Strategic thinking for in-house counsel

By Mariane Gravelle April 19, 201719 April 2017

Strategic thinking for in-house counsel


From law school to professional development, there’s no shortage of ways to teach a lawyer about the practice of law. And as the profession changes, there’s always new skills to learn. Today, the ability to think and work strategically is increasingly important – and the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association has created a program to deliver that training to the profession.

The CCCA’s Business Leadership Program for In-House Counsel (BLPIHC), taught in collaboration with the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management faculty covers useful skills such as communication within organizations, corporate and organizational dynamics and management and leadership.

And because an academic approach to decision-making differs from being conscious of the issues and decision-making opportunities that arise in organizations, the program’s focus on strategic thinking helps participants plan for decision-making and avoid falling into a group-think feedback loop (making decisions based on who is – or isn’t – in the room).

Jamie Patterson, in-house counsel with SaskTel, is an alumnus of the program. He believes it suits those with a few years of in-house experience under their belts who have had the time to assess their own strengths and shortcomings as business persons. “It’s a great program if you have been in-house for a few years and you want to do more within your organization,” he says.  “It’s for people who want to expand into the business.”

Adds Patterson, “Learning strategies to evolve in unison with the organization can be a great opportunity to value-add.” Overall, he says, he learned to develop his business person skill-set and how to implement risk management plans. And everything he’s learned, he has been able to put to use in his current role.

The BLPIHC is welcoming its fifth cohort in June 2017. For more information about the program, including the full course curriculum, upcoming dates and sign-up information, visit the program’s page on the CCCA website.

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