Leigh Anne Dunn

Senior Legal Counsel

Degree:

Common Law

Language:

English

Experience:

Since: 2001

Expertise:

Compliance and governance

Corporate

General Commercial

Regulatory

Tax

Practices in:

British Columbia

Leigh Anne Dunn

Senior Legal Counsel

Who she is

“Listening carefully is essential” says Leigh Anne Dunn. “Every business is different. It is important to understand what a business is now and what it wants to be.”

And the benefits are real. “Understanding the culture, goals and risk landscape of a business allows for a legal contribution beyond the narrow legal questions. Legal input should support business goals, not distract from them” she says.

This is what makes Leigh Anne an effective communicator. She is adept at identifying key legal risks and she understands the importance of an approach that aligns with each unique business.

Leigh Anne honed her skills in the investment industry, working on transactions, regulatory/compliance matters and corporate secretarial and governance matters. She believes in the important role of governance for private businesses. “Governance clarifies, for everyone involved, the processes of interaction and decision-making. It sets out the distribution of responsibilities and allows for decision-making with the right inputs so that there can be fast and high-quality output.”

Collaborative and a listener by nature, Leigh Anne’s strength is to give practical and tailored legal advice that never loses sight of the business purpose and strategy. “Legal support should feel like just that – supportive. COVID-19 forced many businesses into crisis mode. More than ever, in-house legal can support the foundation of a business with attention to contracts, transactions, and governance processes that facilitate high-quality decision making, including in times of crisis”.

In her spare time, Leigh Anne likes to make the most of Vancouver and spend her time outdoors, running, hiking and biking.

How she got here

After graduating from McGill University and completing her law degree at Dalhousie University, Leigh Anne articled and started her law practice at Davies, Ward, Phillips and Vineberg LLP (then Davies, Ward & Beck LLP). She went on to specialize in tax law for several years at Thorsteinssons LLP. In 2002, she moved in-house, first in the hospitality industry with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, and later at Fairfax Financial. At Fairfax Leigh Anne developed an expertise in M&A and in regulatory/compliance matters and governance. In 2013, she moved to Victoria to join a private family office, where she continues advising on governance, investments and general corporate/commercial matters. She became Senior Legal Counsel at Simplex Legal in 2021.

Interview with Leigh Anne Dunn

Why join Simplex?

The Simplex niche offers a hands-on, real-life approach to law – and this holds true from the perspective of both the client and the lawyer. Clients have cost-efficient legal support that is ever-mindful of the purpose and risk tolerance of a business. Simplex lawyers have access to a valuable internal team of colleagues with extensive knowledge and experience in an environment that is collaborative and flexible.

What do you especially enjoy about in-house practice?

I have been fortunate to work in-house with incredible people and businesses. I find it rewarding to bring support to organizations in a way that protects them from a legal perspective and that aligns with their unique needs and culture. There are increasingly complex demands on corporations from stakeholders such as shareholders, employees, directors, customers, suppliers and regulators. An in-house perspective can help businesses to understand and balance these complex and sometimes competing demands, and it is greatly fulfilling to help a business navigate the issues.

Leigh Anne would love to hear from you