In-house lawyers have told me several times about particular points in their careers in which they sat down and asked themselves: “What is my role? Where do I stand? How do I make the world a better place?” This is not unique to lawyers, but perhaps because members of this community are smart, well educated, and hard-working, they probably worry about this more than others.
I suspect if you are Dawn Devoe, general counsel at World Vision Canada and the lawyer we profile on page 36, making the world a better place comes with the job. But there are opportunities for anyone to get involved — you just have to look for them. For example, I recently attended the launch of the Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusiveness initiative, which started with 40 general counsel signing a pledge to promote diversity within their own departments and consider diversity in their hiring and purchasing practices. Speaking at the event, Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley pointed out that, statistically, giving a job to a highly qualified person with a disability proves better for a company in the long-run as these workers are more loyal and work harder on average. Ken Fredeen, one of the organizers of the initiative, and general counsel at Deloitte & Touche LLP, agrees. “This is not about just doing the right thing, but it is the business case,” he says.
Fredeen was also one of the participants at the InHouse/ACC General Counsel Roundtable, featured in this issue’s cover story “A growing role” on page 16. It was the second general counsel roundtable I had been involved in since I took over as editor of InHouse. I noticed that despite the changes in economy, regulations, and demands, basic challenges remain the same for legal department leaders year after year: keep up with your role inside the organization, keep legal spending in check, and properly manage risk in all areas, including privacy and privilege.
As you might have noticed on our masthead, since the last issue, we have had a small group of in-house counsel join us in the role of advisory board members. Since I took over as editor, they have been trusted sources, have patiently answered questions, and provided leads on how to best cover the in-house lawyer community. Their contribution and advice to the InHouse team will help keep this magazine on the right path to serve its readers.
I’m afraid, however, that my own path splits here. This is my last editorial before I leave InHouse. Every editor who takes over a publication brings in something new and hopefully leaves behind a legacy. In my tenure here, I tried to bring a global business perspective to all Canadian issues, not only because of my own personal background, but also because in the current world, almost every issue is local and global at the same time. As I depart to pursue other opportunities and perhaps try to take some time to answer much of the same questions I posed at the opening of this editorial, I’d like to thank you for all the access and advice you provide for our coverage. Please keep on doing the same in the future, and remember InHouse offers a lot of web-exclusive content so don’t forget to visit us online at canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse.