Martine Boucher is the managing partner, co-founder and legal brain behind Simplex Legal, a national in-house counsel firm that is changing the way legal services are delivered. She is a lawyer by training, a self-proclaimed tech geek and an entrepreneur at heart.
Martine was called to the Quebec Bar in 1997, and spent seven years at McCarthy Tétrault, where she specialized in finance and banking. While in private practice, she had the chance to broaden her experience with in-house secondments to companies such as Société Générale and General Electric. These experiences helped Martine realize that she was most fulfilled working where the business strategy of the company meets with its legal to see it implemented. As a product of this, she left “Big Law” and joined the in-house team at GE. In 2007, she moved to Calgary to provide hands-on coverage to the Western Canada team while continuing her role as AGC for the whole of GE Capital Canada.
In 2009 she left GE Capital and to allow her to plant roots in Western Canada, pursued her common law equivalency. This allowed her to become a member of the Alberta Bar in 2011 and Ontario Bar in 2016.
Her experience as in-house counsel and as a private practice lawyer, coupled with her ability to practice in common law and civil law, positioned her to do something creative, with national relevance. Martine and her partner Geoff, also a former GE Capital executive (aka the ‘non-lawyer’) set their minds to designing a model to deliver legal services in a new and innovative way.
Based on what they observed as both consumers of, and practitioners of legal services, they explored the limitations and frustrations of the current legal service model and structure. They then postulated what the ideal legal service provider could look like. This led to the core of their new business model, a flexible approach, with an infusion of in-house counsel values in every corner, the whole of which delivered with uncompromising quality in a low overhead model.
Martine loves the moment when clients light up and realize they can find a legal provider that is pragmatic, outcome focused, business friendly, with all delivered at a value. The direct customer voice that comes from this hands-on approach inevitably leads to a huddle with her team to develop something new on the fly, to solve a pervasive client issue in real time.
Martine is proud that she created a firm where lawyers can focus on being great lawyers and providing an outstanding customer service, without billable hour quotas or matter origination and firm management obligations, while still enjoying a good work life balance.
Simplex Legal’s evolution is largely due to Martine’s insistence that the firm stays nimble, with their lawyers providing services in a variety of ways, whether virtual or at the client’s place of business, and on an hourly, daily or a longer-term basis.
Martine is excited at what the future holds for the evolution of legal services and is always game to hear new ideas to be challenged to solve a difficult problem. In 2017, she became a member of the CBA’s Legal Futures committee and invites anyone to reach out and brainstorm. She also co-founded the Calgary Legal Innovators Roundtable to foster a local network of collaboration amongst like-minded people. Since COVID-19, the Calgary Legal Innovators Roundtable has joined the Toronto group over Zoom and is now known as the National Legal Innovation Roundtable.