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Mara Nickerson - Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Toronto, ON, CA

Mara Nickerson

Chief Knowledge Officer | Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Chief Knowledge Officer at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and recognized legal industry expert throughout North America.


Mara is a former practising lawyer and deeply understands the legal industry challenges and opportunities of innovation services delivery in a highly competitive environment. She can speak knowledgeably and with passion about building teams to support clients and new business opportunities through harnessing technology, adopting new working processes and implementing change management throughout a major, modern law firm.

Industry Expertise (1)

Legal Services

Areas of Expertise (5)

Legal Project Management

Knowledge Management

Change Management

Law Firm Transformation


Accomplishments (2)

Frequent panellist at numerous Canadian and US conferences and special events (professional)

Regular contributor to media stories in legal and business platforms

Finalist for International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) Award

Finalist for ILTA Knowledge Management Peer Group Award (August 2015)

Education (2)

Dalhousie University: LL.B

Dalhousie University: MBA

Affiliations (4)

  • Professional Development Consortium, Member (and past Board Member)
  • Knowledge Management Group of the International Legal Technology Association (and past KM Steering Group member)
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ballet Jorgen Canada, Chair

Media Appearances (4)

The evolutionary long game

Lexpert Magazine  print


The blurring of lines between Big Law and New Law is getting blurrier, and it’s about time — even though the blur is still years away from being a blend. Lately, there has been a flurry of hookups between traditional Big Law firms and the innovative entities of New Law. This may look good, but some questions remain. Is all this teaming up a true desire for change? A long-awaited accelerant? A desire to be seen as progressive with clients? Or, red herring marketing schemes?

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Contract automation poised to change legal practice

Lexpert Magazine  online


Document automation is nothing new. However, as Sandra Rubin of Lexpert Magazine writes, contract automation is on the rise in legal practices and may change the game for many corporate lawyers. Osler Chief Knowledge Officer, Mara Nickerson, was quoted as saying, “This is going to change how we practise, who does the work, and where the work is done.”

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Osler partners with Ryerson’s Legal Innovation Zone

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online


Osler’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Mara Nickerson, told Canadian Lawyer the partnership began when she met with Chris Bentley, the executive director of the LIZ, and Hersh Perlis, director: “We’re trying lots of different technologies and different things these days and you never know where things are going to come from. I thought it all fit with what we were trying to do in terms of encouraging innovation internally, so we decided it was a good fit and we would sponsor them.”

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So long, Big Law / Hello, New Law

Globe Advisor  online


Big Law - the law firms with hundreds of partners that service corporate Canada - is not feeling so big at the moment.

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Event Appearances (3)

How Contract Automation is Changing the Transactional Practice

Emerging Legal Technology Forum (Panel member)  


Supporting Lateral Attorney Integration through Knowledge Management

ILTA Conference  


Information Governance: Concepts and Strategies



Articles (3)

Hacking Big Law – Putting a legal hackathon to the test

Osler White Paper


Big Law is facing big changes. Just as with other professional services businesses, the connection between those who provide a service and those who purchase it has transformed, creating demand for a more collaborative and open relationship. This evolution has spawned new law firms, new solution providers and innovative new ways to market and deliver legal services. It has also pushed firms of all sizes to realize that to stay competitive, they must change too.

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Even If They Don’t Ask – It’s Time to Do Some Soul Searching

International Legal Technology Association Blog


Casey Flaherty and the ACC recently published Unless You Ask: A guide for Law Departments to Get More from External Relationships. The basic premise of the Guide is that if clients want their external lawyers to change the way they work and ensure they focus on delivering efficient client service, they need to ask. And, the Guide is full of all of the questions in-house lawyers can ask on a broad range of topics, including knowledge management, process and project management and expert systems – all topics near and dear to my heart (and job). The Guide specifically warns clients not to accept puffery from their law firms, but instead ask for concrete and measurable evidence.

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11 Ways PD and KM Can Join Forces to Enhance Lawyer Performance

National Association for Law Placement


Whether your firm is just launching formal KM or PD programs or already has extensive offerings, adopting one or more of these suggestions can help your lawyers deliver more value to clients.

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