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Nils Preshaw, LLB'01

Law grad hangs out his shingle as criminal lawyer in Vancouver

As a Crown Prosecutor in both Alberta and British Columbia, Nils Preshaw, LLB’01, was able to cut his teeth on a lot of different cases andNils Preshaw clients. From traffic, youth, and family cases, to all sorts of criminal, civil, tax, and border trials, you could say that Nils has seen it all while practising criminal law.

“On my first day as an Alberta provincial prosecutor, I was thrown into traffic court for 12 self-represented trials. It just got busier and more complex from there,” says Nils. “I have conducted electronic trials with thousands of complex accounting documents that took years of preparation. I’ve also had trials where I had just minutes to prepare.”

Despite the challenges he faced every day in the courtroom, Nils decided to take on an entirely different challenge in late 2014, when he hung out his shingle and opened Preshaw Law. While Nils still focuses on the defence of complex criminal matters, he has taken a new approach to his business model.

“I’m a lawyer that likes technology, and I use it to be completely mobile,” says Nils. “All of my documents are kept on the cloud. I have a laptop and an iPhone and a shared office environment in downtown Vancouver.”

“The business model is not for everyone, but it works very well for me,” he adds.

For Nils, a typical day at Preshaw Law starts out with the simple things. He begins his day by helping get his two sons, who he describes as wonderful, but incredibly challenging and rapscallion, ready and off to school. He then heads to the gym before going to the office.

And while Nils may not have to deal with strict schedules or superiors on a day to day basis, he stays connected to the broader legal community in Vancouver by networking throughout the week with at least one lunch meeting with a colleague or potential client.   

Nils may be busy running his own law office, but he still finds time to give back to the community, which he encourages all new law graduates to do. When not working on a case or with a client, Nils volunteers at his son’s school and with the first-year mooting and debating program at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law. For Nils, it’s a way to ground himself after an often stressful and exciting day at the office.

“When things ‘explode,’ I am there to help people,” says Nils. “This may sound melodramatic, but it’s sometimes quite literal.”

In July 2015, Preshaw Law was successful in a three week jury trial in Kelowna, BC. The Federal Government hired Nils to prosecute two accused who claimed approximately $190 million in false expenses on behalf of more than 200 clients seeking $10 million in tax refunds. The accused were convicted and will be sentenced in the fall. Read more about this case.