“Skills You Don’t Learn in Law School” Lunch with James O’Sullivan [Oct 25.19]

Centre News

“Skills You Don’t Learn in Law School” Lunch with James O’Sullivan, 2018 Hennick Medal for Career Achievement Recipient

By: Alexis Choi, JD’2020, Hennick Fellow, Programs & Special Projects


The “Skills You Don’t Learn in Law School” lunch on October 25th, 2019 provided a special opportunity for 10 Osgoode Hall Law School students to have a candid discussion about professional and leadership development. The lunch was hosted by James O’Sullivan (LLB/MBA ’90), the 2018 Hennick Medal for Career Achievement recipient. The Hennick Medal for Career Achievement is awarded to a business and law graduate, who has earned international recognition within the business and legal communities.

James O’Sullivan is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business and has been with Scotiabank since 1990. During his tenure, he held senior leadership roles in Investment Banking, Mergers and Acquisitions, Financial and Asset Management, Global Wealth  Management, and Canadian Banking. Most recently, he served as a Strategic Advisor to the President and the CEO. He is also a past Chair of the Board of Directors at Humber River Hospital and current board member of Soulpepper, Toronto’s largest not-for-profit theatre company.

The event was joined by Mary Condon, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, Edward Waitzer, Co-Director of the JD/MBA Program (Osgoode Hall Law School), and Pamela Warren, Partner of Egon Zehnder. The attendees spoke about the importance of developing soft skills in addition to the technical proficiency obtained during law school. The speakers shared that a positive attitude and a sense of curiosity are crucial in building a successful career. The students were reminded that competence must be coupled with hard work and great judgement. Being curious about not only those within your organization and field, but also those in other disciplines lead to a greater understanding of effective and innovative collaborations. The speakers also emphasized that taking risks, being self-aware, and being open to new opportunities are fundamental in making important career-related decisions.

The “Skills You Don’t Learn in Law School” lunch provided a valuable opportunity for students to reflect on how they can better develop their leadership skills beyond law school. The participating students were generously gifted with “Winning from Within: A Breakthrough Method for Leading, Living, and Lasting Change” by Erica Ariel Fox, to assist them with charting out their professional journeys. The event offered different perspectives from various industry leaders, which highlighted the diverse career trajectories available with a law degree and a multi-disciplinary program like the joint JD/MBA program.