Tuesday, April 16, 2019|8:30AM-4:30PM

Fairmont Palliser
Calgary, Alberta

Founding Partners:


Silver Partner


Academic Partner:


Media Partner:



To innovate, lawyers need to embrace risk.

They must adopt new approaches, some of which are beyond the traditional domain of the law.

They need to be responsive to a fast evolving business landscape.

And they need to know how to work with clients to tailor strategic solutions.

The purpose of the Canadian Legal Innovation Forum - part of a wider series of forums being held across Canada - is to build a leadership network who can show you how to stay competitive in the business of law.


More panelists to be confirmed...


For Alberta lawyers, consider including this course as a CPD learning activity in your mandatory annual Continuing Professional Development Plan as required by the Law Society of Alberta.

8.30 - 9.00 am - Registration and Breakfast
9.00 - 9.10am - Welcome by Forum MC,
Maryanne Forrayi, Director, Career & Professional Development, University of Calgary Law School & Andrew Bowyer, Founder, The Canadian Legal Innovation Forum
9.10 - 10.00 - Session: How is the structure of the legal sector changing?

For law firms and law departments, innovation goes beyond simply adopting new technology. To be innovative, lawyers must embrace risk taking approaches that are not always natural to them. They must retain talent in a market undergoing generational change. And they continuously need to justify their value to clients (both internal and external) not only as lawyers but strategic advisors. Competition remains fierce, with advisory firms and new law companies emerging as potent, disruptive competitors.This panel will discuss shifts in the legal ecosystem and how lawyers can recalibrate their approaches accordingly.

Peter Feldberg, Firm Managing Partner, Fasken
Ian Holloway, Dean, University of Calgary Law School
Lorne O'Reilly, Senior Counsel, The Dow Chemical Company
Gail Harding Q.C., Former General Counsel of Canadian Western Bank 

Chair: Carla Swansburg, Vice President & General Manager Canada, Epiq
10:05 -10.50am - Western Canada’s Energy Future
Western Canada’s energy sector has been in flux for many years. This has influenced by many factors - both global and domestic. On the domestic front, regulation, falling FDI, stalled infrastructure investment, climate change policy and federal and provincial politics are all having pronounced impact. As a result, companies operating in the region are adapting  their operations, strategies and approaches to risk. For lawyers working for or with these companies - the same applies. This panel will look at how the Western Canadian legal sector is adapting in response to these challenges.

Al Reid, General Counsel,
Shawn Denstedt Q.C.,
Vice Chair, Western Canada and Partner at Osler
Ted Brown, Partner, BD&P

Chair: David Spencer,
Partner, Bennett Jones
10.50 - 11.10am - Morning Break
11.15 - 12.00pm - Session: Technology

Technology is disrupting every sector and law is no exception. A greater percentage of purely legal tasks like document review, e-discovery and expertise automation are being solved for by AI powered applications. Administrative tasks such as matter management, billing and CRM tools custom built for the legal sector are positively impacting firm and legal department bottom lines. And for consumers, technology is enabling increased, more efficient and inexpensive access to justice in areas such as family law. Yet, the long term impact of technology on the legal sector remains in question. Will it free up lawyers’ time to focus on more strategic work? Or, will it eliminate much of the work currently done by lawyers? What are the ethical implications of delegating more legal work to technology in favour of human lawyers and what are the risks involved when human judgement is eliminated from the equation? This session will discuss how technology is impacting the sector currently and the future implications of technology and the law.

Stephen Cooper, Senior Counsel, ATB Financial
Katie McLean,
Chief Growth Officer, Athennian
Mona Datt,
Founder & President, Loom Analytics
Tys Von Gaza, Director of Product Development, Clio

Chair: Ginevra Saylor, Director, Innovation Programmes, Gowling WLG

12.05 - 12.25pm - Presentation - Chris Iconos,
Vice President & Global Energy Practice Lead, Axiom

12.25 - 1.25pm - Lunch
Presentation - Lynne Charbonneau,
Founder Lexterna (former Deputy General Counsel, HSBC)
1.30 - 2.15pm - Session: Talent, education and purpose

The legal profession is one that is people driven. For law firms having a diverse, differentiated and purpose driven culture is critical to attracting the best talent and achieving success; for law departments, the same applies. Underpinning the success of both is education with law schools training the lawyers of the future. At the same time, the profession is encountering generational and economic shifts. How can law firms and law departments attract and retain talent? How are millennial lawyers viewing the potential paths of their careers differently particularly when it comes to purpose? What can law schools do to better train future lawyers; and what are the ethical implications of law schools training lawyers for skills beyond purely legal ones?

Amy Binder, Student and Associate Initiatives Director, Norton Rose Fulbright
Adam Pekarsky,
Founding Partner, Pekarsky & Co.
Maryanne Forrayi, Director, Career & Professional Development, University of Calgary Law School

Kyla Sandwidth, Founder, De Novo Inc.
2.15 - 2.35pm - Afternoon Break

2.40 - 3.25pm - Session: The future of law firms

For law firms, how they create value for their clients, structure their businesses and deliver services are key ways to differentiate themselves. Law firms must now deliver solutions for multiple client stakeholders in multiple situations and organise and manage themselves in more innovative ways. To do this, they are experimenting with building scalable technology based solutions to solve client problems, alternative fee arrangements and fostering deeper internal and external collaboration. Yet there are many hurdles for law firms to overcome in order to make these changes achievable, sustainable and, in the long term, profitable. This session will focus on how law firms are working toward these innovative ends while maintaining market share now and in the future.

John Esvelt, Chief Practice Officer and Chief Legal Officer Canada, Dentons
Keely Cameron,
Legal Counsel, Alberta Energy Regulator
Julianna Fish, Senior Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright
Len Polsky, Law Society of Alberta

Chair: Martine Boucher, CEO and Founder, Simplex Legal
3.30 - 3.50 - Presentation - Keely Cameron,
Legal Counsel, Alberta Energy Regulator & Christa Nicholson, Partner, JSS Barristers
3.55 - 4.40pm - Session: The future of law departments

For in-house legal teams, their role, scale and influence within their organizations is increasing. Lawyers working in innovative companies are under pressure to be as innovative (and cost efficient) in their delivery of services. The legal work they are undertaking -- particularly in technology companies in nascent parts of the sector -- can have critical consequences for the future success of their companies. Operationally, law departments are also changing. Organizations like CLOC (The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) are gaining increasing prominence and clout in the sector -- changing the way  that legal services are purchased, who they are purchased from and how legal departments are structured. In the panel, we’ll look at how these changes underway for law departments are impacting the sector and the implications for the future of innovation in it.

Christy Elliott, General Counsel, Parkland Fuel Corporation
Nadine Berge
, Director, Corporate Compliance and Legal Operations, TransCanada Corporation 
Gary Goodwin,
Executive Corporate Secretary and Counsel, Ducks Unlimited
Bryan Friedman,
Director & General Manager Canada, Axiom

Chair: Lynne Charbonneau, Founder Lexterna (former Deputy General Counsel, HSBC)


4.40-4.45pm - Closing Remarks from Andrew Bowyer, Founder, The Canadian Legal Innovation Forum


About Our Partners


Epiq, a global leader in the legal services industry, takes on large-scale, increasingly complex tasks for corporate counsel, law firms, and business professionals with efficiency, clarity, and confidence. Clients rely on Epiq to streamline the administration of business operations, class action and mass tort, court reporting, eDiscovery, regulatory, compliance, restructuring, and bankruptcy matters. Epiq subject-matter experts and technologies create efficiency through expertise and deliver confidence to high-performing clients around the world. Learn more at www.epiqglobal.com


Axiom is a recognized leader in the business of law. With a vision of transforming the legal industry through talent and technology, Axiom leverages proprietary software, data, and processes to provide global companies with access to a flexible network of world-class lawyers, combining the breadth of expertise found at law firms with the cost-efficiency and integration of in-house hires. The firm comprises 2,000-plus lawyers, professionals, process engineers and technologists in 17 offices globally. www.axiomlaw.com 

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