ZSA is proud to feature the 8 Questions Series interviewing prominent lawyers in Canada, aimed at discussing interesting perspectives and the challenges that face those in the legal profession. These articles, entitled “8 Questions With…” will be published on our website www.zsa.ca and in the ZSA Daily Digest, a daily compilation of legal news circulated by email to more than 1,500 legal professionals across Canada.
Emily Lee, Partner, ZSA Legal Recruitment, interviews Maura Lendon, Senior Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer, HudBay Minerals, Inc
1. Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
For a variety of reasons, really. I didn’t start my legal education convinced I would pursue a career as a lawyer. I was doing an MBA at the same time and I did consider going into a purely business role. A number of lawyers I respected said that they were never bored in their practice and I liked the idea of a career where I might constantly do and learn new things, as well as one where I might draw on both my legal and business training. I enjoyed the corporate matters that I was involved in during my early experiences working in a law firm, from summers through articling, so I followed it through.
2. What is the biggest professional challenge that you have faced during your career?
In early 2009, there were a number of challenges that HudBay was facing associated with its attempt to acquire Lundin. In addition to the transaction itself, there were various legal proceedings unfolding at the same time. Every day brought a new twist or turn, and in many ways it was as fascinating as it was challenging.
3. If you could change one thing about the practice of law, what would it be?
I think it would be great to have a better way to value work than simply according to time spent. That’s easier said than done. For example, how does a corporate lawyer quantify the value of problems ‘avoided’ through excellent counsel? Some clients may value actual problems solved more highly simply because they felt the pain of that problem, or even its actual cost, whereas they won’t know this for an issue they never had to confront. More generally, I find that law is not an instrument of truth and justice but more of a political vehicle, and people who go into it with an idealized view may ultimately find that it can be a very blunt instrument for justice.
4. What advice would you give to someone starting his/her career in law?
Law is tremendously broad. I would tell someone starting out to find an area you are interested in and be flexible and open to opportunities. I myself never thought of mining as an industry I would work in but I truly love it. It fit what I was looking for at the time and was a great decision for me. Mining is essential to everything we do, and it’s the character of the people in the industry that I enjoy most – very down to earth and community-oriented. The industry is not particularly good at promoting itself but in my experience, it has a real commitment to social responsibility with which I’m proud to be associated.
5. What was the last good book you read/movie you saw?
The movie that I saw this past year that was absolutely terrific was “The Secret in Their Eyes” directed by Juan José Campanella. It is an Argentinean film that played in the smaller theatres in Toronto and I found the story, the acting and the directing were well-told, well-acted and well-shot. Unfortunately, I don’t do as much recreational reading as I’d like because I read so much professionally.
6. What is your favorite restaurant?
Globe Bistro at 124 Danforth Avenue and its sister, Earth, at 1055 Yonge Street are places I like to go for a nice evening, an excellent meal and fine service.
7. Where would you most like to travel?
I have grand plans to take a trip from the Galapagos to the Antarctic and see some fascinating animals and icebergs, and enjoy some great wineries and scenery along the way.
8. If you were not a lawyer, what would you be doing?
I don’t have a solid ‘Plan B’ simply because I enjoy what I’m doing as a lawyer. As I said, law is a broad field, and I think there are certainly many other interesting options within law. Having said that, I believe my skills and what I have learned are very portable to other roles and organizations, particularly the governance principles, management skills and other expertise that I have gained. I find working with public boards, charitable boards and committees very satisfying, and I think I would be more involved in that type of work if I were not where I am now. With that in mind, I am currently doing the Rotman Directors Education Program.
H. Maura Lendon is Senior Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer for HudBay Minerals, Inc. (TSX:HBM, NYSE:HBM), a Canadian integrated mining company with assets in North and Central America principally focused on the discovery, production and marketing of metals. She is also HudBay’s Corporate Secretary.
Maura has extensive experience with international business, regulatory compliance, corporate governance, executive compensation and advocacy. She has also served as a director on not-for-profit organizations benefitting children and the environment. Before joining HudBay, Maura was Chief Counsel – Canada for AT&T.