Canadian Lawyer InHouse

June/July 2020

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

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14 www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse GC PROFILE LIKE MANY legal department leaders, Julia Shin Doi has dealt with numerous challenges since the COVID-19 crisis paralyzed the world in March — not least of which is assisting the faculty at Ryerson University in transitioning 45,000 students to an online learning environment. "It has been very important to the university sector as a whole that students have the opportunity to complete the academic term and staff and faculty have the support and resources they need to help students achieve that," says Shin Doi, who holds the title of general counsel, secretary of the board of governors and privacy officer at Ryerson. She participates in online meetings with the other members of Ryerson's executive team almost every day to discuss COVID-19-related challenges and to brainstorm solutions. Shin Doi's team has been adept at using technology for some time, but since social distancing became the norm around the world, technology has become a staple for daily communications. As team members transitioned to remote work, a list of Zoom protocols was quickly established by Ryerson's legal department to ensure that Adapting to the new normal Julia Shin Doi speaks to Lucy Saddleton about guiding Ryerson's legal and governance teams during the COVID-19 crisis meetings run smoothly, and three orientation sessions were held for board members. Ryerson's IT team explained the software and Shin Doi's governance team determined how motions would be called and carried. Most attendees learned the technology within 15 minutes. Ryerson's communication is even developing a virtual background for Zoom. "We've conducted board business on Zoom and staff meetings on Zoom and stayed on top of legal issues through webinars," says Shin Doi. "We've ensured best practices and governance through university listservs across Canada." Many industry sector groups have come together remotely to share best practices and work together to cope with the crisis situation. In addition to Zoom, Shin Doi finds Google Hangouts useful for meetings while Docusign is beneficial for electronic signing of contracts. "Technology has made such a difference. There will be no turning back after this," says Shin Doi. "Now that we're all on Zoom, we're going to want to see each other every time instead of just making a phone call." When she was first called to the bar in 1994, Shin Doi had no idea how her career would unfold or what her true calling was. Before finding her direction, she articled and practised at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in "We're really harnessing our legal power in-house. When in-house counsel is involved in cases, we have in-depth knowledge of the case and we can help with managing client expectations and providing history and preparing graphs."

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