Providing legal leadership for a telecommunications giant


Jasper Meyers, BCL’83, LLB’83, senior counsel with Nokia’s Cloud & Network Services Business Group, has been based in the Netherlands (with six years in London) since he joined Allen & Overy in Amsterdam in 1988, after five years with Dentons in Toronto. The son of Dutch immigrants to Montréal, Jasper spoke the language and fit in well, appreciating the challenges of the very international practice in Amsterdam. “Many people in Canada didn’t understand my move at the time,” he recalls. When AT&T approached him in 1991 to work on M&A in central and eastern Europe, things fell into place and the opportunity to stay was too good to resist. New opportunities were opening up for lawyers following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, encouraging the free movement of people, capital, goods, and services in the EU, as well as the privatization and de-regulation of industry, and the rise of the internet and cellular networks. “All business in Europe was suddenly cross-border, and multilingual lawyers, trained in both common and civil law, embracing the pluralist perspective fostered by McGill Law, had an advantage,” says Jasper, who was editor-in-chief of volume 27 of the McGill Law Journal (1981-82).

Jasper has been with the same company for 31 years, even if its name has changed: AT&T spun off Lucent Technologies in 1996, which merged with Alcatel in 2006, and Alcatel-Lucent was acquired by Nokia in 2016 (after selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft). Jasper has filled several key roles over the years, now focusing on large transactions that touch on the technological avant-garde – cloud native computing, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and the metaverse.

“It’s been a white-knuckle ride. You’re constantly trying to figure out where the technology is going and what risks it brings.”

“It’s a creative and competitive space, and you need a global perspective to remain relevant.” The ever-evolving technology means that guidance isn’t found in law books. “You need to create new forms of contract based on the evolution of software and its use cases. Curiosity, flexibility and innovation are essential.”

Jasper particularly appreciates the global span of his work. “I typically start my day speaking to Australia, China, Singapore… then Dubai and Europe, and later to the US,” he says. “I enjoy the dynamism, watching the industry evolve and contributing to developments globally.”

Bâtir la nouvelle Maison Radio-Canada

Élizabeth Gagné, BCL/LLB’02, s’est jointe à CBC/Radio-Canada en 2017 afin d’agir comme conseillère juridique dans le cadre du projet de la nouvelle Maison Radio-Canada à Montréal. « Pour l’achat de tout le nouvel équipement technologique du bâtiment, nous avons dû négocier un total de 80 à 100 contrats avec différents fournisseurs ! », partage-t-elle. « C’était un défi des plus stimulants. » Désormais, à titre de première conseillère juridique, elle est responsable des contrats relatifs aux technologies et à l’infrastructure, aux médias numériques et à d’autres types d’approvisionnements.

Le travail de conseiller juridique interne requiert une profonde compréhension de son organisation, soutient Me Gagné. « Comme membre du département juridique, il faut faire preuve de curiosité. Je travaille principalement avec les services d’ingénierie et de TI, donc je dois constamment poser des questions sur le génie, la technologie et l’infrastructure. » La créativité est aussi indispensable. « Si je ne trouve pas de solutions aux obstacles qui se présentent lors de la négociation d’un contrat, les services de production pourraient se retrouver en péril. Les Jeux olympiques et les élections sont les périodes les plus exigeantes à CBC/Radio-Canada et, l’an dernier, avec deux Jeux olympiques en six mois, nous avons dû surmonter de sérieux défis de dernière minute. »

« Mes professeurs à McGill soutenaient que nous devions apprendre à penser au-delà du cadre établi. Quand je dois bâtir un contrat à partir d’une page blanche, je vois de quelle façon cette créativité entre réellement en scène. »

Me Gagné a récemment terminé une négociation de vaste envergure pour l’implantation d’ un réseau interne de télécommunication. « Quand je relis ce contrat, j’y vois quelque chose qui s’apparente à une œuvre d’art », explique-t-elle.

Étudiante, Me Gagné a fait le saut à la Faculté de droit directement en provenance du cégep. « Je savais combien le droit ouvrait des portes, mais j’ignorais où il me mènerait quand j’ai commencé mes études », raconte-t-elle. « J’ai eu l’occasion d’être avocate en entreprise tôt dans ma carrière et j’ai senti que c’était ma place. J’ai fait mon stage en cabinet privé et j’y ai vécu une excellente expérience d’apprentissage, mais je n’y éprouvais pas le même sentiment d’appartenance. » Aujourd’hui, elle s’implique comme mentore à la Faculté par l’entremise du Centre de développement professionnel, et elle encourage les membres de la communauté étudiante à considérer la possibilité d’une carrière en entreprise. « J’encourage sans hésitation les étudiantes et étudiants à faire leur stage en grand cabinet s’ils le peuvent, mais je ne veux pas qu’ils oublient que d’autres voies existent aussi. »

Building a career that reflects your values

After three years of running Lex Integra, her own business providing legal counsel and ethics advisory services to companies, Amee Sandhu, LLB’98, joined Alstom Canada in July as the dedicated project lawyer for Alstom’s scope on the expansion and electrification of Go Transit System, the regional public transit service of the greater Toronto and Hamilton area. In this role, she is involved in day-to-day legal or strategic issues: questions of contract interpretation, contract amendments, components of the contract still to be determined, and so forth. The project – design, build, operate and maintain the new infrastructure and trains for 25 years, a massive, multibillion-dollar undertaking – is estimated to take ten years for the construction period. It involves increasing train services while moving the network from diesel to electric trains, reducing greenhouse gases. “This project reflects my interests and personal values,” she says.

“No two projects are exactly alike, so there’s a recognition that we all might be working in an innovative way. And the more I do this work, the more I liken contracts to storytelling,” she explains.

“The contract should tell the story of what people are trying to accomplish: this is what we’re trying to do, this is why, this is how long it will take, this is the cost, and finally these are the consequences if things are not successful.”

The multi-faceted Sandhu also has expertise in corporate ethics and compliance, developed while working for SNC-Lavalin. The company had bought the assets of Atomic Energy of Canada Inc, her employer at the time, and created Candu Energy in 2011 – just before SNC-Lavalin was hit by corruption scandals. When SNC-Lavalin created an ethics and compliance department in 2013, Sandhu was asked if she would serve as sector compliance officer for global power. “I jumped at the chance because it was new learning that aligned with my personal values and my sense of how businesses should behave.”

Sandhu now shares this expertise with McGill students: she co-taught McGill Law’s first anti-corruption course, a one-week intensive course in Focus Week in February 2022, and is returning in February 2023 to co-teach another intensive course on environmental and social governance law. “There’s an ongoing sense of community among McGill graduates,” she says. “McGill Law provided an intimate, collegial community that people are very proud to be a part of. And that pride continues long after we graduate.”


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Cet article est tiré de la nouvelle édition de Focus Law/Droit, le magazine de la communauté diplômée de la Faculté de droit.

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