Thank you for for joining us at the 2019 CGCA. See you in 2020!


BLG Stephen Sigurdson Lifetime Achievement

To find our BLG Stephen Sigurdson Lifetime Achievement award recipient, our Advisory Board looks for a senior member of the In-House Bar, or one who recently retired (in calendar 2018/19) 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 BLG Stephen Sigurdson 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 2018/19) with a distinguished history as a General Counsel.

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CANADIAN GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE YEAR

In selecting the Canadian General Counsel of the Year, our judges look for excellence, the ability to deal with complexity across both issues and jurisdictions and, an irrefutable sure-handedness in dealing with whatever challenges are faced.

In choosing one person to be honoured above all others, our judging panel looks most carefully at the role each candidate played in their company's overall health and well-being. Our Canadian 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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Baker McKenzie Innovation

The innovation award recognizes and honours the Canadian legal department of the Future! Judges will be seeking to highlight the department that shows a willingness to embrace change through technology, behavior, business model or service innovation and thus help meet the needs of the company or its business lines. The award recognizes the in-house legal team that truly exemplifies the “Legal Department of the Future.”

The Most Innovative In-House Team Award goes to the legal team implementing the most balanced portfolio of strategic and tactical innovation solutions over the past 12 months:

  • Strategic innovations include those aimed at improving the in-house legal team's effectiveness in the long term at managing organizational risk and facilitating improved department and organizational operations, or at positioning the legal department to undertake new value-added initiatives; and,

  • Tactical innovations that improve core legal operations including through sourcing strategy, such as the adoption and implementation of legal solutions technology or training and development of personnel or of technology solutions such as machine learning and AI.

  • Award criteria relate to longer-term vision for people, practice and technology, as well as organizational impact.

ELIGIBILITY: Any Canadian law department, regardless of size.

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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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Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

Social Responsibility first awarded in 2011. We are pleased at the evolution of this award to ESG. 

The Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) award recognizes the In-House Counsel who exhibits outstanding leadership in corporate responsibility and ESG stewardship.  

Judges will be seeking to highlight an In-House Counsel who has shown a commitment to aligning the interests of the organization with those of their stakeholders, contributing to the wellbeing of communities, and to instilling a culture of ethics, good governance and corporate integrity.

ELIGIBILITY: In-House Counsel of any Canadian Law Department, regardless of size.

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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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Mid-Market Excellence

In a private company or a smaller-sized public company or non-profit, In-House Counsel are often called upon to play a role of broader scope than management of the company’s legal issues. They tend to work more closely with their company’s CEO and are more likely to play a role in developing and implementing corporate strategy. In short-they do more with less!

In addition to managing legal and other risks, or holding multiple positions such as Corporate Secretary or Chief Privacy Officer, they may be mandated to participate in key negotiations with decision-making authority.

In this category, our judges look not only for department level excellence, but for evidence that the broader challenges inherent in organizations of this size have been handled in an effective and sure handed manner.

Nomination guidance:
·       Law departments should be 5 lawyers or less. 

ELIGIBILITY:  All In-House Counsel regardless of year of call or position. Eligible companies will be limited to public companies with a market capitalization under $1 billion and private companies (excluding subsidiaries of public companies with a market capitalization in excess of $1 billion) and in all cases with no more than 500 employees.

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Osler Purdy Crawford Deal making

Outstanding performance in the Osler Purdy Crawford 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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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 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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Official Airline of the CGCA

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Finalist reception

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CGCA After Party

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Production Sponsor

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wine sponsor

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