Recognized as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 3, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why McDougall Gauley LLP was selected as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2021):
- McDougall Gauley LLP supports employees who want to start a family with maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new and adoptive parents, to 100 per cent of salary for up to 16 weeks
- McDougall Gauley LLP created a Culture and Wellness Committee in the past year to facilitate events such as meditation sessions and fitness challenges -- the firm also offers a health and wellness reimbursement of up to $500, which may be used for fitness classes, personal trainers and weight loss programs
- McDougall Gauley LLP helps employees save for the future with matching RSP contributions and lets everyone share in the firm's success with year-end bonuses
McDougall Gauley raises the thoughtfulness bar
Four years ago, Michael Milani and other senior leaders at McDougall Gauley LLP, a law firm with offices in Regina and Saskatoon, decided to send all 200 of their partners, associates lawyers and employees for performance-empowering training. “It wasn’t inexpensive,” he says, “but it was probably the best investment we’ve made as a firm.”
Milani, a partner in the Regina office, knew they were already treating their people well but felt they could do more around mental health. “We wanted to help people recognize what they could do to help improve their personal and professional lives,” he says. Since then, to help encourage everyone to be more mindful in how they relate to one another, they must take about 40 hours of training sessions from The Pacific Institute.
The results have been better than Milani could have predicted. “We’ve learned that when you empower everyone the proper way, you foster a more respectful environment,” he says. “I’m proud of our firm for investing the time and funds into this program.”
That respect might be evident in how a lawyer asks a legal assistant to revise a document. “We’re more thoughtful in what we say now,” says Milani. For example, “You’ve got the numbering wrong, would you do it again?” might become “We’ve got a numbering issue – let’s tweak it and see if we can improve the process.”
This kind of careful consideration is one reason legal assistant Darlene Higgs, who works with the commercial real estate team, has stayed with the firm for more than 40 years. “I enjoy working with people who have integrity and a high standard of ethics,” she says. That care was clear when Higgs was sent home to work remotely when COVID-19 hit Regina.
Both Milani and Higgs applaud the law firm’s IT department for quickly connecting everyone at home. Although Higgs missed the social aspect of being at the office, she enjoyed seeing her co-workers’ faces on her computer screen and having her two “assistants” – her cocker spaniels – keep her company. When it was safe to do so, she returned to the office part-time.
As a member of the law firm’s social committee, Higgs has done a lot of fundraising, including for Farm Credit Canada’s Drive Away Hunger initiative and Regina General Hospital’s neonatal unit. “My daughter was born at the hospital, and while she was fine, we know that not every baby is,” she says. “It makes me feel really good to help and give back.”