Tom MacEwan joins Patterson Law


It is rare for a chief administrative officer to get legal advice from someone who has actually sat in their chair, fulfilling the CAO role. Yet that is exactly what Patterson Law provides with the addition of Tom MacEwan.

Tom spent almost four years as Chief Administrative Officer for the third largest municipal unit in Nova Scotia, the Municipality of the County of Kings. The challenges he managed at the municipality provide uncommon context for the needs of municipal clients and, according to MacEwan, make him a better lawyer.

“When you sit in the chair, you’re managing a hundred working parts, all with different demands,” says Tom. “When you understand all those moving parts, you can provide a holistic solution that takes care of not just the legal issues but the downstream issues as well.” An example is Tom’s deep restructuring of the municipality’s corporate structure in 2014. His solution encompassed not only the legal aspects of downsizing a management team by 60 percent but also delivered operational efficiency, improved governance and stronger accountability.

Tom will put his experience to work for municipalities but will also support and complement the work of municipalities’ local legal counsel. “Municipalities have an extremely diverse set of legal needs and no lawyer can know it all. My experience in the client chair makes me a valuable resource for exceptionally complex legal issues.”

According to George White, managing partner at Patterson Law, the best client-centred law firms bring in-depth insight to every file. “Strategically sound legal advice means understanding the whole picture, even the things clients may not mention specifically,” says George. “Tom’s experience sitting in the client chair allows us to provide stronger legal solutions that solve the problem at hand while taking the whole picture into account.”

According to Tom, Patterson Law’s flexible culture and team-based approach made his choice of firm easy. “They’re open to exploring new avenues to provide better legal services to Nova Scotians. And they have a deep roster of talented, well-reputed lawyers who get results,” says Tom. “I’m excited to be joining them.”

Tom is joining Patterson Law’s New Glasgow office as part of the firm’s municipal, labour/employment and litigation practice groups, lending his insight not only to municipalities but a wide range of organizations. He will be moving back to Pictou County with his family. Tom grew up in Westville.

Patterson Law is a Nova Scotia firm with offices in Halifax, Truro and New Glasgow. Patterson Law offers a broad range of legal resources providing solutions to individuals, companies and organizations in Nova Scotia and beyond. 

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