Last week marked the Meritas – 2023 Canadian Regional Meeting, bringing together lawyers from across the network’s Canadian firms. Hosted in Halifax, the meeting featured a series of workshops for both the Canadian Management Committee (CMC), as well as the Emerging Leaders Advisory Board (ELAB).
Generations of Lawyers
This year’s meeting focused on the CMC and ELAB groups from across Meritas’ Canadian firms, providing an opportunity for each group to meet among its cohorts, and then for discussions across the groups.
“This year’s Canadian Regional Meeting was really interesting,” says Luca Citton, president at Boughton, Meritas board member and chair of the CMC. “The sessions offered an opportunity for discussion and information sharing across generations of lawyers. Often times, management discussions can become a bit of an echo chamber, so this year’s approach offered input and perspective flowing both ways across these different generations of lawyers.”
Boughton’s ELAB representative—Leslie Whittaker—also found the cross-generational programming noteworthy and informative.
“Lawyers of different generations work alongside each other every day,” explains Whittaker, “but we don’t often discuss our views about the business of law or what the future of law looks like – or what we want it to look like. This meeting gave us a unique space for the old guard and new guard to have candid conversations about these topics. Hopefully, what we heard from each other will help us drive the success of our law firms together.”
Another key topic—across the generational divide—was the burgeoning AI industry.
Artificial Intelligence + Law
AI has been a hot topic across multiple industries over the last 12-months, with no slow down in sight. As such, it’s no surprise that it continues to be on lawyer’s minds as well.
“AI presents a potentially disruptive factor to traditional firm management, especially when it comes to how firm’s have historically trained and mentored young associates,” explains Citton. “In the past, a fresh associate would learn a great deal in their first few years from drafting and procedural, under the guidance of a senior lawyer. AI can now potentially do some of that ‘paper work’ faster, forcing firms to answer the question; ‘how do we shift our training and mentorship model?’.”
Whittaker also sees the potential impact of AI on the industry and how it might force lawyers to hone their client value-proposition.
“Large language models are going to be an incredible tool for lawyers,” says Whittaker. “Although we often bill by the hour, our value to our clients is not simply the time spent on a file. If generative AI can give us a head-start on some of the necessary paperwork, we can focus on what our clients are really looking for: accurate and trustworthy domain knowledge, expertise and strategic advice.”
Whatever the impacts of AI, both Citton and Whittaker are grateful for the opportunity to discuss topics like it with other firms across the country.
“Collaboration is one of the great things about Meritas,” says Citton. “The network not only allows us to support clients across jurisdictions, but it also allows us to have discussions—about pressing topic like AI—with a diverse set of peers. It gives us perspective, ideas and allows us to become thought-leaders in the legal space.”
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