Canadian Lawyer

July 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 15 of 51

14 FEATURE CROSS EXAMINED BEFORE PASCAL DE GUISE attended law school, his home province of Quebec underwent an identity crisis. After the 1995 referendum, Premier Lucien Bouchard held a summit with leading intellectuals to determine Quebec's path forward as part of Canada. As the president of a student group, de Guise attended Bouchard's summit in October 1996. "The consensus at the time was we had to get our financial house in order," says de Guise. But, says de Guise, the province also had to deal with its "social deficit." This perceived deficit led Quebec to create its universal daycare program, which the Federal Liberals have used as a model most recently. That balancing act of supporting the community but thriving economically argu- ably built Quebec into the economic power- house that it is today. It is also evident in the deals that de Guise works on at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. But like his province's ascent, de Guise built his practice up incrementally since the late 1990s, broadening his experience on a global level while still grounding himself in his local identity. de Guise's experience in student govern- ment sparked his interest in law, and he quickly developed a passion for corporate decided to broaden his client base to the institutions that helped support BCF's clients, which drew him to Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. "I love acting for entrepreneurs, for local businesses, but I also enjoy … acting for the institutions that support those entrepreneurs." In addition to providing de Guise with a sophisticated client base, BLG focused on talent management. de Guise benefited from coaching and learning how to delegate work effectively now that he was more senior. "The industry sends you a very strong indi- vidual performance message. But what the studies show and what I learned with my coach, and I learned from watching people who really succeed, the key is collaboration." Although the coaching training was helpful, de Guise says his volunteer work was BUILDING A THRIVING PRACTICE AND PROVINCE Throughout his career, Pascal de Guise has worked to build a strong identity for Quebec, while always maintaining his own law. de Guise joined Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP as an associate, which he felt would give him an international platform that he and his province needed to thrive. de Guise spent time in the firm's New York office and worked on international deals for four years, but then chose to make more local connections when joining BCF LLP. "BCF was really helping Quebec entrepre- neurs and was very, very entrepreneurial. I got to work very closely with the founding managing partner, Mario Charpentier, who was also a defining mentor in my career. "I started getting involved in knowledge management, document management systems, stuff that you generally have at an established firm that the firm did not have at the time." While de Guise enjoyed working directly with Quebec businesses, he eventually "For the first time in my career, I'm not the most senior openly gay partner. That's amazing. I didn't realize the pressure I felt about that until finally I'm in a situation where I feel there's a critical mass around me."

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