“When you grow up in a family where your father comes from a German-speaking Mennonite background and your mother comes from a French-speaking Catholic background, you tend to see different perspectives on life,” says Trevor Wiebe about his self-described “Prairie Boy” upbringing. It’s that kind of exposure to different ways of thinking that has made Trevor a versatile and creative lawyer capable of coming up with surprising and novel solutions to his clients’ legal and business challenges.
Trained as a corporate and commercial lawyer with a focus on technology and IP, Trevor has been involved in a wide variety of legal and business matters, in large companies and venture-backed companies. He was part of an executive team that helped drive a small IT security company to one of the fastest growing TSX Venture Exchange-listed companies in Canada. Fearless as he is, Trevor’s strengths lie in negotiation and strategy-based legal advice.
The key to Trevor’s success has been the deep personal investment he brings to the table when helping all of his clients. His somewhat offbeat sense of humour also makes him a vital fixture in any work environment. To Trevor, life and work are all about values and culture. “I just like to help people and see them succeed,” he says.
Trevor went into practice after graduating from the University of Manitoba with Pitblado LLP, a highly regarded, top-tier Winnipeg law firm. There he specialized in corporate and commercial law, before moving to Ottawa to become a trade diplomat at what is now called Global Affairs Canada. While earning an LL.M. at Ottawa University, he practised international trade and commercial law and was posted to the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo as a trade and commercial officer representing Canada’s high technology, military and aerospace industries.
After five years working in government, Trevor decided to return to private practice with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Vancouver. Starting in 1999, he was working extensively as external counsel with Pivotal Corporation, before moving in-house in 2001, first as Senior Legal Counsel and later as General Counsel. In 2005, Trevor embarked on a new adventure, helping guide Absolute Software Corporation through dramatically rapid growth. He has since helped growing companies achieve their market goals in the tech and renewable energy sectors. “I always liked the fast pace of tech,” he says, “as well as the really interesting people in that sector”.
Now as Senior Legal Counsel at Simplex Legal, Trevor brings his many talents and in-house legal expertise to the firm’s clients.
It is obvious to me that Simplex’s model facilitates the best interaction between lawyers and their clients. The model takes the best of the various legal practice environments by (a) using a team approach that is not bound by any downtown or government “edifice complex”, (b) having seasoned, intelligent and caring legal and business experts, (c) using technology in leading-edge but appropriate ways, and (d) working with clients to reach their goals in the most cost-effective way. The Simplex model allows me to focus on what is most important to me, which is devoting my time to the work that best helps my clients’ business objectives.
I have always loved the “rough and tumble” of working as a lawyer directly with business people, and love the feeling of being part of a team that has facilitated business. Legal professionals who have little contact with the day-to-day business of their clients may run the risk of delivering advice that is too abstract, or too “ivory tower”. The best in-house lawyers, in my opinion, are those who possess a very healthy competitive drive, while always focusing on the value that their legal training and experience can bring to bear, particularly as regards risk mitigation. The worst ones are those who reject the acceptance of risk completely – they should not be working with business clients! The in-house model creates a balance that I feel fits my personality, experience and values perfectly.
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