Canadian Lawyer

June 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 7 of 51

6 FEATURE CROSS EXAMINED WHEN GEORGE COOPER speaks about how his law firm managed through the pandemic, he quickly veers beyond his firm. Cooper is the chief executive officer of Cox & Palmer, a full-service firm with 10 offices across all four Atlantic provinces. "I had a regular series of calls with my counterparts in the other big firms in Atlantic Canada. We have known each other since law school, and we've really had a very supportive relationship. And I think that's true not just for people at a leader- ship level, but practitioners really did try to help one another out." Cooper also speaks about how Atlantic Canada's justice system acted very nimbly, considering the circumstances. "You've got a chief justice who's essentially a federal employee, and you've got a unionized workforce of support workers who are all working for the provincial Crown. And so there can often be challenges, but I must say they worked very efficiently to get the courts open to keep the wheels of justice going." The law firms, regulators and judiciary also collaborated on access to justice. For example, they worked to ensure that articling students could complete their term when also learned about good leadership from lawyers like Katherine Kay, who taught him how to "build a team of people that will flourish without having to be managed in any kind of bossing-around sense. "I had the good fortune to work with some of the best lawyers in the country." Cooper then returned to Atlantic Canada, where he initially joined a small firm called Clark Dummie, and then he joined Cox & Palmer. He became the New Brunswick managing partner in 2011 and then became the firm's CEO in 2018. "I've worked in a big law firm in Toronto [and] I've worked in a small law firm everyone left their offices in March 2020. "There's much that people from the regula- tory, the judicial, and the private sectors can be proud of, including reaching across the street. I don't think we've ever looked at our other law firms as competitor law firms. And if it is a competition, [it is] friendly competition." Although Cooper attended law school in Atlantic Canada at the University of New Brunswick, he began his career in the early 1990s at the Toronto office of Stikeman Elliott, practising commercial and insol- vency litigation. He worked closely with Sean Dunphy, who is now a judge at the Superior Court of Justice. He says he "We have made a significant investment in our efforts toward providing an equitable, diverse, and inclusive work environment, a respectful workplace, seeing our people trying to flatten out some of the hierarchy that is systemic in our profession" HOW ATLANTIC CANADA PULLED TOGETHER George Cooper, CEO of Cox & Palmer, worked with stakeholders throughout the pandemic to keep justice on track

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