How did you first get involved with CLEBC?
After articling, I found the person in town who was working in the area I was interested in and who was involved in a practice related to my LL.M. The lawyer was Elaine Reynolds who was (and continues to be) a great mentor. She had me begin speaking for CLEBC, and co-authoring papers and a chapter in British Columbia Estate Planning and Wealth Preservation very early on.
What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
I’m chairing Wealth Preservation and Succession for the Family Enterprise 2021 on May 6.
I’ve also been asked to join the editorial board for British Columbia Estate Planning and Wealth Preservation beginning this year, joining an excellent group of experienced practitioners and I’m looking forward to learning from them and the various chapters’ authors.
What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Truthfully, I really just enjoyed school so wanted to get another degree after my BA in Anthropology. It was law school at UVic or a Masters in Sociology in Nottingham and a law degree seemed more likely to get me to a place where I could help people. I didn’t anticipate ending up in tax and estate planning, but I do feel that I get to help my clients in a meaningful way.
What inspired you to practice in tax, estate and trust planning?
I really enjoyed my tax classes at UVic with Martha O’Brien and decided to get my LL.M. in tax as a result. I liked the idea of international work, so ended up at New York University which has an International Tax Program, and it was excellent. Among the classes I took there was one in US Estate and Gift Tax, and I found it really interesting. I also like the personal connection that estate planning provides with clients, and the tax work I do now is within a niche that I enjoy.
You are very active in the legal community including being a prolific speaker and the author of numerous publications. What motivates you to give back to the profession?
The way we get better is to listen to our peers who know more about a specific topic than we do. I know a lot about my niche, and I think it’s helpful for those in the estate and tax community to be aware of pitfalls and options, just like I rely on my colleagues to teach me about their areas of focus.
What advice would you pass on to a newly called lawyer?
Say yes! While you’re starting out, try projects you’re not sure about. You might decide it’s not for you, but you could end up loving a particular area or adjacent area, and of course, being helpful to more experienced lawyers is the way to get better work and improve your skillset.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
I love traveling with my family, but at the moment, I guess spending time with my family at home! Also, reading non-law books.