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.'
Salima joined ZSA in December of 2002. As a Managing Consultant, she focuses on advising and placing associates in law firms and in-house counsel positions in Toronto.
Originally from British Columbia, Salima obtained her law degree from the University of Windsor and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University. She articled in Vancouver and was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1997. Salima’s background as in-house counsel at Intergulf Development Corporation and private practice at Jeffrey & Calder makes her uniquely positioned to assist associates contemplating a career change. In her spare time, Salima likes to cook, workout and spend time with her family.
In-House Senior Legal Counsel | General Mills Canada
I have used ZSA in Toronto for approximately 3.5 years now, as Salima helped me find my previous job, as well as my current position as In-House Senior Legal Counsel for General Mills Canada. I find that both ZSA and Salima are at the top of their game. My experience working with Salima was great! She has always been very helpful, and took the time to understand my needs and interests. She always made herself available, and was pleasant to work with. I never had a problem reaching Salima and I feel she was really invested in helping me find a position. I really feel Salima makes a strong effort to get to know her clients, understands their concerns and needs, and really focuses on helping secure a position that meets the client's criteria. Moreover, Salima understands the market and the legal world, and provides excellent advice. I would highly recommend her to my colleagues and I will definitely use her services again in the future if the need arises. I am completely satisfied with my experience, both with Salima and ZSA.
Assistant General Counsel, Labour and Employment Law | Bell Canada
Bell Canada was looking for Senior Counsel. We contacted ZSA as a result of our long standing relationship. Overall, our experience in working with Salima Alibhai was great. Salima really understood what type of person I was and what type of candidate I was looking for. She was able to submit excellent candidates. She brought a lot of value to the hiring process in several ways. I am not from Ontario so I could never have find any candidate. In addition, I found that Salima provided great information on the candidates before the interviews and she was extremely helpful in arranging for the interviews. I have only used ZSA in the past, and will continue to use ZSA for years to come.
The nature of the position for which we were hiring was assistant general counsel. Before contacting ZSA, we had it posted ads on different internal company websites, Workopolis, and 3 or 4 large law firm for referrals with our network and with no luck. A colleague told us about ZSA and we clicked on Salima’s name. Our experience in working with Salima was fantastic! She was extremely collaborative, communicative, and the turn-around response was great between her and her assistant Cynthia. The fact is that search consultants make a big difference as they speak the same language and know what the profession is, and what it looks like in different industries. There is a better understanding of what the requirements are and a good knowledge of the field of industry and what the employment industry looks like for attorneys. Salima also provided good insight into the compensation as well. If I had to hire another attorney I would come back to ZSA. I used a different firm two years ago to fill the same role, and, although they were good a good firm, I would have rather used ZSA. I would absolutely use the services of ZSA again, and would definitely recommend them to all my HR friends.
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.