Becoming a Trusted Adviser: Caroline Boutin, CIC.C

  • March 13, 2020
  • Lynne Yryku

Becoming a Trusted Adviser: Caroline Boutin, CIC.C

Having business and financial literacy is fundamental to being a good in-house lawyer. As lawyers, you are trained to be guardians of corporate integrity, but many have realized you have to go beyond that to succeed and thrive in the future. You need to build your reputation as a trusted advisor.

Enter the Business Leadership Program for In-House Counsel (BLPIHC). Offered by the Rotman School of Management in conjunction with the CCCA, it is the only program of its kind in Canada, providing graduates with a competitive edge by combining your in-house counsel experience with a strategic business focus. But you don’t have to take our word for it—here is what recent graduates have to say.

Find out more and enrol at

Caroline Boutin, CIC.C

Caroline Boutin has a wealth of legal and management experience. Formerly a partner at a firm in Montreal, Caroline Boutin moved in-house a decade ago and is now Manager, Legal Affairs, Specialized Loans and Investments at Investissement Québec.

She found the BLPIHC attractive “first and foremost because I am always looking to learn new things and deepen my skillset. I was attracted by the idea of being taught management skills by non-lawyers, as this would help me better grasp the perspectives of my non-lawyer colleagues.”

The result? “I absolutely loved the program. It was the perfect combination of legal and management training, always with a risk management angle. On the legal side, the program provides fantastic tools that would help any lawyer progress in their in-house career. On the management side, it is in-depth MBA-like training, with current and real business issues. The teachers are all very competent and dynamic—which is especially important when you attend the in-person sessions after a long week at work!”

Her most important takeaway? Prepare, prepare, prepare! “With the speed at which we have to work these days,” Caroline explains, “it is easy to just show up and ‘wing it.’ The training gave us several tools to prepare for management tasks and therefore become more efficient and successful.”

Another important lesson was learning how to influence in the workplace, which is very different than in a court of law or commercial negotiation. “It can be more subtle and take place in much less structured circumstances,” she says. “As such, it’s important to improve those skills and expand our horizons in that regard.”

“Our role is to raise awareness on issues and propose solutions,” she continues. “We must always consider the business imperatives at play in decisions we make and craft solutions that will further those imperatives in compliance with the law.”

Networking is also critical to success. “Too many in-house lawyers make the mistake of not networking, as they don’t have any legal services to sell. However, networking is how we exchange best practices, get inspired, share ideas and help each other out.”

A mentor told her early in her career: “Everything is a matter of outlook and perspective. Change the way you look at a situation and the situation changes automatically.” The BLPIHC and the people in it have helped her expand her horizons and grow her success.

Lynne Yryku is the Executive Editor of the CCCA's In-House Edition.