Raphael is Senior Counsel with TD Financial Bank Group ("TD") where he provides estates and trusts advice to the business as it relates to its products, services and market conduct. He works closely with his business partners in developing, implementing and maintaining best-in-class estates and trusts advice practices and processes that are compliant with applicable laws and regulations.
Raphael joined TD after spending more than five years with MD Financial Management ("MD") and Manulife Financial Corporation ("Manulife") in senior legal and advisory roles. At MD, Raphael provided timely and practical legal advice in a fast-paced environment to a variety of internal clients, with an emphasis on MD’s life and health insurance and private wealth businesses. He worked closely with MD Life, MD Insurance Agency Limited and MD Signature Private Wealth in developing, implementing and maintaining best-in-class insurance and high net worth advice practices and processes. At Manulife, Raphael worked closely with Manulife Private Wealth, insurance advisors and other partners to support high net worth clients and deliver integrated insurance, estate and tax planning solutions. Prior to joining the financial services industry, Raphael worked as a wealth preservation and estates and trusts lawyer with Bull, Housser and Tupper LLP (now Norton Rose Fulbright LLP) in Vancouver and Blake, Cassels and Graydon LLP in Toronto respectively.
Raphael earned his law degree from the University of Victoria, and his Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Simon Fraser University. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario, the Law Society of British Columbia, and the Canadian Bar Association. Raphael is also a long-time volunteer with the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and Simon Fraser University Alumni Association. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and previously served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Simon Fraser University Alumni Association.
Away from work, Raphael enjoys playing and watching soccer. He also loves exercising, travelling and cooking with his wife.
Why did you decide to become an In-House Counsel?
" I decided to become an In-House Counsel because of the opportunity to work closely with my business partners and others to deliver integrated financial, insurance, estate and tax planning solutions to our clients. The issues we address are usually complex and interesting and often involve fascinating real-life stories.
Being an In-Housel Counsel at a financial services firm like TD is made even more fascinating because of the quality of the people I meet and work with - they are smart, passionate, and hardworking. I love working with good people, who have a strong work ethic, get along, and communicate well. "
Is the role of In-House Counsel changing? And if yes, how so?
"Yes, the role of In-House Counsel is changing mainly because financial services firms and the In-House Counsel who support them are working at a time of tremendous change in customer preferences as well as the regulatory and competitive environments in which these firms operate. In-House Counsel must evolve our practices and advice to become enablers of positive business and regulatory change while helping our clients and business partners avoid, address or limit the impact of those changes that pose significant risks to our businesses and clients. We must do so at an increasingly dynamic pace in an environment where legal risks are not always easily identifiable."
What is one of your favourite moments in your legal career?
"My favorite moments are those times when I am working in conjunction with my business partners and others to solve a problem for our clients. I am a natural problem solver and a strategic thinker who loves reviewing, absorbing and analyzing information, as well as talking and listening to my partners to help make better decisions or solve problems. Sometimes the tool is the law, other times it is business principles and sometimes it is the common sense my mother taught me."
How are you leveraging legal technology?
"I use legal technology to keep on top of emerging trends in my area of law. I also leverage it to help track and manage my relationship with external counsel and collaborate with my business partners and others."
If you had a magic wand and you could change one thing about the legal industry, what would it be?
"I would change the legal profession so that the members of the profession and those who are its leaders reflect the diverse tapestry of the clients and communities the profession serves."
Subscribe to our bi-monthly email for free articles, special offers, news and events, specifically tailored for in-house counsel.