Canadian Lawyer

July 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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16 www.canadianlawyermag.com FEATURE CROSS EXAMINED where he learned the most profound lessons about collaboration. de Guise has worked with the board of the Fondation du Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal for many years and is currently the vice president. He helped launch an annual fundraising event to connect Montreal leaders with the museum. "In a volunteer setting, your motivation [for] collaboration is fascinating because it's not about money. It's about feeling that you're making a difference. So, you do learn in these types of leadership roles to foster a culture of collaboration." de Guise also sits on the Canadian Club of Montreal board, which brings all the stake- holders in the Quebec business community together. With his broad range of connections in Montreal's business community, and his dedication to helping Quebec business excel globally, de Guise asked himself how he could truly help these institutions succeed. However, outside of his professional ambitions, de Guise had more personal reason to make a move. de Guise has been openly gay his entire professional life but says he was always the most senior openly gay partner at his firm. So, when de Guise decided that Blakes would be where he could best help Quebec institutions succeed, he also wanted to know if it would be open to him as a gay lawyer. So, he challenged the firm to how open they would be. Their response reassured de Guise has advised on: • Savaria Corporation, in connection with its Canadian financing, raised in support of its SEK2.9 billion ($452 million) cash bid for Handicare Group AB; • Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Investissement Québec and other participants on their investment in Inovia Capital's C$450- million backing of domestic tech champions; • Allied Universal Security Services LLC in its US$5.3-billion takeover of G4S; • Desjardins Group on the close of a $25M Series B by Brim, a Canadian next-generation Fintech company and certified credit card issuer; • Teleglobe sale to BCE of 78.4 per cent of its government-owned shares for $8,374,657,733 (One of de Guise's first transactions) HELPING QUEBEC BUSINESS SUCCEED him it was somewhere he belonged. "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. And that's a huge deal for me. At this stage in my life, it's a huge game-changer." While de Guise felt welcomed at Blakes, the pandemic struck just after joining in late 2019 and forced him to develop connections through virtual means instead. While it has been challenging to do that, one advantage has been the ease of making connections with lawyers in offices across the country. In a recent transaction for Savaria Corporation, de Guise says he spent many hours on calls with colleagues in Toronto who had done a similar deal, learning from the best about how to help Savaria achieve its goals in the most effective way. de Guise says that the work he is doing at Blakes feels like the culmination of the goal Quebec's leaders gave him at the summit in 1996 to help Quebec become a global market leader. "When I started practising, clearly there was a huge prosperity gap between Quebec and the rest of Canada. And what I'm seeing is [we are] building a great ecosystem, strong financial institutions, [with] a lot of other strategic interventions by the govern- ment. It does feel like we're narrowing that prosperity gap." "When I started practising, clearly there was a huge prosperity gap between Quebec and the rest of Canada. … It does feel like we're narrowing that prosperity gap."

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