Canadian Lawyer

May 2024

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 26 of 51 25 JONATHAN LEIBTAG COMPANY: Microsoft TITLE: Senior corporate counsel Generative AI is about to reshape the entire legal practice The transformative potential of generative AI technologies is poised to make profound and far-reaching strides, according to Jonathan Leibtag, senior corporate counsel at Microsoft. Leibtag believes that the game-changing aspect lies in automating routine tasks, such as legal research, document drafting, and contract review, heralding a new era where mundane processes are streamlined and accelerated. "Generative AI is on the cusp of reshaping the entire legal practice," Leibtag says. "The uniqueness of generative AI lies in its capacity to go beyond mere predictive analysis. It has the power to generate and create entirely new content based on training data." This is a paradigm shift from traditional AI, offering not just insights but tangible, usable content that significantly augments the efficiency of legal professionals. However, a crucial question arises: does the integration of generative AI translate to timesaving for lawyers, or does it fundamentally alter the essence of their role? "I think it's important to note the intentionality of Microsoft's suite of AI products as co-pilots," adds Leibtag. "It's very intentional in the name because the technology is meant to augment, complement, and support a lawyer's legal work – not replace the role of a lawyer. I think that these technologies are actually going to enhance the value of lawyers because with more routine tasks being handled by technology, lawyers can now put more of a focus on complex and strategic work and client engagement." Leibtag also anticipates a significant evolution in the criteria distinguishing great lawyers from good ones. He says a lawyer's judgment and creativity will emerge as differentiating factors. While technology can synthesize vast amounts of data and research, applying these outputs relies heavily on a lawyer's ability to make sound and creative decisions. FARAH ISMAIL COMPANY: SE Health TITLE: Senior vice president, chief legal, privacy, and compliance officer Embracing synergies between healthcare, nursing, and the law After starting her career as a nurse, Farah Ismail decided to apply to law school so she could combine her passions for healthcare and access to justice. Maintaining her status as a nurse and a lawyer has been very important to Ismail throughout her career. "There aren't many nurse lawyers in Canada, and those that do enter the profession of law usually resign their membership as a nurse, but I have really strived to maintain both and continue to practise in both capacities," says Ismail. At Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Ismail gained the foundational training, legal knowledge, and skills to propel her to the next stage of her career. When the opportunity arose to build a legal department at the College of Nurses of Ontario, the role seemed like a natural fit for Ismail. After 10 years in various leadership roles, she decided to start her own consulting practice, through which she met SE Health – a Toronto-based not-for-profit healthcare provider that offers home, community, long-term, acute, and primary care services nationally. After helping the organization through a restructuring as her client, Ismail was invited to come on board. She has worn many different hats over the past four years at SE Health, most recently earning the title of senior vice president, chief legal, privacy, and compliance officer. "It has been a privilege to get to know the organization from the inside because it's given me a great perspective," says Ismail. "With the introduction of our CEO that happened about 18 months ago, my role was further refined." This included building a new legal function for SE Health, with guidance from long-term partner Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. "For an organization that has never before had lawyers working in-house, this was a big change," says Ismail.

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