“Art is part of the human experience. It says something we can’t easily say with words. The art of law is always being mindful of that humanity—remembering that our work, at the end of the day, is about people.” - Matt McKarney

Matt McKarneyAssociate

Matthew McKarney is an expert in listening for what is left unsaid—a skill that leads to better outcomes for clients. A corporate commercial lawyer, Matt isn’t just client-driven. He’s team-driven, using his natural curiosity and problem-solving drive to help his team get results.

He’s an anthropologist in a suit.

Before his law degree, Matthew McKarney worked construction, did a stint at the Apple Store, and got his Master’s in social anthropology. Each experience, he says, has made him a better lawyer.

Construction gave him an appreciation for hard work. Working at Apple gave him a chance every five minutes to perfect the customer experience. And anthropology? “A business deal isn’t just about the money,” Matt says. “It’s about identity, emotion, goals and dreams. Anthropology reminds me to be attuned to those things.”

As part of the corporate team at Scarfone Hawkins, Matt helps clients achieve their aspirations and cope with bumps in the business road. “I love the feeling that I’m part of something bigger when it comes to the law,” he says. “Whether I’m drafting the contract for a merger or researching intellectual property rights, I know that rule of law is what keeps our society together.”

Matt’s approach is to reduce and avoid conflict whenever possible, because it makes good business sense. “I don’t get a thrill from the fight,” he says. “At the end of the day the best service I can offer is one that anticipates problems. But if issues come up, I’m ready for those, too.”

The clothes may be different, but in some ways his work today isn’t so different from the construction jobs of his past: get up early, work hard, perfect your craft and feel proud of what you built.

Featured Work

Matthew’s team provides comprehensive financing services for both lenders and borrowers involved in complex Canadian and cross-border transactions and helps corporate clients acquire or dispose of assets and shares in Canada and the U.S. His real estate work includes all aspects of the purchase, development, lease and sale of commercial, residential and condominium properties.

" Q: Favourite expression. "

− A: “I like to say ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint.’ It applies to many aspects of life.”

" Q: Greatest role model. "

− A: “My dad. He’s a painting contractor, but he can also design and build a whole kitchen, do custom woodwork or rebuild an old car. He learned everything from trial and error. Today his math skills are amazing. He taught me that confidence is something that comes from experience and a willingness to make mistakes.”

" Q: Favourite way to stay on top of changes in the profession. "

− A: “Changes in case law and legislation happen so fast. Technology allows you to set up your phone to ping you any time someone cites a seminal case. And with a few taps, you can read the news or feel the mood of the stock market on your phone. It can be a challenge to keep up with it all, but it’s an incredible resource for us.”