Monday, 27 April 2015 08:00 Written by Stefan Dubowski
The Ontario Securities Commission has finally started the ball rolling on an initiative it first suggested back in 2011: a whistleblower program to provide financial rewards to people who report securities law breaches. In February, the OSC published a consultation paper on a proposed program framework, to stir up discussion and get feedback.
The things that tended to get a lawyer noticed when they were at a law firm many not necessarily be what gets them promoted in the legal department once they go in-house. Working long hours and driving client satisfaction is part of it, to be sure, but once a lawyer is in a corporate legal function other factors and skill sets come into play in terms of advancement.
Monday, 27 April 2015 08:00 Written by Sanjeev Dhawan
About five years ago, I had the opportunity to be part of an audience listening to the general counsel of Google, Kent Walker, and the general counsel of Microsoft, Brad Smith, discuss what the future law department would look like. They spoke about the role of technology and how it would shape the work of in-house counsel. Productivity gains would be driven by increasing collaboration and the flow of information. Everyone would have greater access to legal knowledge and information. They also spoke about the “commoditization” of legal services where routine, repetitive legal services could be outsourced. On its face, this would seem to lead to a diminished role for in-house counsel. However, the ranks of corporate counsel continue to grow. The theme of the discussion was also that, no matter what technology brings, in-house counsel will continue to be essential to the organization. This is because in-house lawyers are always needed to synthesize information, to add judgment, insight, and wisdom.
One of the first in-house lawyers I spoke with when I landed in this job more than three years ago was the former general counsel of the Forzani Group, Evan Johnston, after the company was acquired by Canadian Tire. He had recently taken up the role as the first GC for Calgary-based construction company The Churchill Corp. He joined Churchill as vice president and GC and reported directly to the CEO. The lead director at Forzani happened to also be chairman at Churchill and he called Johnston and asked him what he was going to do.
Regulatory and compliance issues pose challenges for in-house counsel in all provinces these days, but in Quebec corporate lawyers often find they face their own set of challenges. “Considering that Montreal is the third-biggest avionic city in the world after Toulouse and Seattle, export control is a domain that is becoming more and more important in the province of Quebec,” says Daniel Marion, vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary with Thales Canada. “Compliance is a hot topic, anti-bribery in general, and export control, in particular, for us,” says Marion. “This subject has taken more and more of our time in the last few years and it continues to grow.”
Monday, 23 March 2015 08:00 Written by Jennifer Brown