First-of-its-kind hub aims to address pressing issues in new economy

paul rawlinson cutting ribbon  Theo Ling at Collab

The Whitespace Legal Collab, housed on the 27th floor of Baker McKenzie's office at 181 Bay Street, will allow for face-to-face collaboration between Baker McKenzie attorneys 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.

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.
Paul Rawlinson, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie

The 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.

"Today is an exciting development for Baker McKenzie and for Toronto," said Kevin Coon, Managing Partner for Canada. "The Collab is one example of how we are working to create environments across all of our offices around the world that allow for fresh ideas, and where we can challenge and improve established ways of doing work."


Driving change through innovation

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.

"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."

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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