Bencher Profile Series: Lou Cusano, QC

May 27, 2021

As the son of Italian immigrants, Lou Cusano, QC is keenly aware of the promise and the power of the law to help people with their legal needs. Now serving in his first term as Bencher, Lou is using his time at the Bencher table to give back to the profession.

“I view serving as a Bencher as a privilege – it’s an opportunity to contribute to a profession that has been good to me in so many ways.”

Lou attended law school at the University of Calgary and was called to the Alberta bar in 1987. He is managing partner of the Calgary office of Torys LLP and received his Queen’s Counsel designation in 2020.

As regulatory and environmental counsel and a commercial litigator, Lou’s practice involves representing clients before administrative tribunals and the courts.

Lou is dedicated to the mentoring and coaching of young lawyers as they navigate their career paths. Over the course of his career, he has been an instructor in the Law Society’s bar admission program, sat on Law Society Committees and Subcommittees, and lectured on behalf of the Legal Education Society of Alberta. Lou is a member of the Energy Bar Association (Canada) and sits on the Organizing Committee for the Energy Regulatory Forum.

“I got my start at a firm where service to the profession and community was valued and encouraged”, says Lou. “It had always been in the back of my mind over the years, and it seemed that it was time to do my part with the Law Society.”

Upon learning that he had been elected, Lou realized that his commitment to giving back had gone from an idea to his reality for the next three years.

“I was humbled by the support of my partners and fellow lawyers, and honestly a bit scared,” laughed Lou. “There is a ton to learn when stepping into the role of Bencher, and as a ‘rookie’, you feel the obligation to get up to speed and contribute.

“It can sometimes feel like you’re drinking from a firehose, but the work is incredibly interesting and the Law Society staff have been very supportive. The information we are provided is immediately applicable to the experience of being a Bencher, and the fact that we’ve been able to be onboarded seamlessly while operating remotely has been excellent. They are a first-rate group.”

Lou is keenly aware of the challenges that face lawyers today – and the work the Law Society is undertaking to assist them.

“I have seen the issues around wellness and the inextricable link to a lawyer’s ability to ably serve colleagues and clients. This presents a consistent challenge, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the ongoing difficulty of maintaining balance in your life as a lawyer,” says Lou. “These challenges that we face today demand our attention for the good of the profession and ultimately the public.

In the end, I believe we are in an honourable profession. It remains a privilege to be entrusted with a client’s legal issues, and to give back to the profession and the public that we serve.”