EDNA RITCHIE articled and practiced in Prince George where her focus was on litigation involving family law, foreclosures, creditors’ remedies, and civil litigation. Marriage brought her to Vancouver where she practiced family law, civil litigation, and conveyancing. In 1992, after a brief hiatus occasioned by the arrival of children, Edna joined PLI Claims (now called the Lawyers Insurance Fund) where she currently handles negligence claims against lawyers in many areas of practice including family law, real estate, construction law, criminal law, securities, and civil litigation. Over the years Edna has been a frequent contributor to CLEBC courses and books; she most recently authored a chapter for the BC Real Estate Practice Manual as well as presented at the April course Family Law Basics 2014 and the June course Real Estate Fundamentals for Lawyers.
How and why did you get involved with CLEBC?
As a young lawyer I appreciated any CLEBC courses and materials that I was exposed to. I also valued the knowledge imparted by other lawyers. Once I had been “in the trenches” for a few years I began presenting at CLEBC courses and revising chapters in two practice manuals. I find volunteering with CLEBC to be a great way to refresh my knowledge of various areas of law and a rewarding opportunity to interact with lawyers, students, and legal support personnel.
What are you are currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
In the past year I revised a chapter in the Real Estate Practice Manual and presented at courses in the area of family law and real estate.
What has been your most memorable CLEBC experience?
My most memorable, and most enjoyable, experience was participating on an ethics panel at a Family Law Conference. The questions from the floor generated lively discussions that energized the room.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
It is okay to say ‘no’ to your client, in fact it is sometimes absolutely necessary to say ‘no’ to your client.
What advice would you give newcomers who are interested in working in the legal profession?
Being a lawyer is a wonderful pursuit if you are passionate about helping people and interested in a career where you are constantly faced with new problems to solve. If your desire to become a lawyer is fuelled by a desire to become rich you will probably not have a fulfilling career.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
My work at the Lawyers Insurance Fund entails dealing every day with lawyers who are facing a claim or potential claim alleging negligence against them. I am always grateful, but never surprised, at the high level of professionalism displayed by the lawyers of BC despite the stress and often emotional upheaval that such allegations cause.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
My family, my friends, and enjoying life.
What are some of your favourite legal resources? (blogs, websites, etc.)
The courts website at www.courts.gov.bc.ca where you can skim recently released cases; my colleagues at the Lawyers Insurance Fund and in the profession who always make time to discuss a legal issue when I need them.
Anything you’d like to shamelessly promote? (favourite charity, social cause, etc.)
I encourage everyone to give: give to a charity; give your time to pro bono work; give your blood to Canada Blood Services; give time to yourself and your family.