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Gandhi

Title Insurance Lawyer

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Anyone have any experience working as counsel (underwriting or claims) for FCT, ST, or Chicago? How was it? 

What are the day-to-day tasks typically involved with a lawyer in the title industry? 

It's an intriguing area of law and rather niche; I am aware of the fundamental tasks based on various postings, but was hoping to get a more in-depth perspective from someone who knows first-hand.

TIA

Edited by Gandhi

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I don't know if it's really niche... these are not small companies. No idea how many lawyers they employ nationally or in Ontario but for whatever reason it seems to be the case that nobody here works for these companies.

I think if you look into in house jobs, insurance defense jobs, and the nature of title problems that title insurance covers (so some real estate law fundamentals) you will probably get a decent picture of what these jobs would entail. That's not what you're looking for though, admittedly

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While I know these companies have in-house teams, my impression is that these are quite lean and I suspect the majority of the counsel jobs are out of the US rather than Canada (e.g. with Fidelity rather than Chicago).

This is all just my conjecture though. I say contact the legal team directly and see what's what.

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Perhaps these posted jobs were the reason for OP's post:

https://ca.indeed.com/jobs?q=stewart+title&l=Ontario

There are descriptive "responsibilities" sections. The salary range seems pretty low for in-house in Toronto and with them asking for experienced applicants. That's telling to me. The legal team is probably lean indeed, and the scope of what you do in these roles is probably fairly limited.

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8 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

Perhaps these posted jobs were the reason for OP's post:

https://ca.indeed.com/jobs?q=stewart+title&l=Ontario

There are descriptive "responsibilities" sections. The salary range seems pretty low for in-house in Toronto and with them asking for experienced applicants. That's telling to me. The legal team is probably lean indeed, and the scope of what you do in these roles is probably fairly limited.

5 years practice experience, bilingual and knowledge of the Autorité des marchés financiers!? That salary range has to be an error...

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No kidding. By way of contrast, I was in that salary range as a a 1st year associate well outside the GTA. Could this somehow be in USD? That would be about CAD$83,500 to $115,500. Still seems slightly low, but less shocking.

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6 minutes ago, artsydork said:

5 years practice experience, bilingual and knowledge of the Autorité des marchés financiers!? That salary range has to be an error...

Kind of seems like they are trying to capture the type of lawyer who is tempted by the idea of leaving law for a normal 9-5 with benefits. You know, the person who would become an entry level policy analyst or work for the ombudsman or something like that.  

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1 hour ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

Kind of seems like they are trying to capture the type of lawyer who is tempted by the idea of leaving law for a normal 9-5 with benefits. You know, the person who would become an entry level policy analyst or work for the ombudsman or something like that.  

This was my  hunch as well. I have since spoken with someone in this role and have a better idea of the scope of work. My friend did mention that the bonus structure is decent at this particular insurer and that there is room to grow with the company into more senior roles with significantly higher base salaries.

Not a bad gig if you're seeking a good work/life balance, a bay street job (without bay street pay - at least not for a few years), and the opportunity to specialize in real estate.

 

 

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From having worked on several files related to title insurance claims, I got to know the counsel at Stewart fairly well. From what I gather, they would wait around for files that either clearly met the threshold for coverage or were of debatable nature. They’ed review the law for the debatable ones and then form an opinion. 
 

If the claim was covered they’re often try and negotiate for the most cost effective strategy. I had one claim which required litigation and Stewart retained our firm to perform the litigation. (Billings would be covered by Stewart). 
 

From this I take it the counsel’s main function was to assess claims that were of debatable nature (I.e claims which may or may not be excluded or captured by definitions of words). Often this counsel I worked with would require approval to proceed from higher ups. 

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On 12/24/2020 at 10:02 AM, LeoandCharlie said:

From having worked on several files related to title insurance claims, I got to know the counsel at Stewart fairly well. From what I gather, they would wait around for files that either clearly met the threshold for coverage or were of debatable nature. They’ed review the law for the debatable ones and then form an opinion. 
 

If the claim was covered they’re often try and negotiate for the most cost effective strategy. I had one claim which required litigation and Stewart retained our firm to perform the litigation. (Billings would be covered by Stewart). 
 

From this I take it the counsel’s main function was to assess claims that were of debatable nature (I.e claims which may or may not be excluded or captured by definitions of words). Often this counsel I worked with would require approval to proceed from higher ups. 

Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for.

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18 minutes ago, Gandhi said:

Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for.

Just to add to this. I will also note that title insurance companies also clearly get involved in litigating contract interpretations. There’s numerous cases which can be found where definitions of insurance policies are contested. I suspect counsel works on these matters as well, in addition to updating insurance policy language when needed. But the counsel I worked with to my knowledge wasn’t involved in this. I suspect this role would be for more senior counsel. 

Edited by LeoandCharlie
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Nodel v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co is a good example of this.The court was tasked with interpreting the words "are paid to" as it relates to an exclusion/exception from coverage clause.

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