Editor's Box – Holding ourselves responsible

Corporations from across Canada are facing challenges in attracting and retaining skilled workers. They are finding out money isn’t everything.


Today’s employees are looking for companies that match their value system: that are charitable, care about the environment, and promote the ultimate catchphrase of a generation — a good “work-life balance.”

In this edition of Canadian Lawyer InHouse we take a look at corporate social responsibility in our third annual corporate counsel roundtable. We find out that being in-house counsel can mean more than making sure your employer sticks to the regulations and legislative guidelines. Keeping up with public opinion and providing employees with a work environment that is equal to their values can be just as important.

Consumers as well as employees want to feel good about the decisions they make. Whether that means buying from socially responsible companies, or asking about the recycling program during a job interview, corporate social responsibility is not only good for Mother Earth, it is also good for the bottom line.

Our features look at two staffing and retention issues that face companies. In “Temporary transfer” (page 7), writer Derek Hill looks for tips to avoiding the pitfalls that can often be associated with bringing in employees from outside Canada. In our second feature, “Balance can be a misnomer” (page 23), Heather Capannelli unravels the perception that lawyers can avoid stress and billable hours by becoming in-house counsel.

One in-house counsel who seems to have it all together is Shauna MacDougall, 3M Canada’s director of legal affairs. MacDougall, who is profiled on page 26, juggles the law, motherhood, and a relationship, while running a legal affairs department for a company that makes more than 55,000 different products.

It’s interesting that the ’80s TV hit L.A. Law led MacDougall to the profession. I always knew that Jimmy Smits, Susan Dey, and Corbin Bernsen had staying power. Imagine for a moment what kind of lawyer Boston Legal’s Denny Crane, played by William Shatner of Montreal and Star Trek fame, may help create.

I would love to say it was Cary Grant in His Girl Friday that made me want to be a journalist. The stylish, sauve, and mischievous love interest to Rosalind Russell who never let anything get in the way of a story. In truth, it was likely the somewhat loose remake, The Paper, starring Michael Keaton.

Regardless of what led me to the media, it is a real pleasure to be the new editor of Canadian Lawyer InHouse. For the past five years I was on the other end of the reporter’s microphone. Much of that time was spent as communications officer — media relations and issues management — for the British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General. Prior to that I was a reporter in Alberta and British Columbia.

Part of my work-life balance was to return to a life of writing. It was a cross-country move that led me to Canadian Lawyer InHouse, to help guide this magazine’s Canada-wide focus.

I hope you enjoy the read and I look forward to hearing and reading your feedback. I can be reached at [email protected].

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