Canadian Lawyer InHouse

April/May 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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12 www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse GC PROFILE "MY GOAL IS to be seen as another businessperson who happens to have legal expertise," says Peter Nguyen, general counsel, corporate secretary and privacy officer at Resolver Inc. "That's the lens through which I approach my role now. I do all things that are legal but also provide general business counsel." Starting his career in private practice, Nguyen's interest in the business side of the profession drew him to an in-house role as legal counsel at Moneris Solutions Corpora- tion. His varied career — which always kept his focus on tech transactions — also includes stints as legal counsel at Dexit Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. as well as a five-year tenure as general counsel at Guestlogix before he landed at Resolver. "I knew my time at Moneris was not going to be long because the GC was only a few years my senior," he says of his first role in-house. "I was very ambitious and wanted to be a GC fairly early in my career. I wasn't prepared to wait." Nguyen's many responsibilities at Resolv- er range from providing legal advice on a global basis to handling employment matters and corporate finance, as well as offering general business advice. Managing global M&A activity is another critical element of Creating a 'legal machine' to boost productivity Peter Nguyen discusses his strategy for overcoming barriers and pain points when introducing new tech to the legal department Nguyen's work, as growth is a major focus at the integrated risk management software company. Early in his tenure at Resolver, he acted as lead counsel in the acquisition of intellectual property assets from insolvency proceedings in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Since joining the company four years ago, Nguyen has seen it grow to a team of 240 from 90 staff members globally, and he an- ticipates seeing as many as 1,000 employees in due course. The company operates in eight different offices across six countries. "Whether we grow organically or through M&A, we need to be ready," he says. As the sole lawyer in the organization, he focuses a lot of energy on creating what he calls a "legal machine" that provides systems to ensure that the organization can run in the most efficient way possible. "We talk a lot about building a machine, whether it's a sales machine, a marketing machine or a product machine," says Nguyen. "I think a lot about building a legal machine. How can we put the right processes in place to ensure we are incredibly efficient in the way we do business both internally and with external customers?" Mindful of cost restraints, Nguyen created his own software platform to manage legal intake, triage and workflow tasks. All legal requests from the organization are submitted through the tool, allowing Nguyen to see all matters to be addressed, and colleagues can easily monitor progress. "Philosophically, I've come to embrace the notion of self-service in terms of making "I've never wanted to be seen as the legal gatekeeper that keeps all the secret legal documents. It's about making documents available and training colleagues to help them understand as much as possible and rely less on me."

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