McCain Foods loses in-house counsel to Cognition

McCain Foods loses in-house counsel to Cognition
Tyler Langdon has left McCain Foods to establish a presence for Cognition LLP in Atlantic Canada.
After eight years as in-house counsel at McCain Foods Ltd., Tyler Langdon has left the company to establish an Atlantic Canadian presence for alternative legal services provider Cognition LLP.

Langdon, based in Simonds, N.B, left McCain effective July 1. He and his wife Andrea Langdon, who was in-house counsel at Barrett Corp. and Xplornet, will operate the Cognition eastern affiliate.

“It was a hard decision for me to leave McCain,” Langdon tells InHouse. “I really liked my team — they were absolutely wonderful, but the Cognition model is one I have come to really believe in.”

After following Cognition’s model for the last few years and after a meeting with Cognition co-founder Joe Milstone in the spring, Langdon decided to make the move.

While Cognition did not have immediate plans to expand its services to Atlantic Canada, Langdon’s interest in joining the organization presented an opportunity it wanted seize upon, says Milstone.

“We believe there’s a strong, untapped market and need for our model in the East, particularly in the in-house/GC community which is more sizeable than a lot of people think,” says Milstone. “Someone of Tyler’s calibre and reputation is a good endorsement for our model.”

In June, Langdon, was named Tomorrow’s Leader at the Canadian General Counsel Awards. As counsel, global legal operations at McCain Foods he travelled frequently to Central and South America for the frozen-food giant, which has a legal department of 11 lawyers.

In addition to the traditional fishery and manufacturing industries in the East, some of the areas Milstone sees potential for include startups and small to medium-sized businesses that don’t currently have in-house counsel but need legal support on a regular basis.

“It’s an interesting and lucrative market,” he says.

The goal is for Langdon to also do some recruiting to expand Cognition’s numbers in Atlantic Canada.

Langdon is also looking forward to being part of a five-lawyer team Cognition is creating to provide legal department operating support — offering assistance to existing in-house teams in evaluating their current operations and providing guidance as to how they can be approaching work differently. A big component of that will be the use of technology — an area Langdon developed a specialty in while at McCain.

“It will address efficiencies and workflow process and encourage in-house counsel to try things that will bring additional value to clients,” says Langdon.

Together with Cognition lawyers such as Shari Hosaki, who was general counsel at Cadbury Schweppes, and David Zender, former general counsel of Home Depot Canada, Langdon and Milstone are developing a program to provide assistance on developing in-house metrics, how to improve external relationships, conduct RFPs, and use technology.

“We think there is great value this kind of service can bring. The challenge is to get corporate counsel to be strong enough and confident enough to use this kind of service,” Milstone says.

Prior to going in-house Langdon was a lawyer at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in the corporate real estate group.

In April, Cognition announced it had expanded into the Calgary market with John Tyrrell representing the company there. Tyrell has 30 years of corporate/commercial legal experience as general counsel of The Forzani Group, legal counsel of Foremost Industries, and a private-practice lawyer at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and Milner Fenerty (now Dentons Canada LLP). There are now four former in-house counsel working for Cognition in Calgary.

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