Thomas: Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to David Cohen a partner here at Gowling WLG and the leader of the financial institution and services group in Canada. Welcome David.
David: Hi Thomas and thank you for having me.
Thomas: David tell us about your background in your journey that shaped your career becoming the leader of the financial institutions and services group at Gowling WLG.
David: It's a 30-year career and it is 30 years at the same firm or a successor of the same firm so I've always worked at Gowling WLG or one of its predecessor firms what shaped my career was the recession of 1989, 1991-92 I graduated from law school and articled when the economy was going through a very difficult time uh it was a significant recession and I sort of fell into the practice of restructuring and insolvency and found out that that was really consistent with my own uh skill set but what really caught my attention was the human interaction the interpersonal interaction in the restructuring insolvency practice gave me the opportunity to hone negotiation skills hone interpersonal skills to be tough when I needed to be tough to be empathetic when that was what was going to solve the problem I like helping uh our clients I like solving problems I like saving jobs.
Thomas: How would you describe your approach to clients David and how has it changed over your 30 years of practice.
David: There is definitely a change in my approach in 30 years. You start out your career trying to learn your trade to understand the technical aspects of it and hone the technical skills, understand the law, understand the legislation, understand the contract law and understand the dynamics in your sector. Over time you begin to understand that it's all about people and it's all about knowing who's across the table from you. Understanding their position clearly and trying to create a solution where it's possible. that is win-win. My goal is to become a trusted advisor.
Thomas: What trends do you think will shape the legal industry in the coming years?
David: The continuing trend for financial services is the bifurcation of the product offering that law firms give to major financial institutions and smaller financial institutions and quasi-institutional clients and that bifurcation is between commoditized work and trusted advisor work and I believe that that bifurcation will continue and will get amplified there will be increased demands for efficiency placed on us by our clients without any compromise of the quality of the work or the speed with which it is presented the only way that we are going to be able to do that is to be technologically advanced and continue to grow that practice in addition to that there is a second branch of work which is the trusted advisor branch and with that branch you have to grow and nurture relationships you have to invest time with clients and we do that we spend time to get to know our clients personally we spend time to get to know their business we spend time to get to know and understand who their targets are who their customers are and your role as a trusted advisor.
Thomas: How does Gowling WLG's national and international presence help you in servicing your clients?
David: The pandemic has shown the fragility of the global supply chain it is going to be exceedingly important for our clients to audit their global supply chain and where they sit in it whether a customer or a supplier they're going to have to know that they've got the right kind of contracts in the right jurisdictions with the right protections to ensure continuity of supply so having a strong relationship with a law firm that has its feet in those jurisdictions is an asset to de-risking your supply chain Gowling WLG has that network of lawyers.
Thomas: Thanks David I appreciate your insights today this has been a pleasure.
David: Thank you.