I Heart Canada

How do I love Canada? Let me count the ways:

  • It was a Canadian organization—Osgoode Professional Developement—that asked me to do my first public seminar.
    Attendance at my seminars in the U.S. with West Legalworks can fluctuate wildly, but my Osgoode seminars in Toronto sell out. (The next one is on June 16.) And last week 60 people attended my first Vancouver seminar with Osgoode.
  • Every constituency is well represented at my Osgoode seminars—law-firm lawyers, in-house lawyers, paralegals, government lawyers, contract administrators …. By contrast, law-firm lawyers are sometimes scarce at my U.S. public seminars.
  • I’ve done more in-house seminars for Canadian law firms than for U.S. law firms. And invariably both junior and senior lawyers attend. At my seminars at U.S. law firms, often only junior lawyers are present; that poses an obvious problem.
  • Recently, before giving a half-day seminar at a Canadian law firm, I was treated to lunch by three friendly and gracious partners, and I thoroughly enjoyed the contracts shop-talk.
  • When I gave an all-day seminar at a major Canadian company, the general counsel attended. For the entire day.
  • My recent interview with the Canadian periodical The Lawyers Weekly is the best press I’ve had.
  • In September I’ll be giving my first presentation to a trade group. A Canadian one, of course.

This poses the obvious question: what accounts for the warm reception I’ve received in Canada? I have some vague ideas, but I’d welcome your suggestions, dear reader.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

4 thoughts on “I Heart Canada”

  1. Ken,

    There is a warm side to our neighbors to the north, together with an innate sense of the practical. All of my friends who hail from Canada demonstrate these qualities, together with an abiding love for hockey. Bit of a dichotomy, eh?

    One of my favorite examples of Canadian-ness was an interview conducted on sports radio in San Francisco with Joe Thornton (from London, Ontario). When asked by the interviewer why he had signed a contract extension for less money than he would command on the open market, Joe replied (paraphrasing) that if he took all that money, the team wouldn’t have enough cash to put good players around him. The interviewer was speechless. The rest of us (Canada-philes all) just smiled.

    Honest, humble, genuine, well-grounded, practical. Qualities I wish more of my American legal brethren would demonstrate. Ken, MSCD and your common-sense drafting guidelines emphasize a straight-forward approach to the task. It’s no accident that you are warmly received among people who share a similar outlook on life.

  2. Dear Mr. Adams,

    I am an intellectual property lawyer in Canada. It has been my experience that the vast majority of lawyers in Canada are genuinely interested in improving their skills – more so than protecting their own egos.

    I would have to say this is true for the intellectual property bar in the United States as well, as far as I have observed. Has this been your experience?

    I also think that many of our Canadian law schools, and the provincial bar associations, have a practical view of the law, in addition to the more lofty academic views. I think that this outlook is passed along to the lawyers that go through those systems. Of course, there is always an ongoing debate about the balance between these two views.

    I am in my 8th year of practice, and, to use myself as an example, I assume that I always have more to learn. I am not too proud to adopt a better way of doing something, regardless of the source. My colleagues, both in Canada and within the U.S. intellectual property bar, generally seem to take the same view.

    I recently requested that our library order a copy of your book, as there are very few similar practical resources in Canada (believe me I have looked!). This also may be a reason you have had such success here!

    Best of luck, and please keep writing!

    -Sharon Griffin

    MBM Intellectual Property Law
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


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