Chrzanowski is experienced in private practice and in-house roles – and running her own business
No stranger to taking risks, Tricia Chrzanowski has taken a non-traditional path in her career, moving between in-house and private practice roles – and even running her own kick-boxing business. Her broad experience gave her the skillset to thrive in her current role as associate managing partner at in-house boutique firm Simplex Legal.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Chrzanowski started her legal career in private practice where she focused on M&A and commercial work before moving to the energy practice at Macleod Dixon in Calgary. This led to an in-house role at Nexen Energy where she spent nine years, progressing to assistant general counsel in the oil sands business before joining the energy practice at Gowling in Calgary. Chrzanowski missed the business side of working in-house so she left private practice again to take another assistant general counsel role – this time at pipeline company, Kinder Morgan Canada Inc.
Together with her husband, Chrzanowski decided to take a break from the law in 2018 to start a kick-boxing business, opening three gyms in Kelowna, B.C.
When the pandemic forced the gyms to temporarily close in 2020, Chrzanowski began to seek out new legal roles, landing at Simplex Legal – a law firm which offers in-house lawyers on demand and on a flexible basis.
“Owning a business has been one of my greatest accomplishments,” says Chrzanowski, who continues to run her kick-boxing business while working at Simplex. “Having that skillset and that understanding of risk really allows me to give practical and pragmatic, business-oriented advice to clients.” Chrzanowski also credits her strong foundation in private practice and her experience in-house for her success at Simplex where she works with clients of all sizes across multiple industries.
Simplex differs from traditional law firms in the sense that most of the lawyers have significant in-house experience, and this is reflected in the service that they offer to clients, according to Chrzanowski.
“We have a deep understanding of the business and how a legal department operates,” she says. “We have a very collegial group of lawyers who leverage each other’s skillsets and there’s not that competitive nature that you often find in a law firm where you have a billable target and people competing for work.” Chrzanowski and her team at Simplex are available to help legal departments fill gaps or cover leaves, or they offer expertise in specific areas when needed.
“We work with companies that have in-house legal departments and those that don’t. It gives us the flexibility to act almost like ad hoc general counsel in an advisory capacity,” says Chrzanowski.
Promoted to associate managing partner in January, Chrzanowski is focused on helping the firm grow and find its foothold in the alternative legal provider space, while continuing to help her clients achieve their goals.