ANNA LAING was born in Vancouver, and raised in Prince George and Surrey. She articled and practiced at Peterson Stark & Fowler (later Peterson Stark Scott) for 16 years in a general civil litigation/family practice before moving to Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in 2004. Eventually, her focus developed into a family/estate law practice, with a significant detour into marketing board litigation in the early 1990s.
Today, Anna continues to focus on family and estate law (both planning and litigation), areas that she finds to be complementary. She has been a faithful contributor to CLEBC books and courses over the years, and chaired the CLEBC seminar The FLA for Estate Practitioners. Anna is co-chairing the upcoming fall course WESA for Family Lawyers taking place on October 17, 2014.
How and why did you get involved with CLEBC?
I don’t actually remember. I see from the CLEBC Webinar Archive that I wrote a paper for an Elder Law course in 2002. I think I must have said yes because I was flattered to be asked, and it seemed a good way to raise my profile. I’ve gotten over that now but somehow still keep saying yes when CLEBC calls.
You have been involved in developing and presenting CLEBC courses as well as writing content for various CLEBC publications. How do you approach each project?
The goal is the same for each: to come up with content that is interesting and informative to the audience. I’ve found that when writing papers, it is best if I do the research and writing myself because (a) that satisfies the control freak in me and (b) it really allows me to master the topic I am presenting. When presenting, I want to make sure I can deliver the content in a way that engages the audience. When developing a course, my focus is on finding faculty who I think will bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the day.
What has been your most memorable CLEBC experience?
I think the course I just chaired, The FLA for Estate Practitioners, because of the involvement from start to finish in developing the topics, finding the faculty, and shepherding things along on the day.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
15 years ago, my mother suggested I buy a house in Vancouver instead of rebuilding my house in Burnaby. Thanks Mom! Sorry – did you mean work-related advice?
What advice would you give newcomers who are interested in working in the legal profession?
There are many different ways to make use of your legal education – don’t get locked into thinking that only one way (the big law firm) matters.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
The people I have worked with. I know, it sounds so corny but cases come and go. It’s relationships that matter.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
Fountain pens (100+ and counting), the Saturday crossword in the Globe and Mail (mainly because I can usually complete it, unlike the Sunday New York Times crossword).
What are some of your favourite legal resources? (blogs, websites, etc.)
JP Boyd on Family Law: the Blog, CanLII, CLEBC Online.
Anything you’d like to shamelessly promote? (favourite charity, social cause, etc.).
Covenant House Vancouver, helping kids get off the street.