Christopher established ZSA (Zarak, Sweeney & Associates) Legal Recruitment, now Canada’s largest and only national legal recruitment firm, in 1997. ZSA also controls ZSA-X, a boutique financial services recruitment firm; LexLocom, a contract legal services firm; and ZSA Accounting. In addition to being CEO of ZSA, Christopher also exclusively recruits Partners and General Counsel.
Born in Montreal, Christopher attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from McGill University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. Called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1990, Christopher briefly practised in Vancouver before moving to London, England. There he secured a Graduate Business Degree from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a Masters in British Imperial History from London University. Christopher practised law in London before becoming a legal recruiter with QD (Quarry Dougall), then the pre-eminent global legal recruitment firm based in London.
Christopher founded both the Canadian (CGCA) and Quebec General Counsel Awards (PCJQ) to bring deserved attention to the senior in-house legal community. Christopher has written and spoken widely on the topic of legal recruitment, firm development and career strategy.
Christopher has a passion for history and in 2002 initiated the “Re-Trial of Louis Riel”, a nationally-televised mock trial featuring, amongst others, Eddie Greenspan, Alan Lenczner, and Guy Bertrand. Christopher is a Board Member of the Vimy Foundation, a charity dedicated toward ensuring Canadians remember and honour their First World War efforts and sacrifice. With the Vimy Foundation he initiated the Vimy Pin campaign, whose goal it is to have all Canadians wear a memorial pin each April 9, and the Vimy Ridge Pilgrimage Medal campaign dedicated to saluting Canadians who visit the Vimy Memorial in France. In 2010, Christopher was awarded the Minister of Veteran’s Affairs Commendation for his efforts in raising awareness for the accomplishments of Canada’s Veterans and in 2012 Christopher was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Christopher is also a Board Member of the Shakespeare Globe Company of Canada, on the Advisory Committee of the Cundill Prize for History at McGill University, and is an active member of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) and the Albany Club. Christopher is married with three children, enjoys travelling; skiing; spending time at his cottage in the Laurentians; the “Habs”; history; politics; and wine.
President & CEO | Virgin Mobile Canada
'I was extremely impressed with the quality and speed of service we received from ZSA in assisting our search for our V.P. General Counsel position. Warren Bongard and Christopher Sweeney were quick to understand and access our needs and culture. They presented us an excellent pool of accomplished, top quality candidates from which to choose. They were prompt, responsive and highly professional. They added significant value to our search efforts. I would highly recommend the services of ZSA to any firm or company looking to attract high quality legal talent.'
'Throughout our seven-year history with ZSA, they have proven a valuable partner time and again. In particular, I am pleased with the excellent service we receive from Warren Bongard, Christopher Sweeney and others at ZSA. Their dedication to our relationship is impressive, their knowledge of the Canadian legal scene is excellent and the candidates they bring match what we are looking for. I highly recommend ZSA.'
Dominique joined ZSA in November of 2005. As Managing Director of the Montreal office, Dominique assists both employers in finding their ideal candidate and lawyers in finding the position that best suits their interests and background. Over the years, Dominique has filled positions at all levels, ranging from experienced partners, associates, general counsel, legal counsel and law firm management positions. Dominique’s clientele include boutique and national law firms, as well as major corporations, small/medium businesses and financial institutions.
Originally from Quebec City, Dominique obtained her Bachelor of Law degree, and graduated from the Dean’s list, from Laval University. Furthermore, she completed a graduate diploma with distinction in administration from Concordia University. Called to the Quebec Bar in 2001, Dominique articled and practiced commercial litigation at Robinson Sheppard Shapiro. She continues to be active in the community by attending various corporate events, speaking at conferences and writing articles about the legal community and the employment market. She also is an active member of the Quebec Bar and serves as a committee member of the Montreal Young Bar Association’s professional development committee. In her spare time, Dominique enjoys travelling and reading.
At the time: Vice President, General counsel & Secretary | Tembec
ZSA has been a strategic partner in helping Tembec build its legal department. Dominique Tardif and her team did an excellent job in selecting potential candidates for the positions we were looking to fill. Their initial efforts with respect to interviewing candidates and summarizing their strengths allowed us to focus on a handful of candidates saving us countless hours in the interview process. We have been very satisfied with the individuals we have hired through ZSA and continue to work with them to fill internal legal positions. They are an indispensable tool in the legal recruitment process.
Formerly Senior Legal Counsel | Praxair Canada, Inc.
I cannot find proper words to explain the professionalism of Dominique Tardif. I believe it is something innate to her. Wherever and in whatever capacity she works, her diligent and serious professionalism will shine. She understood my distress and urgency of my job search. At the same time, she were able to keep me well grounded and did not encourage me to accept any offer just because I wanted a job. She helped me find a position fit with my experience, skills and needs. She also made sure that the corporate culture of the employer answered my expectations. In short, she did not even try to squeeze me into a shape that would please an employer.
I believe working with ZSA means working with the “Cadillac” of legal head-hunters. ZSA obtains exclusive search mandates from multinationals that offer exciting legal work and comfortable remuneration to experienced lawyers.
Chief Canadian Counsel | AmerisourceBergen
Dominique changed my view of what a legal recruiter is like. I have used her expertise both as a client and a candidate, and have in each case been very satisfied with the results. She cares about fit, and presented only quality matches. In terms of communication and managing the recuirtment process, Dominique was always responsive by phone and email, personable, and insightful in her professional advice.
When my company was looking to hire an in-house legal counsel at our ski resort in Quebec, a newly created role, ZSA immediately came to mind as the search firm of choice for us to partner with for this hire. Dominique led this search effort and was excellent to work with from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed all of my interactions with Dominique over the three months we worked together and found her to be one of the strongest recruiters I have worked with over my 14 years in HR. As a lawyer herself, she really understood what we were looking for and sought to understand the needs of our business so she could create the best possible match. She provided us with high calibre candidates and we were very pleased with our final selection. I would work with Dominique again in the future and strongly recommend her or her office should you be in the market for legal recruiters.
J Liz Freedman
Formerly Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.
During my lengthy job search I had the occasion to work with various legal recruiters (hired by potential employers) and Dominique was by far the most organized, resourceful, helpful and caring recruiter I came across. Dominique has sound judgment, excellent instincts and innate people skills, and even though she was often retained by the employer, I always felt as though she had my interests at heart and was genuinely seeking to make the right connection and ensure a good fit for all parties. She was always available to me, did thorough follow-up and gave expert advice - Dominique's pre-interview notes and preparation are invaluable! Dominique shines among the legal recruiters in the city and I was delighted that, after all her patience and hard work with me, she was the one who was able to secure my new position for me. I would highly recommend her work.
Marie-Helene joined ZSA in 2012. As a Consultant for Legal Services, she focuses on the recruitment of legal professionals at law firms and in-house legal departments in Montreal.
Prior to completing her law career, Marie-Helene worked in the field of aviation as dispatch, flight management and station manager for different airline companies. She was called to the Quebec Bar in 2007 and obtained her law degree in 2006 from Laval University. She then practiced civil and commercial litigation as well as securities and corporate law in two Montreal based law boutiques. She remains active in the legal community by attending conferences, networking events and seminars. In her spare time, Marie-Helene enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with her family.
Raphaëlle joined ZSA in 2013. As a consultant in Legal Services, she focuses on the recruitment of legal professionals at law firms and in-house legal departments in Montreal.
Raphaëlle obtained her law degree in 2008 from the University of Montreal and was called to the Quebec Bar in 2009. While completing her law degree, she attended summer school at China University of Political Sciences and Law in Beijing and worked at Menard, Martin avocats, a firm specialized in medical malpractice. After completing bar school, she practiced civil and administrative law at the office of Quebec’s General Attorney. She is also currently completing a superior degree in Bioethics at the University of Montreal. Raphaëlle remains active in the legal community by attending conferences, networking events and seminars. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, jogging and cooking.
Dan Malamet National Director of Programming and Events
Dan joined ZSA in 2006 after previous marketing and business development positions at Baker & McKenzie; the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association; Canada Basketball and Nike Canada. As the Director of Programming and Events at ZSA, he focuses on the creation and execution of events that bring the Canadian legal community together. Examples include the ZSA series of General Counsel Award programmes including the Canadian GC Awards; the Quebec GC Awards and the Western Canada GC Awards. He also was the co founder of the Quorum Club, an invitation only event for General Counsel now in its 14th year in Canada. In addition to those programmes Dan helps co-ordinate ZSA events with the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) as well as breakfast briefings with Canadian law firms and lawyers from both the private bar and in-house bar.
Dan obtained his law degree from Osgoode Hall law School and a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Toronto. He was privileged to article with Mr Justice Sopinka at Stikeman Elliot Robarts and Bowman (as it then was) and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1980. In his spare time, Dan enjoys traveling on a global basis and following the fortunes of the Raptors and the Blue Jays.
W. David Jamieson | 2011 CGCA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Executive Vice President and Corporate Secretary J. D. Irving, Limited
Dan, Many thanks for all your assistance with the Canadian General Counsel Awards. You were there with support from the very first announcement through the evening and the event at the Four seasons Hotel and all proceeded smoothly. Your particular advice and direction to me was most useful and timely and is very much appreciated. The Monday night event was very impressive. It was definitely a first class operation. The whole event was professionally done, well thought out and planned, and the program and the presentations were excellent. I am greatly honored to have received the Lifetime Achievement award. The tribute video preceding my award was well done. I hope that my acceptance remarks were fitting and apropos for the award and the event. Again, thanks for your guidance and assistance.
Robert Soccio | 2011 CGCA Tomorrow’s Leader Finalist
General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Compliance Officer ArcelorMittal Dofasco
I would like to thank you for hosting the Canadian General Counsel Awards ceremony earlier this week. It was a fantastic event and everyone I had a chance to speak with thoroughly enjoyed themselves. As one of the award winners said, as general counsel we do not have many opportunities to interact with our colleagues at other companies and so I think that we all truly appreciate the opportunity you gave us to meet with the other leaders in the legal profession – I must say that to hear from David Jamieson was truly inspirational. The entire event was well organized and professional, qualities that I have come to expect from ZSA in our professional dealings and I cannot say enough about your Susan Kennedy and the support that she has given me over the years, especially with respect to rebuilding the ArcelorMittal Dofasco legal department. Again, the entire event from nomination process, to the promotional aspects, to the reception, and to the actually awards event was professionally organized and flawless in execution, which speaks to the talent of the ZSA team, and the caliber of the nominees and the other guests in attendance made it clear that this was the pre-eminent awards ceremony for general counsel in Canada – I am very pleased to have been a part of this very special event.