Inhouse counsel

  • Practise in-house or in private practice?

    Apr 1, 2019

    I was recently part of a panel at the 3rd Annual Disruption in Legal Practice program at Osgoode Hall Law School. In discussing the changing legal practice, our panel was asked an interesting question which, at first blush, seemed simple and straight forward to answer. Upon reflection, the response became detailed and complex. The question was: how does the role of in house counsel differ from a private practice lawyer (within this group I include lawyers in mid-to-large-size law firms and boutique law firms) and which unique skills are needed to succeed in the in-house role? The old rule applies, that if one person asks, there are many others with the same question.

  • Accept risk - How you manage it is the issue

    Apr 1, 2019

    Many articles have been written on the issue of risk management and I do not propose to write the seminal piece on the subject. Rather, my point is that as in-house counsel you need to look at risk as organizational risk, not simply legal risk. To do this you must know your organization’s tolerance for risk and the return on resource investment to manage its risks. Without looking at the RORI for risk management, you are just measuring identifiable risks against some arbitrary standard (typically legal) of what is acceptable risk.

  • Sizing up AI for in-house

    Sizing up AI for in-house

    Mar 25, 2019

    Elisabeth Demone is no stranger to artificial intelligence. The chief legal officer at Symcor, one of Canada’s leading financial processing services providers, is keenly familiar with the potential AI has to offer.

  • Finding my ‘fit’ at CMHC

    Finding my ‘fit’ at CMHC

    Mar 25, 2019

    The case for diversity and inclusion is clearly established: we know that it drives the bottom line, generating different perspectives and ideas, increasing productivity and creating safe, respectful and healthy work cultures.

  • Corporate counsel candidates bring diverse perspective to election

    Corporate counsel candidates bring diverse perspective to election

    Mar 12, 2019

    Corporate counsel are not currently represented as benchers at the Law Society of Ontario, but three Toronto-based lawyers running in this election are hoping to bring the in-house voice to Convocation. ​

  • Beyond the basics

    Mar 11, 2019

    Most legal software companies and specialty consulting firms populating the legal services universe will release white papers from time to time to raise their profiles and announce new products and services. Quovant (formerly Legal Bill) is a Nashville-based company offering software solutions, data analytics and advisory services to both law firms and corporate law departments.

  • Legal spending is up

    Legal spending is up

    Mar 11, 2019

    Early spring is traditionally a time when money is front and centre. The federal and provincial governments release their budgets, companies issue annual reports and prepare first-quarter numbers and law firms pay partners their previous year’s profits.

  • On privilege and acting with integrity

    Mar 6, 2019

    Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony to the House of Commons Justice Committee gives the in-house legal community an opportunity for a healthy discussion about some key common themes. It reinforces the in-house counsel’s connection to the rule of law. It reminds us of the importance of independent thought, truth telling, having the courage to act with integrity and the ability to navigate difficult relationship demands and issues of importance to our clients. This is a valuable opportunity and a valuable story. In light of solicitor-client privilege, in-house lawyers are rarely permitted to share their perspectives and these kinds of stories.

  • Adding value to your organization from an in-house role

    Mar 4, 2019

    Beyond having general industry awareness and knowing what it is that your company does, what does this mean and how do you do it?

  • YWL panel shares insight on in-house career path

    YWL panel shares insight on in-house career path

    Feb 28, 2019

    A panel of female in-house counsel discuss what professional life working in-house is like, from day-to-day life to salary to professional growth and more. The event was put on by Young Women in Law at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto on Feb. 26.

  • View 2019: Moving in tandem with growth 3

    View 2019: Moving in tandem with growth 3

    Feb 14, 2019

    In the third of four videos from the Canadian Lawyer InHouse View 2019 series, sponsored by Fasken, Lisa Skakun, general counsel & chief corporate development officer with Coast Capital Savings talks about the challenges involved in taking the credit union national in 2019.

  • View 2019: Moving in tandem with growth 2

    View 2019: Moving in tandem with growth 2

    Feb 11, 2019

    In the second of four videos from the Canadian Lawyer InHouse View 2019 series, sponsored by Fasken, Daniel Bourque and Sacha Fraser, co-lead counsel of the legal department at Xerox Canada talk about managing the company’s transformation efforts and working with their internal clients as they all embrace change.

  • View 2019: Moving in tandem with growth

    View 2019: Moving in tandem with growth

    Feb 5, 2019

    In the first of four videos from the Canadian Lawyer InHouse View 2019 series, sponsored by Fasken, Lisa Marcuzzi, vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at ArcelorMittal Dofasco talks about managing the challenges occurring in the manufacturing sector.

  • To be a modern in-house counsel

    Feb 4, 2019

    When you come in-house, your “hard” legal skills are table stakes. Your employer expects, rightly so, that you have these skills, and where you do not, they expect you to figure it out. This is where your jack-of-all-trades skill comes in. The real question for them is can you add value to the organization?

  • Moving 
in tandem 
with growth

in tandem 
with growth

    Feb 4, 2019

    From banking and manufacturing to tech and insurance, these in-house counsel are focused on the changing business objectives of the companies they serve.

  • Getting billing data under control

    Getting billing data under control

    Feb 4, 2019

    When Aniz Alani arrived at the City of Abbotsford in early 2017 as the municipality’s first in-house counsel, he quickly identified one area in particular he knew he needed to get some control over — managing the bills coming in from external law firms.

  • Legal ops at a crossroads

    Feb 4, 2019

    As we launch our sixth annual Innovatio Awards recognizing innovation in-house this month, I am excited to announce that this year we are adding a category recognizing excellence for legal operations — a multi-disciplinary team approach to managing the challenges of legal departments both big and small.

  • CMHC legal readies for its part in corporation’s transformation

    CMHC legal readies for its part in corporation’s transformation

    Feb 4, 2019

    This article is a bit like the opening act in a play. Its aim is to introduce the cast of characters — our legal team at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation — and the themes we’ll be exploring over the next five bi-monthly columns.

  • Advocating for a First Nation’s interests

    Advocating for a First Nation’s interests

    Feb 4, 2019

    Michael McKinney has seen a dramatic evolution of First Nations self-governance in the last three decades, going from a period of little to no recognition to now a period in which the Sawridge First Nation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government to gain further recognition for self-determination.

  • Twists and turns – How to steer a law career toward your goals

    Feb 4, 2019

    On Jan. 25, a new batch of recent graduates was called to the bar. This is an unforgettable moment in the life of a law student as they become part of what is seen (by most people) as a noble profession that stands as the guardian for justice and equity in our society. This also marks the start of their working career.