Your Niagara Lawyer
Serving The Niagara Region Since 1984
Stewart House LLP has strengths in a wide range of legal fields. We have developed long term relationships with our clients and we are proud to be the lawyers that the Niagara Region has trusted for decades. We treat every client as though they are our only client. We will listen to all your concerns with the intent of finding an innovative, but cost effective legal solution. Learn more about our lawyers at Stewart House LLP and their particular areas of expertise by contacting us directly to schedule a consultation.
Affordable Legal Services
Stewart House LLP prides itself on cost-effective, strategic and thorough solutions to all your legal issues. Whether it is a complex corporate transaction, the tangled web of a commercial dispute or the personal legal services your family needs in real estate transactions, Will drafting or estate administration, Stewart House LLP is uniquely suited to provide you with the best legal services the Niagara Region has to offer.
Our firm is not burdened with high overhead costs that necessitate aggressive billing practices and over-lawyering that can occur in large urban centers and large firms outside the big city centers. At Stewart House LLP, we keep our business and administrative costs in check helping clients to maximize the value of the services we provide. Our reasonable rates and fee structure reflect our commitment to any client to offer our legal expertise. We don’t download onto our clients an excessive overhead burden.
Quite simply, we understand the business of law and what that entails in order to provide meaningful and affordable service to our clients. There are no layers of lawyers at our firm. You work with us individually, directly and effectively.
Our Legal Services
Lawyers Can Be Affordable
Serving The Niagara Region Since 1984
Serving The Niagara Region Since 1984
Click on a partner photor to view biography.
Mark was born and raised in St. Davids, Ontario in the heart of the Niagara Region. He received his Honours B.A. (1978) and his B.Ed. (1979) degrees from the University of Toronto. Mark graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1982 with his LL.B., being awarded the “Blakes Prize” for the highest standing in corporate/commercial law. He articled at one of Canada’s preeminent national law firms on Bay Street, and after completing the Bar exams, he was admitted to the Law Society of Upper Canada in the spring of 1984.
Bay Street to King Street
After his call to the Bar, Mark joined Blakes in Toronto as an associate where he gained invaluable experience in its corporate/commercial law department learning from Canada’s finest business lawyers. When Mark and his spouse Brenda, a special needs educator, had their first of five children, he decided to leave Bay Street and return home to enjoy the quality and balance of life offered in the Niagara Region. He joined the partnership of Bench, Keogh, one of St. Catharines venerable law firms.
Practice Restricted to Business Law
Mark’s practice is restricted to business law as well as commercial and residential real estate. He has advised all types and nature of businesses, both in and out of the Niagara Region, from sole proprietorships, partnerships to both profit and not for profit companies. Mark has advised clients on all aspects of their business law needs, developing expertise in related areas of law, including estate planning, wills and powers of attorney.
Reasonable Legal Costs
Mark understands the need for clients to control their legal costs. He provides professional and experienced legal advice at reasonable prices. His hourly rates and block fees, as a senior business lawyer, are extremely competitive and he encourages all new clients to canvass the rates of his peers at other firms in and out of the Niagara Region. Mark discusses openly and frankly the costs likely to be incurred on a matter, and recommends ways to keep legal costs affordable and economical to the extent possible.
Mark is a strong advocate of practicing “Preventative Law” where business plans and legal strategies complement each other. He emphasizes a proactive approach where preemptive legal advice is offered at the early stage so that potential or future problems can be avoided or mitigated. This is very different from the more common reactive approach where legal advice is given at a late stage to deal with a problem that could have been avoided. Mark’s “Preventative Law” approach significantly reduces legal costs for a business.
Mark’s role as a business lawyer is to facilitate a transaction and to help clients achieve their goals and objectives. He firmly believes that business lawyers must appreciate that while Law is the science of minimizing risk, Business is the art of taking calculated risks. The two objectives are not mutually exclusive. Recognizing the need for clients to balance calculated business risks while trying to minimize legal risks is the hallmark of an experienced business lawyer. When it comes to understanding business law as it relates to the business of clients, not all lawyers are created equal. The first mistake an owner often makes when setting up a business is to seek the advice of a general practitioner who dabbles in business law. Mark does not dabble in business law. It has been his primary area of practice for 30 years.
Commitment to Community
Mark has been deeply involved in the community over the past 30 years. A few of his many past and current community activities include: sitting on various profit and not for profit boards and committees; a coach and trainer in minor hockey and soccer; serving on his Church committees; a weekly kindergarten teacher’s assistant throughout all his childrens’ elementary school years; a special lecturer at the Business Law Program at Niagara College; past director and President of a local political riding association; a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association and the Lincoln County Law Association. Mark is also a Marriage Commissioner authorized to officiate marriages in the Province of Ontario.
Successful Business Owner
Mark has owned and successfully operated his own businesses knowing the risks and challenges as well as the benefits and rewards of ownership. Among other businesses, he has been the co-owner and President of a successful local business overseeing 110 employees. He has also been involved in startup businesses and as an inventor holds four international patents. Mark brings to all his valued clients a unique blend of legal expertise and a “hands on” knowledge and appreciation of practical business realities. This practical business experience makes him a skilled and effective negotiator.
Mark was raised in a farming community and has many farmers as clients and friends. He owns and operates Seven Oaks Farms and is a member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. His farm also generates annually 30KW of solar energy as part of his “green” contribution to his community. He understands the legal and business challenges faced by his fellow farmers and finds his relationship with them, as well as all other clients, deeply satisfying and personally rewarding.
Building Strong Relationships
He takes pride in nurturing and maintaining strong and meaningful business relationships with his wide client base. While negotiating resolutions on clients’ behalves, Mark recommends taking firm but fair positions. However, when his clients are not being dealt with fairly and cooperation is not reciprocated, the opposing party discovers that Mark is a formidable advocate. As always, Mark welcomes new clients and looks forward to forging strong and lasting relationships with them.
“Law is the science of minimizing risks while Business is the art of taking calculated risks. An experienced business lawyer knows that the two are not mutually exclusive and works with a client to strike the proper balance.”
Dave House was raised in the Niagara Region, specifically Jordan Station. His father Bob, mother Susan along with his uncle Paul and late aunt Carolee raised families and peach orchards on the same plot of land in Jordan Station.
Dave’s family has deep roots in Niagara. The first House (then “Haus”) on Canadian soil was Harmonus Haus, a member of the Butler’s Rangers. The original land grant to Harmonus was at Caves Springs, Lincoln, in the 1780s.
Dave attended the University of Western Ontario for his undergraduate degree. Dave attended Osgoode Hall Law School, graduating in 1993 with his J.D. and a Masters in Environmental Studies.
Dave articled at Fraser & Beatty (a large Bay St. law firm at time and now a sept of Dentons – a massive international law firm). He was hired back at that firm when most were not.
In 1997, Dave saw an opportunity to work on interesting files, not driven by the billable hour and rent. He joined the Privy Council Office in Ottawa, providing counsel to the Indian Claims Commission (a precursor of the Specific Claims Commission) where he worked with Ron Maurice and James Prentice (former federal cabinet minister), amongst many others. During his travels across the country he became intrigued with Vancouver and Calgary, not only because of their collegial bars but also their proximity to the best ski hills in Canada.
To that end, Dave later found himself at Bull, Housser & Tupper, a large firm in Vancouver. His experience at BHT was the best of his career. The mentorship, clients and work atmosphere were of the highest calibre. But home called and after four years in the great city of Vancouver, Dave took his leave and came back to Ontario.
Back in Toronto, Dave worked with his old law school friend, Andrew Evangelista – an accomplished insurance lawyer in Toronto. In 2006, Paul Bates and Dave opened Bates Barristers in the winter of 2006 focusing on commercial litigation. Again, Dave received excellent experience working with a very accomplished and senior litigator, with their focus being on franchise disputes, employment disputes, general commercial litigation and class actions. A variety of reported cases during this tenure attest to Dave and Paul’s joint successes.
Niagara beckoned. In 2009, Dave opened his own sole proprietorship in St. Catharines focusing on commercial litigation and a general solicitor’s practice. Starting from scratch, Dave’s practice grew to a very respectable size within two years. By year three Dave was in a position to join two other lawyers in the purchase of 31 Church St. – a beautiful example of Georgian architecture, five doors down from the St. Catharines Court House.
Dave immediately saw the synergies which existed between his practice and that of Mark Stewart, another descendant of loyalists who settled in Niagara. Mark and Dave formed the law firm Stewart House LLP. They have been joined by Eric Teichgraf, a reasonable and excellent solicitor with similar deep roots in the Niagara Region.
Dave’s maintains a general solicitor’s practice which includes residential real estate, wills, estates and employment matters. Dave has practiced litigation since 1995 and has numerous reported decisions on significant matters.
Dave is a former board member of the Lincoln County Law Association and formerly Dave served as a director of the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation. Dave was also an officer in the 48th Highlanders.
I am born and raised in the Niagara Region, and focus my practice on corporate/commercial transactions, real estate transactions and wills and estate administration.
After spending my 20s in real estate management and development, and financial services with large, national institutions, I was drawn to practice law. Why? I realized the importance of having a trusted advisor and advocate. I knew that my approachable, straightforward, and pragmatic mindset would serve clients well in law.
I started my legal career at a major global law firm. But the legal services offered at a big firm environment didn’t allow for the personal connections and tailored advice I wanted to provide.
I realized very quickly that moving my practice to Stewart House LLP was the right move.
I’m unbelievably proud of the clients we serve. From mom-and-pop businesses to couples buying their first home, it is a privilege to be able to represent clients at the most important junctures of their lives, especially in Niagara.
And that’s where I am today. I continue to be fascinated by the law, and I love using it to help our clients launch and grow businesses, buy, sell and manage real estate, and plan their future wishes and legacies.
I am also fortunate to work in association with Arthur D. Fleming, a well-respected solicitor in Lincoln. This association allows me to extend my practice to and serve the Lincoln/Grimsby area.
- Fort Erie
- Niagara Falls
- Port Colborne
- St. Catharines
- West Lincoln
- Corporate, Commercial and Business Law
- Business Law & Transactions
- Estates, Wills & Powers of Attorney
- Commercial & Civil Litigation
- Residential & Commerical Real Estate Law
- Wrongful Dismissal & Employment Law