Canadian Lawyer InHouse

June/July 2021

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

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12 www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse GC PROFILE ALTHOUGH ELLIOT POBJOY took an unconventional path to become a lawyer, his journey made him the perfect fit for his role as chief strategy officer and general counsel at War Child Canada. This global humanitarian organization works to empower and protect women, children and families affected by war and conflict through education, economic opportunity and legal protection. His early career in humanitarian and human rights work in Canada and India and his experience in politics gave Pobjoy an under- standing of the importance of the law, which led him to law school at the University of Toronto. Although he enjoyed his time as an associate at Goodmans LLP, an accident that almost cost him his eyesight changed his perspective and accelerated Pobjoy's path back to philanthropy. In 2018, he moved to War Child, where he combined his interest in the law with his passion for human rights. "War Child is a really high-impact organiza- tion that drives real change for communities that are recovering from war, and it's a real privilege for me to be a part of that," says Pobjoy. The organization currently has more than 400 staff operating in eight countries, including Afghanistan, Uganda, Iraq and Sudan. Pobjoy wears two different hats as one of just two executive leaders at War Child. As chief strategy officer, he focuses on strategic direction, marketing and donation revenues. As general counsel, he takes responsibility for all legal direction, which can involve anything from dealing with a security crisis abroad to restructuring the organization across borders, supporting program teams to register new offices or negotiating a licensing deal for an ambassador or a corporate sponsor. Finalizing major donations and general corporate matters also fall under Pobjoy's remit. "With an organization like ours that operates in war zones, the challenges we face run the gamut," he says. "As a sole lawyer and an executive, I'm privileged to work with every part of the organization. I'm able to weigh in on the challenges and opportunities in our programs abroad and to work with counsel across the world in our local offices." He often partners with War Child's founder and president, Dr. Samantha Nutt, on her advocacy work, and he also facilitates fundraising and manages IP protection. "In an organization like ours, all our staff are really required to be a jack of all trades in some of the most challenging and diverse environ- ments you can imagine, and so my legal work really reflects that," says Pobjoy. Pobjoy was involved in pioneering new and Combining legal expertise with humanitarian work War Child's Elliot Pobjoy fights for access to justice for women and children in war-torn countries "In an organization like ours, all our staff are really required to be a jack of all trades in some of the most challenging and diverse environments you can imagine, and so my legal work really reflects that."

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