Luc Metivier is a good example of a Canadian lawyer who has been able to ply his legal skills abroad. At the University of Ottawa, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a B.A. in Geography, and was in his last year of a B.A. in Political Science (International Relations) when he was accepted at the Faculty of Law.

During his summers in Ottawa, he worked at the Secretary of State (Human Rights Directorate). After graduating from Law School he entered the Ministry of Justice where he joined a group of advisors at the Office of the Minister. “My work there was very interesting and certainly challenging as I was responsible for preparing ministerial briefs and draft replies for the Minister’s signature on legal issues such as the purpose and objectives of particular bills debated in Parliament, and provide advice on constitutional and international law issues” says Luc.

In 1987, an opportunity arose and he was transferred to a special unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “As a diplomatic officer, my responsibilities included providing legal advice and guidance in all contractual, commercial and financial matters related to the purchase or rental of real estate property abroad and the construction of embassies, official residences and staff quarters. I was also involved in negotiating resolutions to commercial disputes on behalf of the Canadian Government. These were most interesting times in my life” says Luc. In one particular case, he was sent to Singapore to provide advice in the commercial negotiations with the local authorities in relation with the construction of the official residence of the Canadian High Commissioner.

But in the early 90s’, he left the public service and entered the private sector and became corporate counsel in a large engineering firm, Groupe Lavalin Ltée. He provided legal advice in administrative, commercial, corporate and financial matters related to major construction projects, engineering and consulting service contracts in Canada and abroad. With the experience gained in the Canadian Foreign Service, Luc was sent abroad on several occasions to meet with foreign officials in order to smooth out commercial issues leading the way to the signing of major infrastructure projects for Lavalin, in countries such as Chile, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Russia, Lebanon, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and many others.

In September of 1991, Lavalin merged with its fierce rival SNC. “I remember well, the merger was not so simple and many employees from both sides were laid off.” Luc survived the transaction and was transferred to the new entity: the SNC-Lavalin Group.

For the next six years he resumed his work as “Group Counsel” with his new team in the Legal Department of the SNC-Lavalin Group.

As part of his responsibilities, he participated in the establishment and registration of a number of SNC-Lavalin offices around the world. “I remember that I pretty much lived out of a suit case in those days, traveling often as a member of negotiating teams on a wide range of projects.”

Luc participated in most of SNC-Lavalin’s major mergers and acquisitions including the acquisition in 1994 of a well-established engineering firm in Chile. He was one of the team leaders overseeing the performance of the due diligence examination. “Like many mergers, this transaction was very complex because of the human issues and I had to exercise a tremendous amount of diplomacy and tact while dealing with the target company’s three founders.” He also played a key role in SNC-Lavalin’s 1995 purchase of Kilborn Engineering, another large Canadian engineering firm.

As Luc was more and more involved in the management and strategy issues of his company, his immediate supervisor recommended him for enrollment in an Executive MBA program. The company sponsored his studies at McGill University where he obtained his degree.

One day he discussed with Lavalin’s CEO about the possibly of becoming one of the company’s representatives abroad. “In February of 1997, about three months after my discussion with the CEO, the President of SNC-Lavalin International walked into my office, closed the door and proposed a career change by offering me to take charge of our company’s operations in Thailand and the Indochina region, where I would be based in Bangkok. After two months of preparation, I arrived in Bangkok, the day before the economic crash that saw the Thai baht devaluate later on by more than double. That was far from being a ‘soft landing’. Many of the people who welcomed me in Thailand could not help but tease me on my timing.”

In Bangkok, he was responsible for the marketing and business development activities of the company over a territory comprising Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Part of his role was to execute micro-and macro-economic analysis over his territory and propose strategic development plans. He supported his company’s divisions in market penetration for their service lines. He also identified projects, their components, clients and financing, as well as proposing punctual or long-term strategic alliances. Moreover, he was responsible for the operations of the Representative Offices in Vietnam and its staff and acted as a liaison between the company and officials at the Asian Development Bank in Manila.

His efforts paid-off as SNC-Lavalin was named the TCCC’s ‘Company of the Year’ in 1999. Two of his major achievements were to help his company secure one of the largest contracts ever awarded by the Provincial Electricity Authority (an electronic communication system for the power distribution network in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces) and the contract for the track laying work on Bangkok’s first underground mass rapid transit system.

After a three-year term in Southeast Asia, he was asked to return to Canada and re-integrate his original responsibilities in the Legal Department at the company’s headquarters in Montreal.

“I had made many friends in the region and had grown attached to Thailand that it had now become my home. After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to resign from SNC-Lavalin and go after other challenges.”

He then saw an opportunity that would give him similar responsibilities and keep him in the region. He joined the law firm Vovan & Associés, a boutique law firm that is a general commercial and corporate practice firm, which covers the Mekong Region, an area Luc knows well. Although he was based in Bangkok, he also worked at the offices of Vovan in Vietnam and Laos. “I really enjoyed working at Vovan, but after three years I was ready for something different.”

He entered into discussions with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Jaiyos, a global audit and business consulting services firm. In February of last year, Luc joined Deloitte as Director of Business Development. He now leads the business development activities for all the business units of the firm. “While I can do business on a larger scale with local and multinational companies, I can still find opportunities to provide legal advice and assistance to the firm’s clients.”

Besides having been recently elected Vice-President of the TCCC, he’s also a Director at the Board of Trade of Thailand Arbitration Committee, a Member of the Quebec Bar, the Canadian Bar Association, the American Society of International Law and was a former Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Corporate Counsels Association. He has also lectured at the Asian Institute of Technology (Thammasat University) in business law.

Luc has worked hard to get to where he is today and he has taken full advantage of the opportunities that life has presented him.

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