LISA MARTZ is a Vancouver lawyer with Gudmundseth Mickelson LLP. Lisa’s diverse commercial/civil litigation and administrative law practice includes disputes involving real estate, commercial contracts of all kinds, intellectual property, technology, aboriginal rights, defamation and regulatory matters. She has special expertise in the BC Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA).
Lisa also has high-profile experience in public law, having served as commission counsel for the Gove Inquiry Into Child Protection; the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission; the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for BC in relation to his inquiry into the conduct of The Honourable Glen Clark; and as counsel for the Attorney General of BC in a range of civil litigation matters.
How and why did you get involved with CLEBC?
I think CLEBC programming is one of the best parts of being a lawyer: colleagues volunteering to share their knowledge with each other so that we can all get better at what we do. It’s a great tradition. I was first recruited as a presenter by a course chair who was a friend to whom I just couldn’t say no (CLEBC has a great formula that way.)
What are you are currently working on with CLEBC?
What has been your most memorable CLEBC experience?
Last year, Joan Young and I gave a presentation on Ethics at the Civil Litigation Basics course in the format of an interactive game show with “clickers” in the hands of attendees so they could answer “yes” or “no” to various real world ethical questions we posed, with the results tabulated on screen in real time. It turned into a very lively conversation about how to reason through these kinds of problems (and was a great way of increasing the energy in that dreaded ‘last session of the day’ spot). Kudos to CLEBC for “having the technology”.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
When I was a young lawyer, one of my mentors told me that growing up as a litigation lawyer involves learning to live with yourself: there will always be that question you think of as you walk away from an examination for discovery; the answer to a judge’s question that you couldn’t think of at the time; or those words that you wish, in hindsight, you had included in a pleading. We can always improve our work but your professional life will be unsustainable if you beat yourself up every time you realize that you could have done something differently.
What advice would you give newcomers who are interested in working in the legal profession?
I think law school provides a fascinating education and there are lots of different ways to be a lawyer, and more opportunities than ever to shift where and how you practice over the course of your career, so I’m generally encouraging of people who are considering becoming lawyers.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career to date?
As a general civil/commercial litigator, I get to learn new things all the time. Whatever the client’s world is, I enter it for a time and have the challenge of showing them how the law responds to whatever their issue is. It’s a fascinating process.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
Anything that takes me away from my computer, especially being in nature — or in restaurants.
What are some of your favourite legal resources? (blogs, websites, etc.)
Every time I read the Recent Judgments on the Courts of BC website (which I always vow to do more regularly), I find something relevant to a case I’m working on.
Anything you’d like to shamelessly promote? (favourite charity, social cause, etc.)
Seems like a good time to promote the charities who do great work settling newcomers to Canada, like MOSAIC and the Immigrant Services Society of BC, but there are of course many other organizations too.