Osler hosts inaugural Associate Innovation Challenge

Nov 7, 2017

Osler is proud to announce the winner of its inaugural firm-wide Associate Innovation Challenge (AIC), which held its concluding phase on October 30, 2017, in conjunction with Ryerson’s Legal innovation Zone. Open to all associates across Osler’s six offices, the challenge underscores Osler’s commitment to innovation and finding new legal solutions that provide the best client value.

The winning proposal was delivered by a team that included Victoria Creighton, Emily Paplawski, Sonja Pavic, Karin Sachar and Evan Thomas. Their pitch focused on using software to streamline various elements of the litigation process. The solution addresses pain points for clients and Osler’s in-house team in litigation matters, and will help to reduce cost and risk for clients. Osler has allocated funds to implement the winning proposal in 2018. Monetary prizes were also given to the winning team and two other finalists.

“Our team felt strongly that there are tremendous client benefits in rethinking existing processes and using technology effectively in litigation,” said Evan, an associate in Osler’s Litigation Practice Group and member of the winning team. “We were pleased that the firm was so supportive of our idea.”

Three teams competed in the challenge finals. The two other finalists also pitched innovative ideas on how technology can be used to streamline legal processes. Team Early Bird, composed of Sam Ip, Heidi Wong and Ryan D’Souza, proposed using existing technology in a new way, which could streamline the initial contract drafting process. Project Raezen, which included team members Shaela Rae and Aljosa Zencanin, proposed leveraging existing technology for a new service. Each team was allowed 12 minutes to present its proposal and was required to answer questions from the judges.

Challenge judges included Doug Bryce, Firm Managing Partner, Chief Executive; Dale Ponder, National Managing Partner, Co-Chair; Shawn Irving, Osler litigation partner and Chair of Osler Works Innovation and Delivery; Colleen Moorehead, Osler’s Chief Client Officer; and Chris Bentley, Managing Director of Ryerson's Legal Innovation Zone. LIZ supported the teams with training regarding their design thinking and pitch delivery.

“We are extremely pleased with the associates’ enthusiastic response to this challenge,” said Mara Nickerson, Osler’s Chief Knowledge Officer, who provided the opening remarks at the event, which was held in Toronto and live-streamed to all of Osler’s offices.

“The breadth of ideas that were put forward, the amount of work the teams put into their proposals and the final three presentations were terrific. The AIC really demonstrated to us the power of engaging our associates and giving them a platform to share their ideas. We hope that we will be able to implement more than the winning pitch.”

The AIC provided an opportunity for Osler associates to develop their own innovative ideas on how the firm could improve the delivery of legal services, add client value, mitigate risk or streamline matter management and other internal processes. Fourteen teams, representing 47 associates from offices in Toronto, Montréal, Calgary and Ottawa, entered the contest, which was held in two phases. Osler partners acted as mentors to associates throughout the challenge.  

For more information on the Associate Innovation Challenge and other Osler innovation initiatives, contact Mara Nickerson, Osler’s Chief Knowledge Officer at mnickerson@osler.com or 416.862.4727.