The general counsel of Petro-Canada, Alf Peneycad, admitted that his department has had difficulties hiring lawyers. In Canadian Lawyer Inhouse, Vol. 1, June 2006 at 7, he mentions that “the former Crown Corporation recently made 11 offers before landing a single hire.” To fare that poorly should be cause to worry (See my post of Oct. 1, 2006 about the gains from a speedy hiring process; and Jan. 3, 2006 about hiring experienced paralegals instead of junior lawyers.).
To cope with the disappointing yield, the 30-lawyer team, which includes three who were added in the past six months, also has nine contract lawyers. That ratio of close to three full-time lawyers for every contract lawyer is remarkable. Peneycad explains that Petro-Canada “treats its contract lawyers in the exact same manner as it does its full-time people” but he doesn’t use them in the company’s more sensitive areas, such as securities work.