How this general counsel learned to see the big picture

After Aleksandra Zivanovic completed the Osgoode Professional LLM, she was a more methodical litigator
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Portrait of Aleksandra Zivanovic

Aleksandra Zivanovic

Associate general counsel at SGI Canada
Osgoode LLM: Civil litigation, 2014
Year of call: 2003

In 2010, Aleksandra Zivanovic wanted to sharpen her legal skills. It’s not that she was a bad lawyer. To the contrary, she was a talented litigator at a mid-sized insurance defence firm. Over the course of her career, which was nearly a decade long, she had racked up plenty of positive outcomes.

But Zivanovic wanted to deepen her knowledge of legal theory. “I wasn’t getting that experience at work,” she says. “I needed to find another way to advance my skills.”

Zivanovic decided to enroll in the civil-litigation specialization of the Osgoode Professional LLM, a rigorous graduate program that she could complete on a part-time basis. The coursework was practical, and it included an invaluable session on trial planning.

“In litigation, there’s a tendency to look for an immediate solution to every problem,” says Zivanovic. “But it’s better to slow down and think through how each new problem affects the case as a whole. The program helped me understand that fact.”

Today, Zivanovic is the associate general counsel of SGI Canada, where she oversees the insurance company’s entire slate of ongoing litigation. And in this senior position, she can never lose sight of the big picture. “It’s all about strategic thinking,” she says. “I often move between large-scale discussions of legal strategy to the finer matters of an individual case. My LLM is paying off in spades now.”

Fast facts about the Osgoode Professional LLM

1. Flexible: The program is designed for professionals. Evening and weekend classes let you earn a degree while working.

2. Specialized: Dive deep into one of 14 areas of specialization, including tax, securities, criminal, constitutional, business, and dispute resolution.

3. Rigorous: Throughout the program, you’ll complete detailed papers on a complex area of law, honing your legal writing and analytical skills.

Osgoode’s Professional LLM is designed with the working lawyer in mind. To learn more, visit the program’s website or call (416) 673-4670.

This story is from our Fall 2019 Issue.