The Top 25 Most Influential - In-House Counsel
- Subtitle: Cover Story
Assistant general counsel, Labour and Employment, Air Canada, Montreal
Fred Headon is changing dynamics as the first in-house lawyer to be elected president of the Canadian Bar Association, a position he’ll be assuming this month. Headon heads the in-house labour and employment law team at Air Canada and brings a unique perspective to the association, traditionally led by private practice lawyers. At the helm of the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, he is a leading voice in the push for changes to the profession given the new realities of today’s legal market. As corporate counsel, he will bring a certain sensitivity to the pressures and expectations of both private practitioners and their clients. “Lead the change, or be forced to follow,” he has said about the profession. “Change is happening. It may not be happening everywhere at once, and it may not affect everyone to the same degree, but to ignore it could very well be folly.”
What voters had to say: “Very much looking forward to Fred’s upcoming year as our CBA national president; his perspective transcends his in-house counsel world and there’s no doubt he will be an effective advocate for lawyers and the rule of law in 2013-14.
Executive vice president investments and chief counsel, Emergo Group of Companies, Calgary
Under Grant Borbridge’s leadership this past year, the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, together with the Rotman School of Management, introduced a first-of-its-kind certification program for in-house counsel, which will be geared towards mid-level in-house lawyers who are aiming to become general counsel or business executives. In his day job, Borbridge is responsible for Emergo Group’s worldwide legal and compliance activities, a member of its Global Portfolio Investment Committee, and co-leader of its transactions team. He is also the current chairman of the Association of General Counsel of Alberta.
What the panel had to say: “Grant gives 150 per cent to everything he does.”
Group head, legal, compliance and anti money laundering, and general counsel, TD Bank Group, Toronto
Norie Campbell was appointed TD’s top legal counsel in April. She now leads a team of 60-some lawyers at Canada’s second-largest bank, at a time when TD is making serious inroads into the U.S. market. As a trailblazing woman in the in-house practice, Campbell has been named one of Canada’s “top 40 under 40” by a variety of influential publications. Her story will also appear in the upcoming book Breaking Through: Tales from the Top Canadian Women General Counsel, which highlights successful careers of Canadian women general counsel. She also participates in the Law Cabinet for United Way and is on the advisory board of the University of Toronto program on ethics in law and business.
What voters had to say: “Norie combines excellent legal skills with finely honed leadership talents. She enjoys the confidence of those she works with.”
General counsel and secretary to the board, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Toronto
Ken Fredeen is involved in a number of community and diversity initiatives. He is responsible for Deloitte’s corporate responsibility mandate, chairs the firm’s diversity and inclusion council, and sponsors the Deloitte LGBT people’s network. Under his leadership, Fredeen and his legal department were last year awarded the Canadian General Counsel Award for social responsibility. Fredeen was recently the chairman of the government’s Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, and he is an executive member and co-founder of Legal Leaders for Diversity, a group of more than 70 general counsel dedicated to supporting diversity. He was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 for his community work.
What voters had to say: “Ken does an unbelievable amount of work for Legal Leaders for Diversity and is in many ways the engine of this group.”
Executive vice president, corporate development and strategy, and chief risk officer, Agrium Inc., Calgary
In her role at Agrium, Leslie O’Donoghue is responsible for handling several core areas of the agriculture giant’s business. She recently helped Agrium emerge victorious from a 10-month proxy battle with the hedge fund Jana Partners, Agrium’s largest shareholder. O’Donoghue helped prevent Jana from installing its own board members and breaking up the company. She established the Agrium Women’s Leadership Group, an organization created to provide mentoring, networking, and developmental opportunities for women within the company, and she is a member of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s leadership council.
What voters had to say: “What a terrific year Leslie has had . . . proxy battles are a TEST!”
This article prepared with the assistance of David Gruber.
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Top 5 in Corporate-Commercial Law
Page 3: Top 5 Changemakers
Page 4: Top 5 in Criminal Law/Human Rights
Page 5: Top 5 in Government/Non-Profits/Associations
One of Canada’s most experienced and respected legal journalists, Gail J. Cohen is the former editor in chief of Canadian Lawyer and Law Times, who was responsible for the editorial direction of all the publications in the group, which also includes Candian Lawyer InHouse, Canadian Lawyer 4Students, and the daily Legal Feeds blog. Gail has covered the legal profession in Canada as a reporter and editor since 1997, which had put her in a prime position to access and engage thought leaders in the regulatory, legal, and business realms. Canadian Lawyer and its editorial team have been the recipients of many journalism awards and their publications are highly respected throughout the legal profession in Canada and abroad.