Becoming a Trusted Adviser: Steven Dickson, CIC.C

  • March 13, 2020
  • Lynne Yryku

Becoming a Trusted Adviser: Steven Dickson, 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

Steven Dickson, CIC.C

Steven Dickson is no stranger to challenge and change. He has been in-house with the municipal sector for approximately 15 years, moving among three of the largest municipalities in Canada (Hamilton, Mississauga and Peel). While his current position is Senior Legal Counsel at The Regional Municipality of Peel, he was recently seconded into a new role as the Director, Housing Development Office, which oversees the entire housing development process for the Region.

“My interest in furthering my growth and understanding as corporate counsel remains strong,” he explains. “This passion is what drove me to excel in post-graduate degrees, volunteer with professional associations such as the CCCA and build my career with more senior positions.” It was also what led him to enrol in the BLPIHC.

“In-house lawyers can add so much value by being not only experts in law, but also experts in our clients’ operations,” he adds. “The more knowledgeable and integrated we are in our employers’ business, the more valuable we become.”

According to Steven, in addition to the networking opportunities of the BLPIHC, the program provided him with the necessary financial literacy, impactful communication takeaways and guiding principles to move into senior leadership roles—essentially, the skills he needs to strengthen his strategic lens.

“The practical ins and outs of corporate counsel life continue to evolve,” he says. “Being subject matter experts in law is now becoming a starting point for in-house counsel. With clients’ expectations growing, we need to find new value-adds. Knowing your organization’s operations will lead to new opportunities to help lead, manage and grow operational areas beyond a purely legal role. You must look for ways to use your strategic insight and legal training in ways that allow for your value to shine.”

To him, future-proofing means continuing to build knowledge, find new processes and be more efficient while maximizing effectiveness. It means he will never stop learning or finding ways to be better.

“Leaders and organizations succeed by building on their strengths and seizing valuable opportunities when they arise,” he says. “I am in a leadership position with plenty of opportunity and growth on the horizon, so I strive each day to improve as a leader and as a trusted advisor, and further expand my knowledge. The program has added a distinct advantage for my career progression and ambitions.”

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