Partner Roger Swainson, Q.C., has a reputation for getting deals done quickly and efficiently.
Practice area leader for Brownlee’s business law group, Roger focuses primarily on commercial lending and finance transactions, assisting lenders, mortgage brokers and mortgage servicers in structuring complex commercial loans and financings. With many years of experience in commercial lending, enforcement and re-structuring, he creates structures that ensure maximum protection to lenders while encouraging the timely completion of transactions.
Roger’s practice area also includes commercial real estate, advising buyers and sellers of commercial properties of all types, including office, industrial, retail and multi-residential. He has extensive experience in creating and developing all types of condominium projects, including phased and mixed-use developments, as well as in condominium governance and operation. He led the team that revised the Alberta Condominium Property Act and Regulations in 2002.
Roger graduated from the University of Alberta in 1983 with a law degree (LL.B.), and was called to the bar in Alberta (1984), Northwest Territories (1996) and Nunavut (2000). He joined Brownlee in 1992.
Initially, Roger wanted to be a litigation lawyer, arguing cases, and his early work as a litigator was all related to real estate. He later found, however, that he was more interested in assisting in structuring and closing transactions. “I went from enforcing contracts, to making contracts,” he says. “What appeals to me most with my work, is that it’s something you’re able to get to completion on fairly quickly, as opposed to litigation files, which can sometimes last for years. When you’re doing litigation, you are going into a situation that was created either by circumstances or by other people, and generally you are cleaning up. In what I do now, clients hire me to assist them in negotiating the deal and structuring the transaction. I’m the person that creates the contracts, structures and deals to hopefully avoid litigation.”
According to Roger, there are three main qualities that make a good lawyer: “No. 1, you need to have intricate knowledge of the law in the area you’re practising in; No. 2, you need to have common sense and No. 3, you need the ability to interact with all sorts of people.”
What motivates him daily, is that he enjoys his work, he enjoys the people he works with, and he enjoys the clients he has.
His advice for first year associates or law students, is to choose an area of law they are passionate about.
Roger believes that Brownlee’s team approach offers a number of strengths. “Often the files we get require different areas of knowledge, and that’s where the team approach comes in. We put people together with different areas of knowledge and experience to solve issues.”
Looking forward, he expects Brownlee will continue to grow, attracting quality work and quality lawyers. “It will be an extremely strong regional firm.”
Being involved in the community and giving back is very important to Roger, who volunteers as a fundraiser with the Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta golf tournament committee; and the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region major individual gifts committee, whose goal is to eliminate poverty and improve children’s lives. And he chairs the “Bird Dog” Committee, which created and funds the Frank and Carla Sojonky Chair in Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Alberta, which is conducting world class research to find a better way to detect and treat prostate cancer.
Roger is married with two children. His son Graeme is an associate at Brownlee, and his daughter Natalie works in marketing and public relations.
Roger’s niece, Jillian Swainson is a partner at Brownlee.
- Commercial Lending & Financing
- Commercial Transactions
- Real Estate
- Member of Law Society of Alberta
- Member of Law Society of Norhtwest Territories
- Member of Law Society of Nunavut
- Member of Canadian Bar Association
- Chairman, Bird Dogs for Prostate Cancer Research
- Member, Major Individual Gift Committee
- United Way of the Alberta Capital Region Member
- Tournament Committee, Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta