Five Questions with In-House Counsel:
Elizabeth Maishlish

Elizabeth Maishlish

Elizabeth Maishlish is Legal Counsel with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The AGCO is responsible for regulating Ontario’s alcohol, gaming, horse racing and cannabis retail stores in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity, in the public interest. 

Elizabeth has a wealth of experience in administrative law and regulatory policy, gained while acting as in-house counsel with regulatory agencies and authorities in both Ontario and Alberta. Prior to joining the AGCO, Elizabeth spearheaded several initiatives to implement new compliance and regulatory tools to protect the public interest in the automotive industry and the bereavement sector. She also has over a decade of experience representing regulatory agencies and authorities in court and before administrative tribunals. In 2016, Elizabeth was a recipient of the Auto Remarketing Canada Remarketing Under 40 award for her work in support of consumer rights and fair market competition. She is licensed to practice law in both Ontario and Alberta.

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

    "I was drawn to the broad and diversified experience of In-House counsel work. The model enables me to have varied experience between practice disciplines on complex matters. Working as In-House Counsel also offers the satisfaction of building strong relationships with my client and working on unique projects in support of policy goals and objectives. In addition to this, I found that working in-house provides amazing opportunities to litigate novel and complex cases. Working as In-House Counsel has proven to be fun, challenging and rewarding!"
  2. Is the role of In-House Counsel shifting? Yes or no, and how so?

    "I think this depends on the size of the organization and whether it is undergoing a period of transition. In my experience, smaller organizations tend to have smaller legal departments. Generally, in those circumstances, legal counsel is more hands-on and engaged in a larger breadth of issues. Larger organizations tend to have more defined functions for counsel but there is still a lot of opportunity to gain exposure to different practice areas and experiences.

    Organizations going through transition generally also require counsel to become more engaged in policies and practices. This helps ensure that ethical standards, norms and interests are adhered to."

  3. Describe your proudest accomplishments in your legal career to date

    "Working in-house has exposed me to many experiences so it is difficult to pinpoint singular accomplishments. I am proud of the work I’ve done to uphold consumer protection and the public interest concerns through litigation, policy development and advising on the modernization of regulations. These accomplishments have allowed me to make positive and meaningful changes that have an impact on Ontarians and Albertans."

  4. How are you leveraging legal technology?

    "COVID-19 has created unprecedented opportunities to leverage technology and modernize the delivery of legal services. As with many other professions, the availability of video calls and electronic documents are allowing us to make better use of our time and resources. In many ways, the pandemic has propelled us to reconsider older systems and replace them with newer technologies. The adoption of these new technologies is also causing us to continually evaluate its impact on people who are uncomfortable with, or have limited access to, newer hardware and platforms. I hope this remains a forefront consideration as we consider how to best embrace new technologies."

  5. If you had a magic wand and you could change one thing about the legal industry, what would it be?

    "Access to justice is a big concern. Our profession has been taking steps to find solutions. I hope that we take larger and more frequent strides to address the many underlying social, economic and psychological factors that contribute to this complex issue."


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