Dan Dagan, general counsel at Siemens Energy Canada, says external firms need industry knowledge

Navigating the energy transition requires many stakeholders to understand legal developments
Dan Dagan, general counsel at Siemens Energy Canada, says external firms need industry knowledge

Collaboration isn’t just an ideal at Siemens Energy Canada. It’s a reality. Speaking to Lexpert, Dan Dagan, general counsel for the energy tech company, says there is a lot of teamwork there – with people always ready to work together and chip in.

“We really have a company with a lot of passion right across the board. It’s a culture of how can I help? How can I make this happen? What do you need me to do?"

And when it comes to making sense of impending legal developments, this camaraderie is vital. Dagan differentiates between the day-to-day changes and the industry-specific developments and says he values practical applications rather than just theoretical advice.

"When you look at a new legal development, you have to take a practical approach. You have to ask how can this be implemented and how will this play out. When I seek advice from a law firm, what I value most is an understanding of the broader industry and how government or judge will interpret a new decision or new legislation.”

He gives the example of the energy transition as an industry-specific development, where the company collaborates with various stakeholders to navigate these changes effectively.

“We are always watching new legislation and programs to assist the energy transition, which is obviously a key for us,” says Dagan. “This is something we do closely with our government affairs lead. New programs can have great benefits promoting investments in new and greener technologies, but some can also have negative effects, and it’s important that our stakeholders understand these.”

He says it’s about “being a voice in that discussion and bringing in our expertise – so that we get the best results for everybody.”

For innovation, Dagan shares his passion for breaking barriers and simplifying processes – especially where AI is concerned.

"AI is obviously a game-changing technology out there. A lot of people look at and say, ‘we’ve got to be careful, we have to be afraid,’” says Dagan.

“To me, it's not a new skill set – it’s like hiring that fresh out of school, bright person who knows a lot but sometimes [doesn’t] fact check. It’s a technology we need to look at seriously, and I'm working with a small global team on AI legal tools. Our focus is on what AI does best right now.”

Dagan encourages leveraging AI tools for efficiency and productivity, understanding that it doesn't diminish the value of human input but enhances it – an increasingly popular insight in the legal sphere. According to 2023 data from Thompson Reuters, 82 percent of lawyers believe that ChatGPT and AI can be applied well to legal work, with 51 percent adding that it should be applied. Despite this, just three percent of law firms admit to using generative AI, while 34 percent are still considering how they will use it.

“[It’s] going to bring a major change,” adds Dagan. “And I tell people they really need to think about their jobs too. What's it going to look like in five years?

“Before computers came in, you had people using ‘white out’ and couriering documents with slow turnaround times. We're going to have at least the same level of change. And so, our value proposition as lawyers, what we bring to the table, goes up. It's not going to be the mundane day-to-day tasks. It's going be more creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. So, we need to focus on those skills. And it'll be interesting what the law firms do by way of passing on increased efficiencies.”

Ultimately, Dagan believes in focusing on the right things, fostering innovation, and building a solid team.

“The key to success is bringing value. It's knowing what your problems are and having an outcome-oriented mindset. Most importantly, fostering a great team is critical to success.”