8 Questions… with Simon McGrath

8 Questions… with Simon McGrath

14 May, 2014

Emily Lee, Partner, ZSA Legal Recruitment, interviews Simon McGrath, Senior Director, Legal Affairs at Live Nation Global Touring
1. Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
Being a lawyer is something I always thought I would do.  My father and my grandfather had a law firm in London, Ontario.  As a teenager I remember visiting their office, answering the phones, and watching my dad in court on his criminal cases.  While I was drawn to the law, I selected a different legal path, corporate instead of criminal law.
2. What is the biggest professional challenge you have faced during your career?
As a young associate, I remember large transactions on tight timelines being very challenging.  Later in my career, making the shift from a corporate securities practice at Goodmans LLP to an in-house role with Live Nation was challenging because I had to learn an entirely new business: concert promotion.  Learning about that business, including the new practices and terminology, while also trying to do a great job and impress my new employer was definitely a challenge.
3. If you could change one thing about the practice of law, what would it be?
I believe we need to create better general practices around technology, which can often be a double-edged sword.  On one hand, technology has made the practice of law so much easier; I can’t imagine negotiating agreements or working on a large transaction before the days of fax or email.  On the other hand, technology affects one’s ability to have balance in their life by creating 24/7 accessibility, especially for young lawyers.  I’ve read about Arianna Huffington and the cut-off time for email at her company.  While I don’t think that’s feasible for lawyers, I would sometimes like to see a stronger general awareness of the time and demands on others.  If it’s 9pm at night and I don’t need something done right away, I would prefer to wait until the morning to send the email.
4. What advice would you give to someone starting his/her career in law? 
My advice is to learn as much as you can about the practice of law because it is quite different from law school.  Set up meetings with lawyers to discuss their areas of practice and shadow lawyers of different practice areas to get a sense of their day-to-day work.  Once you have selected your practice area, work hard.  Be proud of the work you are putting out.  Sometimes in the interest of expediency, we miss things.  I think it is extremely important to double- and triple-check your work; it can make an enormous difference.
5.  What was the last good book you read/movie you saw?
I just watched a wonderful documentary on Netflix called “The Short Game” about the World Championships of Junior Golf.  While also having a lot of humour, it was an inspiring story that also shows the darker side of junior athletes and their parents.  It is an amazing film and I highly recommend anyone watch it, golf fan or not. 
It has been a while since I read a good book, but I really enjoyed “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson.  It is about Germany’s transformation leading up to World War II and tells the story of the American Ambassador to Germany and his daughter.  It is a remarkable read but very sad as well.
6. What is your favourite restaurant?
I finally went to Bar Isabel [797 College Street] and it was amazing!  All of the dishes are excellent but the one that stood out the most for me was the buttermilk fried chicken – it was simply unreal.
7. Where would you most like to travel?
I go to British Columbia every year to ski – that’s what I enjoy doing with my travel time.  I would love to ski the French Alps and Jackson Hole (Wyoming) someday.
8. If you were not a lawyer, what would you be doing?
I have always been jealous of people who have a physical work product.  I love the law, but no matter how hard you work, there is always another pile of work on your desk.  While I have no skills in these areas, I think it would be amazing to be a craftsman or a builder and have a finished, tangible product once the job is completed.

Simon McGrath is the Senior Director of Legal Affairs at Live Nation Global Touring, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., the world’s largest concert promoter.  Simon’s practice at Live Nation includes contract review and negotiation in connection with all facets of the production and promotion of live music tours, including talent, sponsorship, employment, insurance and intellectual property matters.  Simon has worked on tours by premiere artists including the Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, The Police and Neil Young, among others.
Prior to joining Live Nation in 2007, Simon worked as a corporate/securities associate at Goodmans, LLP.
Simon holds an LL.B. from the University of Western Ontario and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2003.

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