Michael Alexander joined the Justice Centre after a distinguished career in Toronto, where he served as litigation counsel and advisor to private equity firms and also acted as senior counsel to a boutique litigation firm that specialized in administrative, regulatory and constitutional law. Throughout his career, Michael has been actively involved in public affairs in various roles, including acting as a policy advisor to Cabinet ministers in federal and provincial governments, while advocating for reform based on a commitment to Charter-based individual rights, the ideal of limited and transparent government, and the overriding principle of equal opportunity.
Michael has appeared at all levels of the court system, including the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2005, he appeared at the SCC as a self-represented litigant, challenging State Farm (U.S.) in its attempt to fundamentally alter the terms of standard form residential insurance contracts. In a rare unanimous judgment, the Court found in his favour, which had the effect of preserving the existing national regulatory framework for risk and saving homeowners and mortgage investors hundreds of millions of dollars in new premiums.
Michael holds law degrees from the University of Toronto and Columbia University, where he also studied political science and philosophy at the graduate level. While holding the Laidlaw Fellowship in Law and Political Science, he also studied at the University of Chicago.
When not practising law, Michael moonlights as a best-selling author, professional public speaker and media commentator. He is currently at work on his third book, entitled “Whatever You Do, Don’t Think Like a Lawyer.”
Q & A
What is the best part about being part of the Justice Centre team?
I get to put my personal convictions into my work everyday. There’s nothing better!
What has been your most significant moment or experience so far?
There isn’t one. I get to represent interesting and deserving clients every day. It’s a continuum of great work.
If it is your day off, what are you most likely doing for rest and fun.
Weightlifting, playing basketball, listening to music (everything from Chopin to the Clash and beyond), watching sports on TV, catching up on public affairs podcasts and programming, reading books I don’t have time to read during the work week, driving at high speeds in my vintage automobile, chatting with friends around the world about the things that really matter and mostly those that don’t. It’s exhausting!
If you could meet any famous person in the world who would it be and why.
Jordan Peterson, because he believes he has restored the ancient and medieval philosophical belief in duty and virtue on the level of modernity, even though modern philosophy circa 1532 begins with an explicit rejection of both. Kant (the subject of my thesis at Columbia) tried to do it, but failed. If Dr. Peterson has done it, that would be a miracle. I think the clue is in his thinking about Jung.
Did you always want to be a (lawyer) when you grew up?
My first word as a baby was “car.” My first career ambition was to be a car designer and a secret agent. Then, for a long time, I wanted to be an architect. Still not sure how I ended up in law. But I am having a good time with it at the Justice Centre.