Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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18 FEATURE CROSS EXAMINED Lake has worked on the following deals: » Technology M&A transactions with strategic and private equity parties (not currently public) » Distressed M&A files (not currently public) » Ontario's privatization of Hydro One and sale of shares to First Nations » Aon's acquisition of Cytelligence Inc. » eShares' acqui-hire agreement with Kik Interactive » AmeriVet Veterinary Partners' minority investment by OPTrust and scale-up investment by Imperial Capital » Zendesk acquisition of Smooch Technologies Holdings ULC DEALS OF NOTE 'What is the culture of a firm or company and how do we make that culture more inclusive?' That probably takes some soul searching." While Lake struggles to balance his personal life with work demands like all young lawyers, he is also keen to share what fascinates him about his work. Lake is involved in recruitment at Torys and has worked on many high-profile deals at the firm, including being one of the lead lawyers representing Ontario in a deal that saw it enter into an agreement in principle to sell shares in Hydro One to the First Nations of Ontario. He is currently working on M&A transactions in the technology space with strategic and private equity parties and on distressed M&A files. With those roles, he inevitably gets asked "what do corporate lawyers actually do?" "We're assessing benefits and risks. And we're trying to decide between our client and the other party's client, who gets what and how do they get it and when do they get [it]. That conceptually is what we do day to day. And it comes out in very long documents. But, fundamentally, that's what we're trying to do." With those fundamentals and a dose of authenticity, Lake assures lawyers that they can succeed in corporate law if that is what they choose to pursue. "We're assessing benefits and risks. And we're trying to decide between our client and the other party's client, who gets what and how do they get it and when do they get [it]." New York, part [out] of Toronto." Lake regularly comes back to such work/ life choices when he talks about succeeding in corporate law. In other words, the "what is it really like" to practise corporate law that young lawyers are so keen to know. "I think the starting point is [to ask] 'what is most important?' which can be chal- lenging. So, being clear about priorities is really important and then not being swayed by what others are doing, by what you think you should be doing. You've got to pick . . . what's most important, and then the other decisions fall around that." For Lake, being upfront about the balancing act he is playing, with a two-year-old son and a working wife, is important. "I've accepted that there are times when I will miss [bed] time with my son. And there are times when I will miss a client event. I am very honest on emails that I can't make that meeting at 7:30 because I'm putting my son to bed [then]. I think for me it's being authentic in that this is a part of my experi- ence and reality." Lake's insistence on authenticity shows confidence, since Black lawyers especially have cited their inability to be authentic at work as a major obstacle. For Lake, though, the onus is leadership to address these systemic issues. Senior leaders, says Lake, need to take "the time to think through hiring practices, promotion practices, sponsorship within the organization like and really think through Hear more from Lake, who is a speaker at the Canadian Lawyer Young Lawyers Summit on Nov. 24. Visit for more information.

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