Bringing a Skilled Business Perspective and Entrepreneurial Mindset to Axiom Clients
By Axiom Law
Get to know Axiom lawyer Sabrina Fiorellino at a glance:
- 10+ years’ experience
- Served as GC for a major Canadian restaurant chain
- A focus on corporate, IP, and franchise law
- Founded Fero, a company that converts shipping containers into mobile hospital units
Axiom lawyer Sabrina Fiorellino’s expertise includes a mix of corporate and commercial, IT, and franchise law. She relies on the flexibility provided by Axiom to enable her to contribute her legal expertise to growing companies while pursuing entrepreneurial pursuits outside of her legal practice. As a longtime entrepreneur and dedicated lawyer, she draws on her experience as a business owner to help her clients navigate the nuances of corporate law. In addition to serving her Axiom clients, Sabrina recently founded Fero, a company that creates mobile hospital units out of shipping containers, a mission that has had an immediate impact during the global pandemic.Contributing valuable business experience to Axiom clients
“I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I was also always fascinated by the law and by how much it interplayed with business,” says Sabrina.
After graduating from law Osgoode Hall Law School in 2008 with a focus on commercial, corporate, and IP law, Sabrina worked for several large firms on Bay Street – the epicenter of Toronto’s financial district – for about eight years. Sabrina carved out a niche in fashion and sports and entertainment, while establishing herself in corporate and IP law, along with franchise work. Following this, Sabrina joined the in-house team of an Ontario-based restaurant chain as GC. There, she continued sharpening her skills within corporate/commercial law and IP law, while also tending to franchise work and mergers and acquisitions. Even though she excelled in both the law firm and in-house environments, Sabrina felt increasingly drawn to a career that offered her the flexibility to pursue both law and her entrepreneurial goals.
“I was always intrigued by Axiom when they first came to Canada, and I told a partner at the time that this is the future of law,” she says.Sabrina joined Axiom in 2016, and jumped into working with a renewable energy organization that needed assistance with corporate and commercial legal matters. She’s currently contributing her talents to a company that focuses on medical and recreational cannabis production. Thanks to her past experiences, both serving clients and as an entrepreneur, Sabrina can apply her skills to a wide spectrum of businesses and industries.
“I think business and law are intricately connected,” she says. “Because I operate my own business, I feel it helps me to give better advice that’s both legally sound and practical from a business perspective.”
From where Sabrina sits, a skilled business lawyer is one who can strike a balance between solid legal advice and practicality. It’s a crucial part of helping any company grow and reach their goals while staying legally compliant. Sabrina’s engagements have enabled her skills to shine, and multiple clients have extended her engagements while broadening the scope of her legal responsibilities.
“At Axiom I feel fully integrated with the client’s business team. It’s almost seamless,” she says, adding that it’s harder to provide advice at a big law firm that spends such little time with each client. Navigating the business impacts of the pandemic
As the economy and businesses continue to respond to the impact of the pandemic, Sabrina predicts more legal departments will turn away from big law firms and move toward the Axiom model, which can deliver outstanding results while reducing the risk of lawyer burnout. The lower cost can allow legal teams to rotate more qualified lawyers for a fraction of what they’d pay a large firm. This in turn sets the stage for more flexibility, so lawyers can achieve a better work-life balance.
“I believe Covid has turned everything on its head,” she says. “The upside is that legal work lends itself easily to telecommuting, which is part of the reason why Axiom has been able to adapt during this time.”
She also recognizes commercial lawyers and legal departments are currently facing many unique challenges. “Because of uncertainty, legal budgets are being scaled back. Businesses are also being safer, which could translate to fewer commercial transactions and M&A activity in the short term,” she observes.
However, she feels that the pandemic is bringing an influx of work for regulatory lawyers, especially given new Covid-related health and safety policies and procedures. She speculates there could be a flurry of mergers and acquisitions around distressed companies as the economic impact of Covid takes hold, and observes that many of her peers are busy handling bankruptcy cases, as well.Making an impact during a global pandemic
For Sabrina, one of the greatest benefits of working with Axiom is the flexibility it provides her. This has allowed her to balance her two greatest passions – legal work, and building her own businesses. Fero, which she founded in July, 2020, is an endeavor that took off during the pandemic. Amid the Covid crisis, she felt the urge to step up and do something meaningful, especially since so many hospitals had been experiencing space shortages.
It’s a cause that’s close to her heart. Her brother and sister-in-law are frontline workers, and her grandfather passed away during the first wave of the pandemic. Her mother is also the recipient of a double-lung transplant. When she learned that many hospitals were unable to keep up with transplants because of space shortages due to Covid, she felt called to take action. Sabrina feels very fortunate that she’s at the helm of a business doing such important work to help others during a time of crisis.“Our primary focus right now is on healthcare, but we can also build for schools, long-term care facilities, military and correctional facilities, and more,” she says. “We’ve created both an ICU room and an operating room out of shipping containers, which is better than providing medical care out of a tent.”
Sabrina credits Fero’s success to her own unique experience as a business owner who’s also a lawyer. She understands both aspects, and the many ways in which each informs the other. Sabrina’s adaptability and resilience are qualities that have helped her to be successful as a business owner and lawyer, and are qualities all businesses need to embrace to succeed during volatile times.
To work with dedicated, entrepreneurial commercial lawyers like Sabrina, or to join Axiom’s vibrant legal community, connect with us.
Lawyer Andrew Lupu balances practicing privacy and antitrust law with teaching.
Axiom lawyer Virginia Tate brings an international perspective to privacy law.
Tech lawyer Joan Lipitz shares her expertise with a variety of clients while broadening her work and developing as a legal professional.