01 Jun 2017

Baker McKenzie enters new economy with Legal Collab

Baker McKenzie launches the initiative for multidisciplinary collaboration aimed at addressing pressing issues in the new economy.

Songquan Deng

Baker McKenzie is to launch the Whitespace Legal Collab this June in its Toronto office - a first-of-its-kind hub for multidisciplinary collaboration aimed at addressing pressing issues in the new economy. The Collab will allow for face-to-face collaboration between Baker McKenzie lawyers and leaders in business, government, academia and not-for-profits to address complex global challenges at the intersection of business, law and technology. Many of the collaborations will center on innovations related to data privacy, smart cities, and other data-related challenges in a conducive workspace.

IBM Canada one of the first partners

IBM Canada will be one of the first Whitespace Collab partners along with several business, academic and not-for-profit organizations in the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor, including SAS, University of Toronto iSchool, University of Waterloo Problem Lab, York University's Schulich School of Business (Master of Business Analytics Program) and UN Global Compact Network Canada.

'Innovators need to champion methods'

‘To harness game-changing technologies including artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing, innovators need to champion methods from experience-led design to multidisciplinary problem-solving,’ said Pavel Abdur-Rahman, Associate Partner, IBM Canada. ‘Partnering with Baker McKenzie's Whitespace Collab, IBM is pleased to be a collaboration-minded change agent that discovers new urban data potential at the intersections of business, law, technology and civic space.’

'Proud history'

Paul Rawlinson, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie said: ‘Our Firm has a proud history of developing new and innovative ways to better serve our clients,’. ‘Our Whitespace Legal Collab is part of our Firm's wider efforts to cultivate a new type of thinking when helping our clients develop solutions to complex challenges.’

Part of global innovation program

The Whitespace Collab is part of Baker McKenzie's global innovation program, which aims to address changing client needs, new industry dynamics, and the broader role of digitization across the economy. Earlier this year, the firm formed an Innovation Committee that ensures a firm-wide approach to innovation is incorporated into every aspect of Baker McKenzie's global operations.

'Innovation allows us to work with clients in a way that is fit for their future'

Erik Scheer, who chairs Baker McKenzie’s Innovation Committee and sits on the firm’s Executive Committee added: ‘Innovation allows us to work with clients in a way that is fit for their future. This knowledge only comes when one is truly engaged with business cultures and leadership from around the globe. Collaboration is key and we’re delighted that our Canadian colleagues are playing such an important role to ensure Baker McKenzie is involved wherever the best minds are creating the future of law.’

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