Chatham, April 1, 2021 – Whittal + Company Law Firm is celebrating an important milestone: 10 years of serving the legal needs of the community of Chatham-Kent. The area’s largest law firm has grown from very humble beginnings – starting in the basement of Daniel Whittal’s home, where he – with the help of family – began the work to get the small start-up off the ground.
Ten years after opening its doors, WCLF has grown into a dynamic, busy, award-winning firm, with no plans of slowing down. As the largest law firm in Chatham-Kent, WCLF is uniquely positioned to offer high-quality, specialized service in the areas of business/corporate law, residential and commercial real estate Law, estate planning and administration, and agricultural law.
“I am humbled by the amazing team that we’ve assembled over the years at WCLF,” says principal lawyer and CEO, Daniel Whittal. “When we opened our doors 10 years ago, we knew that we wanted to build something unique. The legal profession – especially in rural areas like CK – is facing significant challenges, and our area has long been identified as an area of concern for access to legal services as lawyers retire. So, from the very beginning, we knew that growth needed to be a part of our plan at every stage of development.”
“With the right people in place, we’re working together to ensure that every area of CK is served by our firm, and that we’re making a positive impact in the community we all call home. We’re bridging the gap as more lawyers retire and as fewer new lawyers are considering setting up a practice in rural communities. We work with retiring lawyers to ensure smooth transitions for their clients, and we’ve developed a recruitment program to attract new legal talent to our communities. I know that the topic of a ‘lawyer shortage’ doesn’t sound as alarming as a doctor shortage, but it’s a real issue and we have a plan to address it.”
Whittal + Company Law Firm opened its second location two years ago in Ridgetown to meet the needs of clients served by retiring lawyers in that area. Now, on its 10th anniversary, it is Whittal + Company Law Firm will be opening an office in downtown Wallaceburg. WCLF’s Wallaceburg location which will be helmed by lawyer Jocelyn Kraayenbrink, who has always called the Wallaceburg area home. “I am excited to be working in my home community and extending our legal services through Chatham-Kent,” says Kraayenbrink. “North Kent and surrounding area holds a special place in my heart, and I know that the individuals and businesses there will greatly benefit from our expansion into Wallaceburg.”
The firm also sees an increasing need for a regional law firm that serves the swath of Soutwestern Ontario between Sarnia and Leamington, and they’re approaching their next decade with that in mind. “We believe that top-quality legal services should be readily available
to rural businesses and individuals. A huge part of that is access to a local law firm with infrastructure large enough to serve a client’s legal needs,” says CSO, Rachel Schwarz. “We love our community, we love our work, and we’re looking forward to growing our amazing team, increasing our footprint in SW Ontario, and providing access to high-quality, client-centred legal services across the region.”
The team at WCLF also knows that living and working in a community means giving back, and they’re preparing to do that in a big way as a celebration of 10 years of community encouragement and support. They are making a decade-long commitment to helping end homelessness in Chatham-Kent, by launching “At Home” with Whittal + Company Law Firm.
“At Home” with WCLF is a 10-year commitment to significantly reduce housing insecurity in Chatham-Kent.
The firm will use its strengths to organize campaigns that raise awareness and financial support for organizations who have proven track records of success in addressing homelessness. One such organization is Indwell, an Ontario charity, who creates supportive, permanent affordable housing communities for people seeking health, wellness and belonging.
“Indwell is honoured to partner with Whittal + Company Law Firm as they make this significant commitment to reduce homelessness in Chatham Kent,” said Jeff Neven, Executive Director of Indwell. “As Indwell explores how we can contribute to ending homelessness in the area, Whittal’s pledge demonstrates their leadership and vision for their community.”
WCLF is pledging $250,000 over ten years towards this goal. As part of this campaign, a portion of the legal fee from every real estate transaction completed by WCLF will be put toward this goal, so clients can know that they’re also doing good, and helping to contribute to this worthwhile initiative to make CK a safer, healthier, happier community for everyone that calls it home.