Skip To Content

2020 Legal Year in Review – Introduction

Author(s): Jacqueline Code, James R. Brown

Dec 8, 2020

Without a doubt, 2020 has been a year like no other. Inevitably, the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects is a theme that flows through many of the articles in our seventh annual Legal Year in Review publication. At the same time,  the business of our clients and the laws that regulate those businesses have evolved in ways that are unrelated to the pandemic and despite the pandemic. In some cases, the challenges presented by COVID-19 have accelerated changes that were already in process, creating benefits or opportunities that may extend well beyond the pandemic. We are pleased to offer our consolidated views of the most important legal and business developments from the past year.

2020 has highlighted a clear and unfortunate dichotomy in our economy. The economic overview by Stephen Poloz, our esteemed Special Advisor and the former Governor of the Bank of Canada, speaks of the “K-shaped” recovery. The top branch of the “K” represents those parts of the economy that experienced declines in the early days or weeks of the first lockdowns, but are rebounding or have already rebounded. This group includes intellectual capital businesses that have remained largely unscathed throughout the pandemic, often due to their capacity to transition to remote work or service delivery environments. While parts of this economy could experience a “double dip” as the second wave of the virus leads to new lockdowns and restrictions, it is resilient and will undoubtedly recover. At the other end of the economic spectrum are those businesses that fall within the lower branch of the “K” – retail, restaurants, bars, airlines, hotels and other businesses that require “in-person” interactions. These businesses may be irreparably damaged. In many ways, this economic overview forms the backdrop to many of the developments discussed by our authors...