Canadian Lawyer InHouse

August/September 2021

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

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 5 What are your primary responsibilities in your role as general counsel at League? Like other general counsel, my primary role is to manage and evaluate risk facing the corporation, provide legal advice, and lead the in-house legal department. Additionally, I act as a business partner to executive and senior leadership teams and enjoy being a key negotiator for strategic transactions. How have mentors helped you in your career, and how are you mentoring other young lawyers? My mentors have had a huge positive impact on my career. At the beginning of my career, I received support and training from a number of lawyers at Stikeman Elliott and Milbank Tweed — both formally and informally. I believe very strongly in mentoring and try my best to mentor individuals through a variety of programs. I have had several articling students and summer students train under me. I have participated in mentorship programs run by law schools, work and a number of industry and community organizations. Informal mentorship, however, is just as important, and I connect with numerous younger individuals that I consider friends more than mentees to share experience and advice. I also accept calls from strangers who find me on LinkedIn and approach me for a chat. Please tell me about any interesting initiatives you have been involved in recently at League or anything coming up that you are looking forward to? I've been the executive lead of the mentorship program at League, called Major League Mentors. This is a mentorship program available to all League employees but has a number of elements that advance and promote various aspects of diversity and inclusion. What is your approach to working with other departments and supporting the organization? I believe law departments have a unique vantage point into their organizations as their role gives them visibility throughout the organization, and also their advice is usually given significant deference — as such, I encourage my team to leverage this perspective and provide advice and guidance outside of what is narrowly considered legal advice, and overlaps into the business arena. Also, I ensure that my team actively facilitates conversations amongst others in the organization to advance business objectives and reduce risk. What are your goals and priorities for your legal department for the remainder of 2021 and beyond? The exponential growth that League has experienced has been a welcome challenge, and as we expect that growth to continue, our legal department needs to be prepared for the increased scope, volume and risks associated with the legal work we need to support. In 2021 we are heavily focused on leveraging legal technology and establishing other processes and infrastructure that will allow us to scale efficiently and effectively. Q&A The impact of mentorship Years in the industry: 12 Achievements: • Named among Lexpert's Rising Stars winners in 2020 • Led a complex year-long, billion-dollar commercial negotiation, which earned him the title of general counsel at the age of 30 in a previous role at Algoma Steel Muneeb Yusuf General counsel, League Inc. (a cloud-based data-driven healthcare start-up) called on their respective governments to show leadership by applying certain principles in implementing and modernizing the information and privacy regimes. In addition, the information and privacy regulators urged governments to respect the quasi-constitutional rights to privacy and access to information and use the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard Canadians' information and privacy rights. The resolution noted that the pandemic has seriously affected the protection of such rights in Canada. One-third of legal departments track internal diversity Close to 30 per cent of legal departments are tracking internal diversity metrics, with 47 per cent of those having a formal strategy to improve in the area of diversity and inclusion with actionable measures and tangible consequences, according to a survey by the Association of Corporate Counsel and Major Lindsey & Africa. Moreover, 18 per cent of survey respondents were tracking the diversity metrics of the legal department's outside counsel, with a quarter of those having a formal strategy for improvement. Trust fund awards scholarships to law students The Legal Leaders for Diversity Trust Fund awarded scholarships to 10 law students from across Canada in an annual event. The fund — which was established in 2015 through donations from general counsel and law firm managing partners across Canada — aims to promote equal access to legal education and diversity in Canadian law faculties by awarding scholarships to law students with physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments. This year, ten students were selected from around 60 applicants. A webcast was hosted by fund contributor, Gowling WLG, to honour the recipients who each received a $3,000 scholarship.

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