60-second interview with William Fowlis

William Fowlis, 6/6/2016

William Fowlis QC, FCPA, FCA, TEP is a tax lawyer and partner at Miller Thomson LLP in Calgary, Canada.

What does your firm do?

Miller Thomson LLP is a Canadian national business law firm offering a complete range of business, advocacy and personal legal services. The firm is well known for the strength of its private client services group.

What are the most important things STEP does, in your opinion?

For me, the top three are ongoing education offerings to its members, networking opportunities, and advocacy relating to current developments.

You were recently given a Founder’s Award. What does this mean to you?

STEP has been a valuable part of my professional career since I became a member. It is gratifying to be recognised for contributing to an organisation I believe in.

How and why did you get involved with STEP?

I joined STEP member in 2000 when the Calgary branch was first established. Membership has given me access to a diverse group of professionals.

What benefits has it brought you?

STEP has filled an important role in my tax and private client services practice. It has given me the opportunity to work with top quality professionals in the trust and estates area in advancing the interests of STEP and its members. It’s also provided excellent educational opportunities.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your branch or region at the moment, and how are you planning to deal with them?

Continued growth in membership, including younger professionals entering the trust and estates area, will continue to allow STEP to flourish.

What do you most like about your job?

My job provides a very interesting variety of work that is challenging and rewarding to do. I get great satisfaction from helping clients achieve their tax, succession and estate planning objectives.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

Creating plans that help clients achieve their goals is most worthwhile.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

I believe that there is a great opportunity for a young professional to have an interesting and rewarding career in the trust and estates area. You will work with, and help, real people and make a difference in their lives through helping them with tax, succession and estate planning.

The demographic trends indicate that trust and estate planning legal services will be needed by many clients. It also offers a reasonable work-life balance compared to some other areas of legal practice.

Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?

Three new chapters have been established by STEP Canada in geographic areas where none previously existed, namely London Ontario, Okanagan and Saskatchewan. All being well, membership will grow and they can become branches in STEP Canada.

Membership growth can also be achieved through reaching out to experienced practitioners who are not currently STEP members and by attracting younger STEP members through the STEP Diploma programme.

Which social media channels do you use?

I use Linked In.


William Fowlis QC, FCPA, FCA, TEP is a tax lawyer and partner at Miller Thomson LLP in Calgary, Canada. A lawyer, a Chartered Accountant and a Trust and Estate Practitioner, Bill was appointed Queen’s Counsel and awarded a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants designation in 2014. His practice focuses on taxation, corporate, trust, succession and estate planning for privately owned businesses, corporations and high net worth individuals. He is currently the National Corporate Tax Group lead for Miller Thomson.