Canadian Lawyer

November/December 2019

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 37 of 71

SPECIAL REPORT CORPORATE COUNSEL SURVEY 38 IN-HOUSE COUNSEL who participated in Canadian Lawyer's 2019 Corporate Counsel Survey place more importance on histor- ical relationships than on expertise when it comes to selecting external law firms. Of the 137 participants, 66.42 per cent consider loyalty to existing firms to be a top priority, while only 52.55 per cent make the selection based on industry and practice area exper- tise, in contrast to last year's survey, which Canadian Lawyer's annual Corporate Counsel Survey found in-house counsel are loyal to existing firms, while risk management and compliance are the most pressing issues Historical relationships key for in-house counsel saw industry expertise as the top choice. Specific lawyers are also a driving force for 59.85 per cent this year, while law firm repu- tation is relatively unimportant with only 34.31 per cent saying they take it into consid- eration in the selection process. In line with these results, Peter Nguyen, general counsel, corporate secretary and privacy officer at Resolver, typically goes back to the same firms he has used in the past or will, on occasion, ask his peers for a referral to someone with whom they have personally worked. However, Lorne O'Reilly, lead counsel at the Dow Chemical Company, believes expertise is more important than prior history with a firm. "I want the person for the job who is going to give Dow the best value for the specific task at hand," he says. "If I have a competition issue, I may not have a historical firm, but I'm

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