Why did you decide to become an In-House Counsel?
"In between my summer and articling year, I was on a four-month secondment at Tim Hortons’ legal department. This experience gave me visibility into the in-house environment. I had the privilege of seeing first-hand the quality and volume of meaningful work that in-house counsel undertake. I was quite impressed. So, when I completed my articling year, I naturally transitioned into an in-house career.
It has been a fulfilling career each and every day, particularly as a construction and infrastructure lawyer in Ontario – the most active construction scene in North America."
Is the role of In-House Counsel shifting? Yes or no, and how so?
"In my experience, the in-house counsel is relied upon more and more as a business partner, who is entrenched in operations. As an in-house counsel, you should have a 360-view of the business and contribute on an end-to-end basis; from strategy to execution and delivery of core business objectives.
In order to thrive as a trusted business advisor, an in-house counsel should perceive herself as a business person with a law degree, who is able to address legal issues as business risks – and not just a cookie-cutter lawyer armed with the knowledge of the rules and case law.
This observation is not necessarily a shift, but it is no longer an expectation. It is becoming more of a requirement in the current business climate."
Describe your proudest accomplishments in your legal career to date
"With approx. $7 billion aggregate project value negotiated and procured, and tens of millions secured through construction claims settlement, I have been fortunate to experience many career-defining milestones and opportunities. I am, however, of the view that the best is yet to come.
As a construction professional, each day comes with unique opportunities to manage issues and provide strategic counsel to the team. I relish these daily accomplishments as they are more fulfilling to me than the blockbuster moments.
The daily opportunities to solve problems, manage risks and, ultimately, deliver client service are severally inspiring. They make it worthwhile and enjoyable to do what I do."
How are you leveraging legal technology?
"Even though technology and the advancements that it brings remain the most critical invention of the millennium, there seem to be a dearth of legal tech in the market. We can hope that this will change in the near future as the society is at the frontiers of artificial intelligence.
Nonetheless, working for a global organization with operations across different hemispheres, provides the critical, tech-enabled tools and convenience to function as a coherent, smooth operation. Among the suite of tech-enabled assets, cloud computing, video and web telephony, legal research services, and contract management applications have proven to aid efficiency and productivity in my legal practice on a day-to-day basis."
If you had a magic wand and you could change one thing about the legal industry, what would it be?
"With a magic wand, I will guarantee access to justice for those on the margins of the society.
I believe we can do more for the most vulnerable and invisible in our society – not only by ‘feeding the hungry’ or making charitable donations. We have the responsibility to show concerted effort in the direst of humanitarian crisis to address homelessness, refugee crisis, prison conditions, or pandemic outbreak, through the instrumentality of the law."
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