bayshore. The landlord was the main private landlord in Eastern Ontario. After the landlord decided they wanted an above guideline increase, Mr. McIntyre assisted in organizing the Bayshore Tenants Association, which helped reduce the rent increase.
After assisting the Bayshore Tenants Association, Mr. McIntyre and others started working on a new organization called the Federation of Ottawa Carleton Tenants Associations. He was on the first volunteer Board of Directors. The organization eventually received a grant from Ottawa and Mr. McIntyre was asked to be the executive director.
He was able to fight for better rent control, more affordable housing, better maintenance standards, and to give tenants a voice at City Hall and the Province of Ontario. In 1985, the David Peterson Government asked Mr. McIntyre to serve on the Rent Review Advisory Committee. He fought for a better deal for tenants.
As part of Mr. McIntyre's work, he started to consistently represent tenants at the former Landlord Tenant Court and at rent review hearings. Landlord reps were not happy when they saw him. In the early 90's, the province started funding tenant groups and Mr. McIntyre was able to help more people.
In 2000, the Board of Directors of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations asked Mr. McIntyre to move to Toronto and lead the Outreach and Organizing of the Toronto Tenant Defense Fund project. Toronto began this as a one-year project, but it later turned into a permanent program. Under Mr. McIntyre's leadership, the funding for the project was increased more than seventy percent. He left the organization in July 2010 and then went into private practice as Dan McIntyre Paralegal and Consulting.
When the Province brought in new legislation governing paralegals in 2007, Mr. McIntyre applied for a license. He went through all of the procedures and aced the exam. Mr. McIntyre became licensed in 2009.
Mr. McIntyre has brought his extensive experience, passion, skills, and his commitment to private practice. He had the privilege of representing some great tenant groups and tenants for four years. Mr. McIntyre has developed the skills to truly advocate for tenants.
When he lived in Ottawa, he was a frequent commentator in the media. Paralegal Scope Magazine has published a couple of articles that Mr. McIntyre wrote. He was given the Housing Hero award by the Housing Help organization in Ottawa. Mr. McIntyre was also awarded a governor general medal for outstanding contribution to his community.
He was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. When asked about his family, Mr. McIntyre stated, "I am a father of three successful adult children and six adorable grandchildren. My two oldest children married Americans and live in US, as do all the grandkids. I don't see them often enough, but it's more special when I do. I am a widower. My youngest daughter was first in our family to get a University degree (with honours at U of T)."
When he isn't working, Mr. McIntyre enjoys the Toronto Blue Jays, playing euchre or poker online, and music from the sixties. While growing up, Mr. McIntyre read baseball books, Mark Twain books, and he enjoyed the works of Kurt Vonnegut.
Mr. McIntyre's Successful Career
How long has Mr. McIntyre been a paralegal? "I did my first case in 1982 and did case work off and on for the next 18 years. I then became employed by the FMTA and worked with tenants across Toronto primarily on rent issues. I obtained my LSUC license in 2009 and have now been in private practice for 4 years. I do consider myself semi-retired."
Why did he decide to become a paralegal? "I first got involved in my own community and was appalled at an imbalance in the landlord tenant field, and after a while nobody was representing tenants (except legal aid) and there was a void, a need and a cause."
What advice would Mr. McIntyre give to someone who's brand-new to his position? "Work hard on your first cases before you try to take too much on. Work for the underdog and take pride."
What information does he wish he had when starting out? "You will never get rich."
What does Mr. McIntyre think are the keys to becoming a successful paralegal? "Commitment to your clients first. Being realistic and honest, but always on their side."
What does he think makes the difference between a good paralegal and a great paralegal? "I don't know any great paralegals. There are many good ones."
What's one of the things that Mr. McIntyre finds most challenging about his job? "Managing client expectations. Tenants have a right to believe that the Government protects them from unreasonable and unfair rent increases - but in fact, the Act was written for landlords by landlords. Thus, rents are becoming more unaffordable and taking more of people's disposable income. However, an effective paralegal can almost always make cases better for tenant clients."
What would he say is the most important thing he learned as a paralegal? "There is a tremendous imbalance favoring corporate Canada and their well-paid lawyers. Over the years, I have improved my ability to work with evidence, ask good questions and that victories are rarely absolute."
What is the difference between Mr. McIntyre and other paralegals doing the same thing that he does? "I only know one other paralegal who works exclusively for tenants and he is a friend."
What is the best part of his job? "Positive feedback from tenant clients."
What is Mr. McIntyre known for professionally? "I am known as the go to guy for tenants. Even landlord reps often refer people to me. I am always prepared with a plan - but also quite quick to adjust and to deal with situations as they happen. I also enjoy the argument stage of a case because I am known as an excellent public speaker."
What does he think about the paralegal field in Ontario today? "I have met some very good people - but also some egomaniacs and people who think a paralegal is a lawyer. We are different and should bring a more common approach to our field. I am also very concerned that a lot of young people are enrolling in expensive paralegal courses - but very few will ever make a living at it even with a license."
If Mr. McIntyre were not in this profession, what would he most probably be doing? "Managing the Blue Jays."
Where does he see himself in five years' time? "I will be 69 - and health permitting still doing casework."
What motivates Mr. McIntyre to be a paralegal every day? "The next case."
Mentoring Paralegals, Volunteer Activities,People Who Inspire Ms. McIntyre and His Goals
Does Mr. McIntyre consider himself a mentor?"I enjoy having a coffee with new paralegals."
Is he involved with any volunteer activities? "I am a volunteer director at the Kensington Bellwoods Community Legal Clinic. When my kids were growing up, I umpired little league games, and from time to time I have been involved with the New Democratic Party."
Who inspires Mr. McIntyre? "I remember being about 20 and being laid off. I went to an employment agency and I remember a counselor who made you feel you were his only client and his only concern. I have tried to do that with my clients (focus and listen). I am a product of the sixties and was inspired by people who wanted to make a change for the better. Too many other individuals to mention."
He has accomplished a lot in his career. What's next for Mr. McIntyre? "Tomorrow. I have a case tomorrow and all of my focus is on doing well for the tenant clients."
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