Peter Carayiannis, a pioneer of on-demand legal services with his firm Conduit Law, is today joining EY Law Canada as a partner.
On the 10th anniversary of his alternative legal service provider firm Conduit Law, Carayiannis said, as an entrepreneur, he thought it was time for a new challenge.
“I’m going to be helping [EY] to build out their legal managed services and their legal advisory services role in sort of adjacent or in alignment with business law services for their existing clients,” Carayiannis told Law.com International.
EY Canada recently named Shara Roy as its new chief legal counsel. She will also be the executive managing partner of EY Law, its affiliated Canadian law firm, which offers business law, tax law, and immigration law services.
Carayiannis said he’s excited about being part of a team and the chance to help lead the build-out of innovative legal solutions by providing flexible and agile options for the evolving legal needs of clients, both in Canada and globally.
“The area where I’m going to spend the most amount of my time and energy is around truly exploiting the digital tools to make the practice better,” he said.
Conduit provided “on-demand” lawyers and legal services through secondments or part-time lawyers to assist both in-house counsel and law firms in covering their needs for short-term projects, spikes in work, and overflow work—often referred to as “fractional ownership” of a GC.
“Peter has built a career by doing things unconventionally, finding alternate ways to modernize the industry to deliver better value to people and clients. We’re excited to have his innovative and curious mindset on the EY Law team,” said Albert Anelli, managing partner of tax at EY Canada.
In the decade since launching Conduit—with what Carayiannis described as the “whacky” idea of creating a virtual law firm that leverages the best technology so “our lawyers are liberated and can work from anywhere in the world”—innovation in the legal profession has moved full steam ahead and Carayiannis said he’s proud to have contributed in making that vision more mainstream.
This is his second go-round with one of the Big Four. In 2016, he formed a partnership with Deliotte, creating Deloitte Conduit Law LLP. Only 18 months later, the two split up, with Carayiannis announcing that Conduit could “scale more rapidly as an independent firm.”
This time around, he’s closing down Conduit “as a legal entity.” His longtime colleagues Matt Seymour and Rajiv Arya are taking over Conduit’s book of business.
The duo are still working on the strategy for the new Conduit but Seymour said they like the firm’s value proposition and the tools Carayannis created to track time billing, client communications, document storage and other tasks. “It’s an effective model,” he said.
Moving forward, they plan to change direction slightly to focus solely on drafting and negotiating complex commercial transactions, such as SAAS agreements and assisting clients with privacy law compliance. Both are distinct areas that require expertise most GCs don’t have the bandwidth for, Seymour said.
Carayiannis was for 10 years the general counsel at RealNet Canada, a property market information service now called Altus Group, and before that GC at Windrush Energy. He also co-founded Standin Law, which matched lawyers with other lawyers, agents and legal professionals for court appearances. He started practicing law at what is now Gowling WLG in 1997.