Sport & Social

Law and Business Association: Taking Care of Business

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Brendan Ghag (2L)

Brendan is Co-President of the Law and Business Association

Rewind the clock to 2012, I was an incoming 1L who knew I wanted to practice corporate law. Fast-forward to April 2013, I managed to survive first year; now, I was a 2L who knew I wanted to practice corporate law. What had I really learned about being a corporate lawyer though? About the business of law itself? How about other opportunities outside of ‘big law’? Not much. My guess is that there are a few of you who are in the same boat.

That’s more or less why the Law and Business Association was created – to connect students to the business of law. This year, we are pushing the reach of the organization. With the generous contribution of our diamond level sponsor, Reynolds Mirth Richards & Farmer LLP, we are creating a set of lecture series that will connect you to Edmonton’s business and legal community.

On October 30th, we had our first event of the year: ‘Perspectives on In-House Counsel.’ A few 3Ls will remember Naomi Schmold, who serves as in-house counsel for Enbridge, as a former LRW instructor. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Craig Corbett, who has worked at Stikeman Elliott’s Calgary & UK offices, with RMRF in Edmonton, and is currently Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Liquor Stores GP Inc. Our final panel member, Matthew Hewson is a U of A alumni, formerly of Miller Thomson in Edmonton, and currently Director of Legal Affairs at Liquor Stores GP Inc.

Interested in in-house counsel? Here are a few take-home messages from the event. The myth that in-house counsel is more laid-back is just that, a myth. All three panelists agreed the hours are not significantly different. However, the ‘billable hour’ does not exist when you move in-house; instead, your value is measured by how quickly you can solve problems. Work moves beyond the law and enters a grey area, where you are juggling business and legal issues. Knowledge of the law is necessary, but not sufficient, and the ability to adapt is critical.   

Think in-house counsel may be in your future? Craig shared his thoughts on what classes you should focus on: Personal Property Security Law and Corporate Securities and Finance. Craig also noted that, for a lawyer interested in moving in-house, an MBA can be an invaluable asset. Beyond education, Naomi and Matthew emphasized that in-house counsel positions are often not advertised. Your network will be essential to transitioning from law to in-house counsel, so get your name out there.

It was a great night and thank you to those students who came out and helped make it a success. We hope to see you at our next event. If you are interested in joining our membership or have any questions, send us an email at uofalawandbusinesss@gmail.com.