Recent Publications
Publication Excerpts
Succession Planning: A Review of the...
Book review: The Highest Goal
Book Review
Law Firm Culture: What Doesn't Kill...
Six Degrees of Separation
Top 40 Corporate Counsel: Under 40
Lexpert 1999-2000
Lexpert 2001
Lexpert 2002-2003
Lexpert 2004
Lexpert 2005
Regeneration & Renewal (Travel) - Oct 1999

A really good vacation completely disassociates us from work and the day-to-day drudgery that wears even the best of us down. It firmly switches these parts of the brain to the off-position so that we can rest, regenerate, and renew. At the same time other parts of our creative mind and body are awakened. We return to work feeling healthy, invigorated and often with a batch of fresh new ideas.

As too many of us know, accomplishing this kind of renewal is easier said than done. A host of even the most innocuous of things can trigger our work brain back into action - a newspaper article or voice-mail messages we promised ourselves not to pick up. Whatever, the result is invariably the same. We think that we are getting the well-deserved rest that we’ve paid for, but we are cheating ourselves. At its worst, the vacation becomes a type of stress of its own as we feel too distracted or worried to enjoy it. At a minimum we simply return to work, but without the sense of complete well-being that a great vacation can and should bring.
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High Flyers Developing the Next Generation of Leadership (Book Review) - Mar 2000

Rating A - A must read.

If you really want to be more successful and effective as a leader, this is one of the best books you will ever read on how to do so. It is as valuable for lawyers as leaders as it is for McCall’s business executive target audience. The book is grounded in extensive research through McCall’s work at Centre For Creative Leadership, one of the most highly respected organizations for the study and practice of senior business leadership, as well as his on-going work through the University of Southern California.

Leadership Is Evergreen
It never goes out of fashion and the skills of high achieving leaders are highly transferable. Lawyers will find they have much in common with McCall’s executive leaders; usually highly intelligent, with early and well-established patterns of achievements, possessing a number of key strengths and also one or more weaknesses that can and often do derail them.
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The Arc of Ambition Defining the Leadership Journey (Book Review) - Mar 2000

Rating C - Save your money and time.

This book looks promising. Champy (the co-author) was one of the co-authors of the runaway bestseller Re-Engineering the Organization. The book’s appeal is obvious. Who today isn’t interested in leadership, and in particular finding and keeping more top talent than anyone else. We all know that highly ambitious stars are a real competitive advantage particularly in a knowledge-based profession such as law. Sadly it does not deliver. The Arc Of Ambition purports to point out the way for the Leadership Journey. It is my guess that it has left many readers lost and confused. It does provide an impressive list of winning ambitious leaders such as Bill Gates, Aristotle, Margaret Whitman (e-bay) and so forth along with some of their insights.
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First, Break All The Rules (Book Review) - May 2000

Rating A—a must read

A book about finding and keeping top talent.

As the Wars For Talent continue to be fought, top firms are looking at how they can improve the odds on their side for finding, keeping, and reaping the rewards of as big a piece of the talent pie as possible. The names of the talent stars on a firm’s letterhead are increasingly competing for brand image with the name of the firm itself. The problem of course is that the knack of finding and holding on to stars often seems to be an elusive game of chance.First, Break All The Rules< is a refreshing, no-hype, and incredibly convincing book for anyone who worries about their share of the talent pool. The authors, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, both of the Gallop Organization, have succinctly summarized 25 years of research from one million employees and eighty thousand managers. The key finding overall is, as you might guess, great managers find and keep more top talent by breaking the rules of past wisdom that most others follow.
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Lawyers & Leadership (Feature) - Jul 2000 by Mark Smith & Irene Taylor

Imagine being seated next to a passenger on a business flight to New York. The individual is immersed in a Harvard Business Review article by Dan Goleman entitled Leadership And Emotional Intelligence. As he leans down to take some papers out of his briefcase, your eyes catch several books with titles such as High Flyers, The Leadership Engine, and Leadership Is An Art. “Management consultant,” you tell yourself. Sometime later as you exchange polite and superficial pleasantries, as one so often does, you ask how he finds the article he is reading. You have heard the latest buzz words on management and leadership such as emotional intelligence (EQ), but frankly you don’t spend much time on such matters. As a corporate lawyer working on complex cross-border mergers, you are just too busy. Still, something about the person next to you looks very familiar. You introduce yourself and then as your travel companion introduces himself, the penny drops: Les Viner, Managing Partner of Torys.
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Classic YAVIS (Managing Partner Profile) - Sep 2000

There is a principle or rule for success that those who study psychology most often encounter in their first year of study. YAVIS, an acronym for Young Attractive Verbal Intelligent = Success, is also known as the principle of the eighty per cent person. It basically holds that individuals who have the qualities of being youthful (in outlook and energy as much as age), attractive (in appearance and personality), articulate and intelligent will have a higher probability and natural advantage in achieving success than others.

Jim Christie, the current Managing Partner and soon-to-be Chair of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, is about as perfect an example of YAVIS as one can find. Anyone who meets him for the first time is struck by how youthful he appears, given his senior role with one of Canada’s most established and respected law firms. His appearance is further enhanced by a warm, genuine style and the careful attentiveness he gives to whomever he is speaking with or listening to. For anyone who knows him, however, his youthful appearance is eclipsed by an obviously sharp intellect and highly articulate manner that allows him to again and again move disparate points of view to consensus and resolution on an array of complex issues. Christie is such an ideal example of YAVIS that one expects to see his photograph next to the explanation of the acronym in a Psych 101 text.
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Seamless Leadership with a High Performance Team (Managing Partner Profile) - Oct 2000

"How much time do you spend in your role as Managing Partner?” was the question. “As little as possible,” replied Keith Mitchell, Q.C., the Managing Partner of Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy. Those who are students of leadership and organizational performance seldom hear this kind of reply. When we do, it invariably means one of two things: things are going very, very badly or very, very well. In the case of Farris, Vaughan, the latter is the case. The 60-lawyer firm has a reputation as one of the most profitable law firms in Vancouver. Almost half of their 35 partners have been listed in Lexpert as leading practitioners and the firm’s client list, which includes Westcoast Energy Inc., 360networks inc., Telus, Hollinger Canadian Newspapers, L.P., BC Gas, QLT Inc., City of Vancouver and the BC Lumber Industry, among others, is enviable. “I would describe them as a high performance law firm,” David Unruh, Senior Vice-President, Law, and Corporate Secretary of Westcoast Energy Inc., notes. To underscore the extent to which the firm punches well above its weight, it is worth pointing out that the firm is currently acting as counsel to BC-based TELUS Corporation in its $6.6 billion acquisition of Scarborough, Ontario-based Clearnet Communications Inc.

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A Transformational Leader (Managing Partner Profile) - Nov 2000

"If women,” the article explained, “are more than and different than the femme fatale”. Possessing a unique blend of attractiveness, intelligence and charisma, they can change the chemistry of a room, simply by walking in. Jackie Kennedy is a famous example of an “It” woman. “It-ness” is not, of course, exclusive to women. (I think I know a couple of men who have “it”.) Leaders of all types—political, religious, military and business—are perhaps the one category of people where “It-ness” counts most.

The qualities that set great leaders apart in war, peace, or business have been researched for many years. In the late 1970s and through the 1980s, leadership experts such as Noel Tichy and John Burns summarized the “It” qualities of leaders with the now famous tag, “Transformational Leader”. These leaders have the capacity to raise themselves and others to a higher level of morality and motivation. In their 1986 groundbreaking book, Transformational Leadership, Noel Tichy and MA Devanna outline seven attributes of such leaders (see Sidebar on last page).

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