Thursday, February 28, 2019|8:30AM-4:30PM

Sun Life Financial Tower (Vantage Venues)
150 King Street West, Toronto


Founding 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.



Many more panelists to be confirmed...



Setting the Scene: Canada’s Trade Future
Norms governing global trade have changed, which directly impacts Canada’s current and future prosperity. NAFTA has been redrafted. CETA, enabling free-trade between Canada and the EU, presents opportunities and uncertainty; Canada’s largest trading partner in the EU – the UK – is formally leaving in 2019. A new free-trade agreement is mooted with China - yet the complexity of transpacific trade is increasing. Finally, foreign investment in Canada is dwindling for a number of reasons. This session will focus on Canada’s trading future and the opportunities and challenges for Canadian lawyers.

Monique Smith
, Former Ontario Representative in Washington D.C.
Jason Langrish,
Executive Director, Canada Europe Roundtable for Business
Matthew Kronby, Partner, International Trade Group, Borden Ladner Gervais

Chair: Josh Wingrove, Reporter, Bloomberg News

Session 1: 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.

Fred Headon, Assistant General Counsel, Air Canada
Anne Ristic, Co-Managing Partner, Stikeman Elliott
Matthew Peters, National Innovation Leader, McCarthy Tetrault
Carla Swansburg, Vice President & General Manager Canada, Epiq

Chair: TBC


Session 2: 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.

Benjamin Alarie, Co-Founder and CEO, Blue Jay Legal
Rebecca Kacaba, CEO, DealMaker
Mark Bowman, Founder at Meese AI, Counsel at Fasken
Richard Thomas, Head, Business Ventures, RBC Ventures

Chair: Joshua Lenon, Lawyer in Residence, Clio


Session 3: 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.

Bindu Cudjoe,
General Counsel, Canadian Western Bank
Peter Nguyen, General Counsel, Resolver
Lynne Charbonneau,
Legal Innovator (former Deputy GC, HSBC)

Chair: Jennifer Brown, Managing Editor, Canadian Lawyer InHouse


Session 4: 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.

Yonni Fushman, Chief Legal Officer, Aecon
Sanjay Khanna, Futurist, Baker McKenzie
Michael Fekete, National Innovation Leader, Osler
Mark Tamminga, Partner, Gowling WLG

Chair: TBC

Session 5: 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?

Victoria Watkins, Assistant Dean & Executive Director, Osgoode Hall Law School

Sean Conway, Honorary Fellow, Ryerson University (former Ontario Minister of Education)

Session 6: Blockchain
Hailed by many commentators and industry players as a global game-changer in the manner of the advent of the internet in the 1990s, blockchain is a disruptive mode of technology with significant implications for companies in Canada and around the world. Blockchain addresses and helps solve a variety of problems that businesses face around in areas such as supply chain and logistics, regulatory compliance in the financial sector and records of ownership. The advance of blockchain in myriad applications for business will, by definition, create a great deal of complexity for lawyers to solve. Blockchain technology also has the potential to disrupt the traditional practice of law with agreements circumventing traditional intermediators.  Here we discuss what the implications of blockchain are for corporates, the lawyers working for them and its broader application to the practice of law.

Eric Richmond,
Vice President, Legal, Coinsquare
Daniel Fuke,
Partner, Fasken Martineau
Usman Sheikh, Partner, National Head - Blockchain & Smart Contract Group, Gowling WLG

Chair: Martine Boucher, Founder and CEO, Simplex Legal


About Our Partner


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