Canadian Lawyer

February 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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www.canadianlawyermag.com 19 The Canadian Lawyer survey captures some of this phenomenon. Asked about what legal areas are being sent to outside firms the most, respondents said there have noticeable upticks in specialty areas such as real estate (36.6 compared to 23.36 per cent in 2019), privacy and data protection (25.45, up from 13.14 per cent), immigration (16.36 compared to 11.68 per cent) and mergers and acquisitions (36.36, up from 27.74 per cent). James Buchan, a Gowling WLG managing partner who focuses on client relationships for the firm, says meeting in-house counsel's needs for expertise in certain areas during the pandemic also provides a golden opportunity to build a deeper relationship with in-house lawyers. "Sometimes, it is as simple as picking up the phone and calling clients and staying in close touch," he says. More formally, the firm put together a task force with various subcommittees to address areas related to COVID-19 and providing information through web portals, sharing legal and regulatory insights on the pandemic and webinars for further education. However, building that relationship through providing information on the pandemic is a bit of a balancing act, says Buchan. There has been "almost too much" information on COVID-19 bombarding businesses daily as the government grapples with the crisis. "We had to organize it in a way that could be easily accessible to corporate clients." For all that can be done at the firm level to build relationships with corporate clients, firm DO YOU GENERALLY OUTSOURCE: (RANKED IN ORDER) Expertise that we don't have in-house Volume of work Creative, outside-the-box thinking Grind work, i.e., repetitive tasks 1 2 3 4 WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE MORE LOYAL TO: 8.96% A firm 79.10% The lawyer in the firm 8.96% Neither of these 2.99% Other HOW IMPORTANT TO YOU ARE THE FOLLOWING ATTRIBUTES IN A LAW FIRM? (LISTED IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE) 1. Practical approach 2. Good understanding of our business 3. Regular communication 4. Proactive in suggesting solutions 5. Creative legal solutions 6. Relatively low cost 7. Diversity lawyers who deal with client relationships agree it still comes down to the firm's lawyers. In the 2020 Canadian Lawyer survey, 79.1 per cent of corporate counsel respondents said they are more loyal to the lawyer in the firm they deal with than the firm itself (8.96 per cent.) "The reality is a firm may have an excellent

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