Kirsten Jenkins is a partner in Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP’s Wealth Management Group. Kirsten’s practice is primarily focused on advising individuals and families regarding estate planning, trusts, business succession and incapacity planning.
1. How did you first get involved with CLEBC?
I first got involved when I was a newly called lawyer. I went to the estate law programs religiously for the first few years and also assisted our senior lawyers with updating chapters in various CLEBC manuals. Both gave me a first-hand view into the quality of the materials CLEBC produces.
2. What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
I am chairing a course in March called Estate Planning Express 2020 – 15 Minute Topics. The concept is a fast paced half-day course on a number of niche topics relevant to an estates practice. This was an experimental program that we did two years ago that was well received. Our aim is make it highly relevant and practical for participants.
3. What made you decide to become a lawyer?
It was my father-in-law who inspired me. I come from a family of doctors and had no exposure to lawyers until I met my now-husband. My father-in-law is one of those rare lawyers who truly loves the law and loves the practice of law. At 76 (not that you would know it if you met him), he is still curious about the law and practicing. Amazing!
4. What inspired you to practice in estate planning?
From the beginning of my time at law school, I found the law of estates and trusts very interesting. It is also challenging in the sense that you need to understand a number of different areas of the law beyond trust and succession law and understand how they all work together. Early in my career, I had the good fortune to work with Bill Bice, QC (rest his sole), Margaret Mason, QC, and Carmen Thériault, QC, who were (and are) tremendous lawyers in the estate and trusts bar who are still role models for me. Fundamentally, this area of law is about families and helping people and that has always been a big draw for me and is what keeps me in it.
5. What advice would you pass on to a newly called lawyer?
There are so many things I would say! First, have some fun and work with people you like to work with because you will spend much of your time with them. Second, proactively learn as much of the law as you can in the early days. Mastering the substantive law will help you gain your confidence and set you apart. Third, stay humble – the longer I practice the more I realize how much I don’t know. Lastly, find a champion – someone who will mentor you and help you along the path.
6. You have also served as past chair of the Vancouver Community College Foundation. What drew you to contribute to this organization?
I am a real believer in education – in all of its different forms. Education is a game changer and everyone should get the opportunity to better themselves or improve their lives. VCC is a special place and is focused on helping people acquire real life, practical skills. I was reminded at every awards ceremony how much completing a program changes lives – there was never a dry eye in the place as whole families came to celebrate their loved ones accomplishments.
7. Other than law, what are you passionate about?
Mostly my family. I have two fantastic teenage girls (possibly an oxymoron but true!) who keep my life colourful and a wonderful husband who has been unfailingly supportive and is still my best friend. He and our chocolate lab, Lucy, walk me in the woods every Saturday and Sunday morning to recharge. When I am not with my family, you will likely find me playing a game of fieldhockey in the pouring rain!