Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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26 FEATURE financial statements. Hansell says that type of work is still going strong, and the firm is also building up a significant litigation prac- tice, dealing with, for example, situations in which boards are being sued. Hansell says one of the things she has noticed since she started practising law is that general counsel for companies increas- ingly understand the value of expertise on corporate governance issues. And being a boutique firm means there "usually aren't the kind of potential conflict problems that large firms might have," so her firm can "come into a situation more cleanly." One project that Hansell's firm has worked on is putting together an opinion paper on how boards have a duty to consider climate change not only for the sake of the envi- ronment itself but as it pertains to any risk factors the company might face. "It sounds obvious, but we do make the case that boards have to align their strategies to make sure climate risks are being taken to account and how to navigate through those risks." Another area the firm is developing is the use of data analytics to help benchmark what companies are doing in relation to each other. One recent example is a paper gauging the sentiment of Warren Buffett's annual CEO letter for Berkshire Hathaway. The study showed that Buffett's letters are more "neutral" than the others studied (Alphabet, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Chubb and JP Morgan Chase). "Johnson & Johnson fell on the other end of the spectrum with consistently cheery letters," the paper says, while Buffett's neutral tone might contribute to the credibility of his personality and make him appear frank. Hansell says these are the types of issues in the world of corporate governance that need to be examined, "so we can make sure" that governance is aligned with best practices. LaBarge Weinstein LLP Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver Working with many of the tech companies that are at the core of LaBarge Weinstein's practice, firm lawyer Michael Sami says you'd almost not know that there are parts of the economy that has been damaged by the coro- navirus pandemic. "The tech sector has just been amazing and somewhat insulated from the broader market effects," he says. "If anything, we've had a lot of companies that are now success stories, and you almost hate to say this, but TOP 10 CORPORATE BOUTIQUES

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