Five Questions with In-House Counsel:
Jeanelle Dundas

Jeanelle Dundas

Jeanelle Dundas is Legal Counsel at Shopify, prior to which she was a lawyer at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Montreal. She completed her articles at the National Judicial Institute in Ottawa and is a member of both the Law Society of Ontario and the Barreau du Québec. Before law school, Jeanelle worked as a Policy Advisor on Parliament Hill and was a Jaimie Anderson Parliamentary Intern. At McGill, Jeanelle was a Senior Managing Editor for the McGill Journal of Law and Health, a member of the Educational Equity Advisory Group, a volunteer with the Legal Information Clinic and a member of Actus Reus. In her final year, she published a paper in the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law discussing electoral reform in Canada. A music lover, Jeanelle completed her studies in piano and voice with the Royal Conservatory of Music and completed a jazz residency at Stanford Jazz in California. 

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

    "I like getting to know people and like having the chance to work alongside a team that is passionate about its platform. I like being in the day-to-day trenches with an organization and I enjoy supporting people as they work hard to ship their product. I went in-house relatively early in my career, but the chance to work at a company like Shopify was exactly the kind of opportunity I would have dreamt of a few years down the road. So far, it’s been an incredible opportunity to learn about technology, law, and commerce and how these things intertwine and play out in society and the economy."
  2. Is the role of In-House Counsel changing? And if yes, how so?

    "I think it’s a bit early in my career for me to talk credibly about shifts in the industry! However, I will say that I hope the trend continues towards in-house work being recognized as a satisfying, challenging and rewarding way to spend your time as a lawyer. I think sometimes there’s a perspective that all of the complex interesting work gets sent out to firms and, at least in my experience, this hasn’t been the case. Lawyering in-house is incredibly hands-on and, if anything, has improved my resourcefulness and willingness to dive into complicated issues."
  3. Describe your proudest accomplishments in your legal career to date

    "In the past year, I’ve really upped my mentoring game! I’m really proud to have the chance to meet with students and provide whatever support or advice that I can. I’ve benefitted tremendously from wonderful mentors and am always happy to pay it forward."
  4. How are you leveraging legal technology?

    "It’s interesting to work at a technology company and be part of a team that is still pretty hands-on! We’re always looking for ways to best serve the organization and this obviously includes thinking about how we can streamline requests and empower our clients to get work done without our legal team being a roadblock. "
  5. If you had a magic wand and you could change one thing about the legal industry, what would it be?

    "I would hope that more law students enter law school thinking about what they’d like to contribute to the profession rather than think about a law degree as a means to an end. I would hope that, increasingly, we think of the practice of law as less of a “race to the bottom” type of service industry and more of a profession dedicated to the public interest. I hope that lawyers (and future lawyers!) think more about what interests them about the law and think about how they can turn that curiosity into something that has a meaningful impact (however you want to define meaningful!) in their lives and the lives of others."


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