Canadian Legal Innovation Forum
BC LOGO-11.png

Tuesday, December 4, 2018|8:30AM-4:00PM

Vancouver Law Courts Inn - 800 Smithe St., Vancouver


BC Legal Innovation Forum is registered for 8 CPD Credits including 3 Ethics Credits with the Law Society of BC

Founding Partners:


Academic Partner:


Media Partner:


For lawyers, innovation is about a lot more than technology.

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 BC Legal Innovation Forum - the first in 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.




Agenda - December 4th

8.30 - 9.00 am - Registration and Breakfast

9.00 - 9.05am - Opening Remarks - Andrew Bowyer, Founder, Canadian Legal Innovation Forum
9:10 - 9.50am - Setting the Scene: The next wave of foreign investment in British Columbia
China’s rise as the world’s second largest economy has had a critical impact on Vancouver’s economic growth, arguably more than any other North American city.  As the global economy evolves, different types of investment in the British Columbian economy from China are emerging - moving beyond the resource and property sectors to high-growth areas such as technology and healthcare. Yet recently, foreign investment – particularly from China – is facing political headwinds. The Federal Government’s recent rejection of a bid for Canadian company Aecon by a Chinese State Owned Enterprise on national security grounds is forcing investors and their advisers to rethink their investment strategies in both economic and political contexts. The opening session will focus on how these shifts offer new opportunities and challenges for B.C. businesses, investors and lawyers.

Joel Schuster, General Counsel, Avigilon
Jack Yong, Partner, Lawson Lundell
Victor Tsao, Managing Partner, DS Avocats
Moses Zhang, Yonghua Capital

Chair: Andrew Bowyer, Principal, ADB Insights
9:55 - 10.35am - How is the structure of the legal sector changing?
For law firms and law departments, innovation goes beyond just implementing the latest technology. To innovate, lawyers must embrace risk taking approaches that are not always natural to them; retain talent in a market undergoing generational change and justify their value to their internal and external clients beyond simply providing legal advice to offering more strategic, business focused solutions. Competition is also getting fiercer, with advisory firms and new law companies emerging as potent, disruptive competitors. Here, the panel will discuss changes underway in the legal ecosystem and how lawyers can recalibrate their approaches in the face of them.

Michael Walker, Managing Partner, Miller Thomson
Matthew Peters, Partner, McCarthy Tetrault
Karim Amlani, Managing Counsel, Hootsuite
Corrine Zimmerman, General Counsel, Department of Justice Canada
Carla Swansburg, Vice President & General Manager Canada, Epiq

Chair: Jon Festinger, Principal, Festinger Law & Strategy / Peter A. Allard School of Law
10.35 - 11.00am - Morning Break
11.05 - 11.45am - 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.

Linda Lucas,
CEO, Roper Greyell
Steve McKoen, Partner, Blakes
Blair Lill, COO, Singleton Reynolds
Marshall Pawar, Managing Partner, MEP Business Counsel

Chair: Lynne Charbonneau, Legal Innovator
11.50am - 12.30pm - 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.

Robert Piasentin,
General Counsel, Sierra Systems
Catherine Scott, General Counsel, PayByPhone
Ranj Sangra, General Counsel, Pinnacle Renewable Energy
Ramneek Padda, Senior Litigation Counsel, Telus

Chair: Jennifer Brown, Managing Editor, Canadian Lawyer In-House
12.30 - 1.30pm - Lunch
Presentations by BC Legal Innovation Forum founding partners:

Epiq -
John Lavinder, Senior Director, Technology Assisted Review

Hunter West Legal Recruitment -
Stephanie Hacksel & Mike Aujla, Partners
1.35 - 2.15pm - 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.

Sherry MacLennan,
VP Public Legal Information & Applications, Legal Services Society
Gal Smolar, Counsel, Miller Thomson
Katie Sykes, Associate Professor, Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law
Peter Sanford, Senior Manager, E-Discovery and Forensics, Deloitte

Chair: Joshua Lenon, Lawyer in Residence & Data Protection Officer at Clio
2.20 - 3.00pm - Regions
An emerging and unique factor in the B.C. legal sector is the location of law firms. Many businesses are expanding or relocating outside of Vancouver with regional hubs like Kelowna, Surrey and Victoria increasingly attracting top companies, law firms and talent. There are multiple drivers behind this: regional hubs have developed unique ecosystems supporting innovative businesses flourishing in them; technology has enabled a new normal of remote working and Vancouver continues to be increasingly expensive for professionals to live, work and raise families in. As a result, these regional hubs are increasing their centrality and importance for businesses and lawyers. Here we will discuss the importance of regional hubs in the current and future contexts for the B.C. legal sector.

Mike Macaulay,
Partner, Lawson Lundell - Kelowna
James Paterson, Managing Partner, Pushor Mitchell - Kelowna
Sunny Aujla, Lawyer, Hamilton Duncan - Surrey

Chair: Andrew Bowyer, Principal, ADB Insights
3.00 - 3.20 - Afternoon Break

3.25 - 3.40pm - Presentation: Lynn Charbonneau, Legal Innovator (former Deputy General Counsel, HSBC)

3.45 - 4.25pm - 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?

Kaaren Vlug,
Director, Legal Services and General Counsel, Vancity
Ryan J. Black, Co-Chair, Information Technology, McMillan
Susanna Tam, Director of Inclusion, McCarthy Tetrault
Jennifer Lau, Director, Career Services, Allard School of Law (UBC)
Stephanie Hacksel, Founding Partner, Hunter West Recruitment

Chair: Cheryl Slusarchuk, CEO, NumerixS Quant
4.25- 4.30pm - Closing Remarks - Andrew Bowyer, Founder, 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


Hunter West specializes exclusively in legal search and recruitment. As trusted experts, we work closely with law firms and companies of all sizes, guiding the recruitment and selection process to ensure that our clients attract the talented individuals they need to achieve new levels of productivity and profitability. We also partner with lawyers and legal administrative professionals at all levels, providing targeted and customized career management advice and market intelligence.


Founded in 2006, the UBC Centre for Business Law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law is building a dynamic community of scholars, students, and professionals who continue to advance the dialogue on contemporary business law.


The Centre’s outstanding faculty members are leaders in their fields and are focused on a broad range of important issues and relevant topics. Some recent projects include: exploring the potential impacts of technology on legal practice, justice, and legal education and; how we can make corporations economically, socially and environmentally more sustainable.  


The Centre supports excellence in learning through a robust and diverse curriculum that offers both theoretical and practical education. Programs like the Business Law Clinic and the Corporate Counsel Externship offer students the opportunity to gain practical skills while also benefiting the business and non-profit sector. The Business Law Concentration allows law students to focus their legal studies on business law courses while the LLM in Taxation provides graduates and professionals with an opportunity to specialize in tax law. 

Community Engagement

The extraordinary work produced by the Centre goes well beyond the walls of Allard Hall. Through conferences, workshops, public lectures, and networking events, the Centre provides a platform for scholars, professionals, and students to come together to exchange ideas and connect. Recent events have included a lecture on intellectual property, a roundtable discussion on responsible business and the law, and a panel event on fintech.




December 4th, 2018


February 28th, 2018


April 16th, 2019