CBA National: What role do you expect to be playing at Bennett Jones?
JM: Quite frankly, my value to the firm is not what I learned in law school many years ago, but what I've learned about business since then in government. So I'm not going to do traditional legal work. But I do expect to be giving advice on the broader public policy environment, on how clients need to find their way through the sometimes difficult-to-navigate waters of public policy.
N: What is it that smart people in the business world don’t understand about how government policy works?
JM: Most business leaders come from a finance background, or perhaps an engineering background—often they have MBAs. They’re very linear thinkers, and that’s a great skill when you’re leading a big organization. But politics is non-linear. It is always full of twists and turns, and things on their surface don’t always make obvious sense. That’s why you often hear people say, “Why don’t they run the government like a business?” Well, because the government isn't a business. And the number of stakeholders that you have to contend with in government has always been quite a bit larger than the number that corporate leaders have to contend with. Now, that’s beginning to change. Businesses are realizing that they have more stakeholders than just their shareholders and their regulators. They also have to contend with a broader public environment in which reputations are made or destroyed because of corporate missteps.
The full conversation is available here.