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In selecting the Western Canada General Counsel of the Year, our advisory board looks for excellence, the ability to deal with complexity across both issues and jurisdictions and a sure-handedness in dealing with whatever challenges are faced. In choosing one person to be honoured above all others, our board looks most carefully at the role each candidate played in their company’s overall health and well-being.

Our Western Canada General Counsel of the Year winner represents the very best of what this profession stands for.

The submission should explain how this nominee distinguished him/herself in terms of expertise; industry and in the broader community at large.

ELIGIBILITY: The General Counsel or Chief Legal Officer only.

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To find our Western Canada Lifetime Achievement award recipient, our Advisory Board looks for a senior member of the In-House Bar, or one who recently retired (in calendar 2017/19) with a distinguished history as a General Counsel. Finalists have made a real difference –– both within their own company and in-house department, as well as with the external counsel who have worked alongside them during their careers. This will be an individual with a commitment to excellence and leadership within the legal profession.

A Lifetime Achievement award recipient has the broadest possible range of accomplishments – the ability to run the complicated deals, the major litigation, the handling of governance issues as well as employment and regulatory matters. They will also have made a lasting contribution to their work community and the community at large within which their company operates. In short, they’ve done it all.

 The submission should explain how this nominee distinguished him/herself in his/her field of expertise; in industry and in the legal community at large.

ELIGIBILITY: Senior member of the In-House Bar, or one who recently retired (in calendar 2017/19) with a distinguished history as a General Counsel.

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Business Achievement

By training, lawyers are risk averse. However, an effective businessperson cannot afford to be. The skill sets, while complimentary, are very different. The Business Achievement Category recognizes that the transition from lawyer to senior executive directing a corporation is a difficult one. 

Our Advisory Board seeks to identify a practicing lawyer who has successfully made that leap, and who has gone on to excel amongst the champions of industry. The award recipient in this category is traditionally someone who is no longer a full time practicing GC, but has demonstrated the ability to both develop and implement the overall strategy contributing to the success of the division or the company itself.

ELIGIBILITY: All In-House Counsel no longer practicing as full time In-House Counsel.

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deal making

Outstanding performance in the Deal Making category is judged on the creativity, broad technical excellence and dexterity necessary to get complex deals successfully completed.

In some cases a merger or acquisition with a huge dollar value may be very straightforward to structure while a smaller transaction may be considerably more complex…and demand considerably more creativity to complete.

Judges will be looking for evidence of innovation in the transaction and how it affected the structure or outcome of the deal; overall complexity; how the nominee managed the cross-jurisdictional issues where appropriate; and management of both internal and external teams. The nomination should underscore the role the nominee played on the team.

ELIGIBILITY: All In-House Counsel, regardless of year of call or position.

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Litigation management

Litigation Management is not only about managing a court process but also managing the entire legal team-including outside counsel. It's not the size of a lawsuit that defines exceptional accomplishment in this category but rather, its complexity. In today’s commercial lawsuits counsel face a wide range of issues including the question of when to settle. 

Judges will be looking for effective quarterbacking of overall legal strategy as well as evidence of hands on management of external advisers; how decisions made in legal strategy underpinned the company’s brand; and where appropriate, how the nominee managed multi-jurisdictional issues.

The information should include a brief profile of the businesses involved; the issue; the jurisdictions; list of the external law firms used; and the outcome of the litigation.

ELIGIBILITY: All In-House Counsel, regardless of year of call or position.

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Tomorrow's leader

The role and stature of General Counsel has grown enormously during the last 30 years. The Tomorrow’s Leader award seeks to recognize individuals who will help continue this evolution into the future. 

Seeking to highlight and encourage a leader of the general counsel bar of tomorrow in his/her growth and development, judges will be looking for counsel that has been called to a Western Canadian Bar from 2008 or later. Nominated counsel will not only demonstrate superior legal capability but also demonstrate great leadership through actions and attitude when facing significant transactions or litigation that affects the business.

ELIGIBILITY: All In-House Counsel called in 2008 or later, regardless of position.

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