Friday, December 6, 2019

Baker McKenzie workshop held in collaboration with Professor Hadfield named the category of Innovation in Business of Law: Talent, Strategy & Changing Behaviors

The FT Innovative Lawyers North America Awards 2019 has shortlisted Baker McKenzie’s workshop "Seeding New Career Paths in Law" in the category of Innovation in Business of Law: Talent, Strategy & Changing Behaviors.

Baker McKenzie partnered with the University of Toronto to hold a workshop focused on applying multidisciplinary teamwork to a real-world business/legal problem and informing new approaches to adopt cutting-edge learning initiatives for lawyers.

"One of the key messages I’ve heard from innovative companies is how hard it is to find lawyers who can innovate legal structures—contracts for example—that can keep up with a rapidly changing complex world," says U of T professor of law and strategic management and workshop facilitator, Gillian Hadfield, director and Schwartz Reisman Chair in Technology and Society.

"Our legal ecosystem needs to innovate, much faster, to provide the critical tools needed to manage things like fast-moving global companies, artificial intelligence, and changing demographics," adds Hadfield, "Our goal in this initiative was to experiment with how we might help foster greater innovation in the way lawyers work and think."

Now in its ninth year of publication and covering the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the FT North America Innovative Lawyers Report has become one of the top legal rankings.

Through a series of hands-on exercises facilitated by Hadfield, U of T Faculty of Information Professor Dan Ryan and with participation from current and former U of T Law students Brendan Cassidy, Jon Kahn, Paetrick Sakowski and Associate Dean Albert Yoon, Baker McKenzie’s participants worked on a case study challenge—designing a better contracting regime for a startup company—and explored new ways of thinking and collaboration.

"The idea was to bring together our people, and people from other disciplines and backgrounds, to think about how lawyers can be more creative and effective in the changing world of working with clients,” said Sanjay Khanna, director and futurist of Baker McKenzie’s Whitespace Legal Collab.

“Problems that are actually worth solving are generally not going to yield to a solo effort. The kind of team effort they require, is going to do something more than just putting a lot of hands on the task,” said co-facilitator Ryan.

The FT Innovative Lawyers Report and Awards assess lawyers on their innovation both for clients and in their own businesses and is based on thorough research and journalism.

The standout legal innovations of 2019 will be celebrated at an awards ceremony in New York on December 9.

With files from FT Innovative Lawyers North America Awards and Baker McKenzie

Read the Baker Mackenzie press release