The Top 25 Most Influential 2017 - In-House Counsel

  • Subtitle: Cover Story
Written by  Tim Wilbur and Mallory Hendry Posted Date: August 8, 2017

In-House Counsel

Julia Shin Doi General counsel and secretary, Ryerson University Toronto

In 2016, Julia Shin Doi founded Diverse Champions for Diversity to promote racialized lawyers. She has also initiated and founded numerous legal organizations including the Korean Canadian Lawyers Association, Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, Roundtable of Diversity Associations and the Council of Ontario Universities Legal Counsel Group. She has been instrumental in Ryerson University’s Law Practice Program and is a noted authority on contract drafting, teaching lawyers for more than 20 years. Recently, she was named ambassador for Ryerson’s Law School initiative. In 2016, the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association awarded her their highest national honour, the R.V.A. Jones Award. In June, she was the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association Award of Excellence recipient, and in May she was awarded the Osgoode Hall Law School Dean’s Alumni Gold Key Award. She is also co-author of the pending 4th edition of Behind and Beyond Boilerplate: Drafting Commercial Agreements.

What voters had to say:

“Leader in diversity — always advancing the agenda.”

“She works in a previously male-dominated sector of law. She has tackled issues of being a racialized lawyer and promotes equity on this issue.”

“A very dedicated lawyer who is always looking to improve things.”

Marni Dicker Chief commercial officer, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, Infrastructure Ontario Toronto

Marni Dicker leads the legal, procurement, strategy and communications, insurance and records management teams at Infrastructure Ontario. She manages a 34-lawyer department. Projects in 2016 were transit-related, including large highway projects as well as some real estate work dealing with acquisitions and dispositions of properties. She is also the executive sponsor for Women at IO, a group designed to equip women to be more successful, personally and professionally, and encourage a culture that embraces the value women can bring to the business and community. Dicker was recently recognized as one of Canada’s Leading Women in Infrastructure by both Women In Infrastructure and the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships. She is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Ryerson University, where she devotes her time to the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science and to the Law Practice Program. She is also on the steering committee for the LPP.

What voters had to say:

“Very influential, in-depth grasp of all aspects of the business (public and private).”

“Marni is a super hard-working person. She is very knowlegeable and respected.”

“Marni is a dynamic leader and inspiration for everyone.”

Fernando Garcia General counsel, government affairs and corporate secretary, Nissan Canada Mississauga

Fernando Garcia had humble beginnings as an immigrant from Latin America growing up in the Jane and Finch area of Toronto. Apart from his career as a general counsel, he is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusiveness. In 2016, he was a speaker at March On Bay Street and has been recognized numerous times: He won a Lexpert Zenith Award for Diversity and Inclusion, was listed on the GC Powerlist: Canada by The Legal 500 and was nominated as a career visionary finalist by the Toronto Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, he was also a finalist for the Environmental, Social and Governance Award at the Canadian General Counsel Awards. Garcia is also a frequent speaker and contributor to discussions relating to legal tech and the future of law, including speaking at conferences and writing articles on the topics.

What voters had to say:

“Incredible lawyer, committed to diversity and inclusiveness.”

“You are an inspiration to the younger generations. Your continuous work for diversity and inclusiveness is exactly what we need in this chaotic world.”

“First class!”

Monique St. Germain General counsel Canadian Centre for Child Protection Winnipeg

Over the past few years, Monique St. Germain has advanced the understanding of the public and the courts of the lifelong impact child sexual abuse materials have on its victims. Last year, St. Germain worked with her colleagues to create and launch an international online survey for the (now adult) survivors of child sexual abuse that was recorded. Full analysis is still ongoing, but the preliminary results were released in January. Recognizing that the victims were not being given the opportunity to be heard in the court process, she is now working with lawyers in Canada and the United States to ensure victims are able to file victim impact statements. She is also spearheading the centre’s efforts to file community impact statements in cases where individual impact statements are not possible. St. Germain also provides key legal support for numerous other initiatives of the centre intended to help survivors in Canada and worldwide, such as Project Arachnid, an innovative tool to reduce the public availability of child sexual abuse material online.

What voters had to say:

“She is an angel for the work she does!”

“A true inspiration to those fighting for the rights of children in Canada and abroad.”

“She is a wonderful person and deserves recognition and praise for the hard work she does each day.”

Kerry O’Reilly Wilks Head of Legal, North America & UK at Vale Toronto

Kerry O’Reilly Wilks oversees issues arising in North America and the United Kingdom. In addition, Wilks has been a driving force for innovative projects at Vale, including the creation of a legal knowledge management system. She continues to affect change in the community. Since 2015, Wilks has organized Malachy’s Soiree, an annual gala to support the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital. She aims to raise an additional $1 million over the next three years for the NICU. Wilks also sits on the executive committee of The Brain Project, a large-scale outdoor exhibit benefiting Baycrest Health Sciences that launched in 2016. In October 2016, Wilks established the East Coast Disruptor group — senior women professionals originally from the East Coast who mentor young women professionals from the same area. It formally launched in June.

What voters had to say:

“Brilliant mind, and committed counsel and social advocate.”

“This awesome young lady is an inspiration to all. The world is a better place because she is in it. Our world will be a better place because of her mentoring. “She is setting good examples for others.”

“Kerry is super passionate and has a heart of gold.”

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+1 # Mr.Kelvin h 2017-08-08 11:26
It's a shame Richard Mclaren didn't make the list, his report on doping in Russia was definitely drew the most international attention and made the most international impact in terms of work done by a Canadian lawyer.
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