Five Questions with In-House Counsel: James Bishop

James Bishop

As Associate General Counsel of DHX Media, Mr. Bishop works on a diverse array of matters relating to the legal affairs of the company, including mergers and acquisitions and strategic transactions, licensing and other commercial transactions, corporate finance, securities regulatory reporting and compliance, corporate governance, corporate organizational structuring, and employment matters. In addition to his corporate legal activities with DHX Media, he is also responsible for business and legal affairs on various productions of DHX Media, including This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

James is a member of the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Film Festival and is part-time faculty at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie where he teaches Entertainment Law. He is called to the Bar in Ontario and Nova Scotia and is a member of the CBA, including the Ontario, Nova Scotia and CCCA branches.

  1. Why did you decide to become an In-House Counsel?

    "I started out in private practice, but the corporate in-house position was always compelling to me because I wanted a closer proximity to the business and business decisions. The position with DHX Media was mostly a “right place, right time” situation, but seemed like a good opportunity to continue to work on interesting corporate transactions on the in-house side. The rest is history."
  2. Is the role of In-House Counsel changing? And if yes, how so?

    "I’m not sure if it’s changing, but it appears that it’s becoming more common for companies to bring legal services and functions in-house. Additionally, the scope of legal services that are being brought in-house appears to be expanding. However, you’re also seeing some tension between that expansion and creative offerings from law firms, alternative legal service providers and other legal tech providers, so I think we are overall in a dynamic and interesting period for the profession, in particular on the in-house side."
  3. What is one of your favourite moments in your legal career?

    "Closing DHX Media’s acquisition of Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake was definitely a high point. It was a complex and heavily negotiated cross-border transaction with multiple layers of financing involved which made the work very interesting. The Peanuts brand is also very well known, so that definitely added to the excitement."
  4. How are you leveraging legal technology?

    "This is definitely an area of my practice that I would like to expand. Presently, it’s mostly just project management and collaboration software platforms, so nothing ground breaking."
  5. If you had a magic wand and you could change one thing about the legal industry, what would it be?

    "I can’t imagine this is the first time this response has been given, but the billable hour approach to legal services could use some work. There has to be a better way to balance the value of legal services provided with the client’s interest in managing legal costs. Although there are some trends moving this in the right direction, I think a magic wand could really speed it up."


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