Canadian Lawyer InHouse

August/September 2020

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

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Page 6 of 43 5 Why did you decide to create a 'digital- by-default' workplace? It's pretty clear that the workplaces we left behind before the pandemic are not the workplaces that we are going to return to. There are so many aspects of office life that are going to change to keep people safe. All these unknowns around how to get people safely back to work in an office environment provided the company the opportunity to pause and reimagine the ways that we work together. How will this program benefit your organization and the legal department in particular? At an organizational level, it puts Shopify at the leading edge of the future of work. Rather than wait passively for the world to figure this out and follow along, Shopify chose to be in the driver's seat and figure it out for ourselves in a way that makes sense for our company and our merchants. It's going to be great for the talent pipeline because we are not limited to a single geography, which opens up a far broader and more diverse pool of candidates. For the legal team, our work is well suited to remote work. Lawyers are very self directed and need a quiet space to work. It also promotes an inclusive way of thinking and reduces the us/them mentality, which can develop between offices. What skillsets are you looking for when hiring lawyers? Q&A We look for lawyers who are collaborative, engaged and super passionate about the area of law that they practise. Humility and a great sense of humour are very important. We also value the importance of grit — that is the ability to persevere in the face of adversity with optimism still intact and [be] ready to do it all over again. What strategies are you using for communication within the legal team with everyone working remotely? We are working on being really intentional about communication. We no longer have the benefit of learning by osmosis in a shared workspace. Rather than having a one-on-one conversation, we take it to a group setting on Slack so everyone can benefit from the context. We are also thinking about what is important to share and what's not, so we don't add to everyone's workday. Do you have any concerns about maintaining an effective in-house legal team with the new setup? We have always focused on ensuring that the legal team is a trusted, responsive resource for the company, and we work very hard to make sure we are here to support the client, so I don't think that will change. One of Shopify's core values is to thrive on change, so I think we will become even more effective as a legal team. Recruiting for a digital-by- default workplace Years in the industry: 13 Goals for your legal team: Keeping everyone healthy and happy, while growing and scaling with the rest of the business Mary-Jane Richards Associate general counsel, commercial Shopify Inc. makes international arbitration less attractive, according to 71 per cent of respondents to a new survey by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, although an alarmingly high 50 per cent reported direct experience of a tribunal making an obviously wrong decision. The international law firm's latest arbitration survey examined whether parties to arbitration should have the right to appeal a tribunal's outcome if that decision is wrong. The survey found 38 per cent of in-house counsel felt that a right of appeal would make the arbitration process too long. In-house counsel experiencing burnout, finds poll Fifty-three per cent of in-house lawyers felt they worked longer hours while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with the time they had previously spent working at the office, according to a poll. The Association of Corporate Counsel's third online flash poll, which sought to provide a glimpse of the impact of the public health crisis on the personal wellness and work habits of its members, also found that 74 per cent of participants were experiencing moderate or high levels of burnout. Lex Mundi launches global service delivery model Lex Mundi has launched Equisphere, a global service delivery model to help in-house counsel meet cross- border legal challenges amid the evolving business landscape. Using the platform, lawyers can access services from more than 150 member firms, each with on-the- ground and localized experience, using a centralized, easy-to-navigate dashboard with a single flow of data and with key documents. Lex Mundi's member firms come from around 125 different countries and comprise more than 22,000 lawyers.

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