Hillier joins civilian life at Gowlings

Canada's top solider will provide leadership training and public policy advice

By Graham F. Scott

On Tuesday July 8th, 2008

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HillierGeneral Rick Hillier, Canada’s top soldier, is leaving the armed forces to join Gowling Lafleur Henderson — despite the fact that he has no legal training. Jane Taber wrote in the Globe and Mail over the weekend about Hillier’s career move, and what exactly he’s going to do there. So far, the answer to that question is “leadership training” and “public policy advice.”

There seems to be a trend towards firms hiring boldface-names like Hillier in order to attract business, lobby government, and harvest media coverage — witness former Alberta premier Ralph Klein’s appointment to Borden Ladner Gervais in 2007. Hillier’s appointment is just one more step in the evolution of the big firms from plain-vanilla legal representation to exotic corporate and public sector advice, consultation, and lobbying boutiques.