Jonathan A. Hacohen is a partner at Kormans LLP practicing real estate and commercial law. “I love what I do,” says Jonathan. “I have a calling, I have a career. And when I can build relationships, make new friends and get things done it’s the best feeling in the world.”Kormans LLP is headquartered in Mississauga, and also serves Toronto and the GTA. Please note this interview has been edited for clarity and brevity, and does not constitute legal advice.
Van Hansen: Do you live in Mississauga?
Jonathan Hacohen: I live in the Vaughn area actually on the cusp of North York and I commute to Mississauga about four times a week.
I am one of the new breed of mobile lawyers. We have multiple locations we operate out of, so you can find me downtown Toronto one day a week, and at different times in North York and Vaughn, Markham, even Newmarket it just depends on our scheduling.
Van Hansen: So you have some flexibility then in where you can meet with clients, depending on their circumstances?
Jonathan Hacohen: Absolutely. Clients typically see me either in the office or at home. I live in a condo so we can meet in the lobby or the café to sign, in my office, or whatever location I’m going to be at—if they can’t get out then I can go to them, for example with elderly clients, or families with young kids they can’t always leave the house.
It can be difficult for them so if I can do it I go to their house or another lawyer in the office will go to their house; we help each other when we need to and it’s a little convenience factor for the client but sometimes it makes all the difference for them.
Van Hansen: How did you get interested in the law, and when did you decide to become a lawyer?
Jonathan Hacohen: I knew I wanted to be a real estate lawyer for as long as I can remember, and really I was groomed from day one to do what I’m doing today. My family came here from Israel when my mother was pregnant with me, and my brother was 17 years older than me—he was supposed to be the lawyer but became an accountant instead.
My father was a real estate lawyer before me, and when I was growing up, as a young boy all we ever talked about at the dinner table was real estate.
When I was five I thought I wanted to be a gardener, outside in the summer, mowing some lawns and having the winters off. Later I figured out all those guys were also snowplowing in the winter. I tried to think of other careers, I thought maybe I would go into business and marketing, but for me the law was where I was going to be.
When I finished high school I figured I can’t really jump into law school yet, I need a couple of years of university. I thought if I’m going to have corporate clients one day I should have a business background, so I did in fact go to Schulich at York University, and then Osgoode Hall Law School.
Van Hansen: You are also an instructor for the OREA Real Estate College, which is the provider for both Salesperson and Broker Registration Education. With the program now in transition, will you continue on once Humber College takes over?
Jonathan Hacohen: I am looking forward to the opportunity to join Humber. I had been teaching the Real Property Law course a couple of times a year, but now with the switch OREA announced that my course has gone to an on-line only format, so I essentially have a hiatus for this year.
Van Hansen: How many real estate deals would you generally close in a year?
Jonathan Hacohen: A typical year is in the hundreds. Last year I closed about 750 real estate transactions, and the firm here closed thousands.
With the partners and associates, and multiple clerks we do things on both a firm basis and on an individual basis. So we assist each other, say if someone is on vacation or someone is at a seminar and an issue comes up, then someone else jumps in.
But to do what I do for a living you have to juggle many balls in the air at the same time.
Van Hansen: What do you do to keep yourself grounded?
Jonathan Hacohen: For me, it’s amazing the difference when I’m doing yoga, and when I’m not. I like to practice yoga for an hour a day, first thing in the morning at the studio where I have a membership. That way I am calm, refreshed, engergized and I feel great. I eat better, I sleep well and I’m in a different place.
Van Hansen: Outside of work what is most important to you?
Jonathan Hacohen: My kids are number one. I have three beautiful children that I love with all my heart, so my life is my boys when I’m not at work.
And I am very lucky to have a great family that is really good to me. They are always in my corner and I can’t imagine where I would be today without them.
I know it sounds cliché, but you have family, you have friends, and it’s having a balance in life.
I learned early on as a young lawyer the work is never going to end. You say I have deadlines so let’s skip this, this, and this and I’ll make up for it next week. And all of a sudden you’re not taking vacations, you’re working 24-7 and what you’re doing is just killing yourself and you are killing your productivity. So instead of working 24 hours, work 10 hours, 12, 14 hours—find some balance.
Last year the Ontario Bar Association brought me in to give a seminar for a series on mindfulness, de-stressing, decluttering, and finding work-life balance, and that’s what I’m all about.
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