Canadian Lawyer InHouse

December/January 2021

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

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 5 How many people are on the legal team? I have a team of four, comprised of two lawyers, one legal assistant, a chief privacy officer and a privacy co-ordinator. I am very fortunate to have been able to build a team that is strategic and practical in its approach to work and is considered by the business to be trusted advisors. We divide the work up by client group, with my focus being primarily on the merchant teams, commercial leases, litigation management, risk and governance. In what ways has the pandemic crisis impacted your work? The demands of working from home have been a challenge for us all. We miss the ability to just turn around and bounce something off one another. While there are upsides to working from home, it creates new challenges when your workspace is also your living space, as it is too easy to always be available. People with children have the added stress of keeping them occupied and seeing to their continued education, all while trying to do their job. It requires a different kind of discipline: being sure to take breaks, getting exercise and fresh air and taking time to enjoy family. What challenges has the legal team faced and how did you adapt to continue supporting the organization through the crisis? There were many! The first ones that come to Q&A mind are: staying connected with our clients so they don't forget us, using new technology to stay connected and enabling the business to carry on in the new normal. It's like drinking from a fire hose. There was so much information coming at us that needed to be digested, interpreted and reported on so we could help the business make decisions in a completely new environment, where so much was unknown. I am proud of the work my team did and grateful for the support we received by our trusted outside counsel. What legal issues had to be considered for the safe reopening of stores? Our primary concern was and continues to be the health and safety of our customers and employees. We had to help the business understand the legal requirements for safe re-openings in four different provinces and examine our plans to ensure the privacy of our customers and employees was not at risk. What initiatives of which you are particularly proud has the legal team worked on recently? I'm proud of everything we have done to support the business during the pandemic; for example, enabling the business to do a photo shoot remotely in NYC while ensuring local health and safety laws were respected. We also partnered with the larger business to build meaningful diversity, equity and inclusion policies and initiatives. Supporting a retail business through the unknown Years in the industry: 35 Goals for your legal team: Our priority is and will always be to continue to support the business in its initiatives and help ensure its success. It is a difficult time for many businesses, in particular retail and restaurants. Our goal is to come out better and stronger on the other end. Lorraine Kuska General counsel and corporate secretary Holt Renfrew currently vice president, Canadian litigation at TD Bank Group, has worked for the bank's legal team since July 2019. She previously worked at the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada as associate general counsel, external relations. For most of her career, Iannetta has focused her practice on securities law. She has worked as a lawyer for the firms of Stockwoods LLP and Groia & Company. Givex joins LOT network to combat patent trolls Givex, a global cloud-based provider of POS, gift cards and loyalty solutions, has joined LOT Network in a bid to combat the growing threat posed to its business and its customers by patent assertion entities — also known as patent trolls, which are companies that acquire patents solely for the purpose of filing lawsuits against other companies. Fighting back against patent trolls is key to protecting an organization at times of economic downturn, according to Esther Gonzalez, vice president, legal and corporate counsel at Toronto-based Givex. New committee updates guidance on corporate governance TMX Group and the Institute of Corporate Directors have created the Committee to Chart the Future of Corporate Governance in Canada, which will release updated guidance on corporate governance. The committee will address the new challenges presently faced by Canadian companies, such as pandemics, climate change and shifting societal expectations of the corporation's role, as well as opportunities, such as new technologies and artificial intelligence. The committee aims to improve resiliency and long-term sustainable corporate performance and to consider the regulatory challenges faced by companies today.

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