"86 Goodmans lawyers recognized as being top-tier in their fields and leaders in 31 distinct areas of law" - Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2021
Goodmans News & Events

Goodmans Presents: Avoiding the Professionalism Pitfalls of an In-House Practice


Area Litigation, White Collar Risk Management and Investigations


Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
Goodmans, LLP
Toronto, Ontario

9:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Panel Discussion
10:00 - 11:30 a.m


  • Charles G. Alexander, Vice-President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary of Citibank Canada
  • Cettina Cornish, Counsel, Licensing and Accreditation, The Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Dan Pinnington, Vice President, Claims Prevention & Stakeholder Relations, Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO)

In-house practices are varied, as a result of divergent industries, different scales, human factors and countless other variables, but the ethical and professionalism issues faced have very consistent and common themes. This session will focus on two main areas of concern for in-house counsel and provide practical tips and advice to ensure that you do not fall prey to the common professionalism pitfalls of in-house practice. 

Whistle-blowing: Recent changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct clarify the standard that lawyers are expected to meet with regard to potential dishonest, fraudulent or wrongful conduct by clients.

Our panel will discuss:

  • What does whistle-blowing mean in the in-house context?
  • How do you balance your obligation of confidentiality with any obligation of disclosure?
  • What frameworks can be utilized to deal with these issues when they arise?

Communication Strategies: The number one source of complaints against lawyers is poor communication. The good news is there are simple tools to minimize communication barriers, which exist even in in-house contexts where counsel will normally have a better understanding of the communication expectations of their corporate client.

Our panel will discuss:

  • How to practice defensively (for example, communicating time frames for completion, having regular status updates, documenting conversations)
  • Defining your role (understanding the phantom client dynamic, knowing your areas of competence, delineating allocations of responsibility and ensuring others are aware)
  • Using available technologies