CanStories Feature Prowse Chowne

Stories of Canadian Entrepreneur & Their Resilience

In the first grade, J. Cameron Prowse, Q.C. told his teacher he wanted to be a lawyer. Today he has practiced law for more than 40 years. For Cameron, his partners, and the support staff at Prowse Chowne LLP, law is not just a job. It’s a calling.

The firm’s roots go deep. Cameron’s grandfather was admitted to the bar in the early 1900s and began practicing law in Taber, Alberta. Cameron’s father studied law at the University of Alberta and founded what became Prowse Chowne LLP on June 1, 1959. Ron Chowne became a partner on April 15, 1977. Cameron joined the firm in 1977.

“When I talk to other lawyers about the transactions and deals we do here, they are surprised about the magnitude of the deals we have done. Potential clients are sometimes surprised at the complexity of the transactions we have completed and are capable of doing: corporate reorganizations, sales and acquisitions that are well into nine figures. People are surprised that at our size we have the ability to do transactions like that. However, while we also work for large or multinational corporations, a lot of the people we help are mom-and-pop operations and local small businesses. Those are the people that are intimidated by a huge office or grand surrounding with lots of marble and glass and so on. I’ve been in some other offices and they are beautifully done, but I feel our clients would be intimidated and that is not what we are looking for here.”

For Prowse Chowne LLP, providing the service clients want and need comes down to moving with the changes in the industry and offering services in a welcoming environment to companies of all sizes and individuals from all walks of life. It’s equally important to build a team that can serve those needs.

“People are impressed with the diversity of the firm in terms of culture and gender,” Cameron points out, “but when they say that it surprises me a bit. We never set out to be diverse but to simply hire the best people we could find. As a result, we organically became diverse.”

He and his partners enjoy working with, and building, the team.
“It’s very rewarding that the core group has been together for so very long. I also find it rewarding that we are able to bring new people in, see that they fit right in and that they enjoy each others company. We have developed a culture where our professional staff socialize and care about each other.

“On the personal side I also find it rewarding that my eldest son and daughter both work here and that they achieved that on their own merit, not because their last name is Prowse.”

Every year the firm takes the staff on a retreat to help build the corporate culture.

“That is one of the things that helps to build the sense of team we have. Nobody is afraid to go into anyone’s office to get advice or ask questions. We don’t have silos where people practice on their own. We encourage people to ask questions. It’s rewarding to see that happen on a daily basis. It improves the quality of advice we give to our clients as well because we have the input of several people for each client.”

“All lawyers are not the same,” concludes Cameron. “I think there are two main categories of lawyers. There are deal makers and deal breakers. We pride ourselves on being deal makers and problem solvers. We find ways to help people do things. We don’t say it can’t be done. We come up with innovative and creative solutions to solve problems. Litigation is good for lawyers but solving problems is better for clients. For us, the best thing to do is find the solution for the problem.”

By: Business in Edmonton (