This month’s spotlight is on longtime CLEBC volunteer Rose A. Keith of Rose Keith Law Corporation. Rose is a trial lawyer with experience in a broad spectrum of civil litigation matters and an editorial board member of our Civil Jury Instructions (CIVJI) publication.
How did you first get involved with CLEBC?
I have attended CLEBC courses since my call to the bar in 1993. At some point, I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak at a CLEBC course and from there my involvement has continued. I have since spoken on a number of occasions, chaired a number of conferences, and been a part of the editorial board for CIVJI.
What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
Currently, I am a member of CIVJI’s editorial board.
You are very active in the legal community including involvement with Law Society of BC, Women’s Lawyer’s Forum, Canadian Bar Association, and CLEBC. What motivates you to give back to the profession?
In addition to the above, I am also involved with Trial Lawyers Association of BC. I have always enjoyed being a part of the larger legal community. Involvement in different organizations provides tremendous opportunity to get to know other members of the bar, to better understand the issues that we face as a profession and the issues our clients are facing, and to shape our profession’s direction. I was very fortunate as a young lawyer to have a number of senior lawyers take time to help me either with career advice, practice advice, or just connecting me with the right people. The value of that help is immeasurable and if I can do that for someone else, then that is great.
What inspired you to practise in both personal injury and employment law?
My personal injury practice expanded to include employment law because many of my personal injury clients began experiencing problems in their employment situations. Being able to advise them on their rights in the area of employment law became an important part of the advice that I was giving. As I got more involved in the employment law side of client’s files, I found that I really enjoyed the work and as a result made a conscious effort to build that side of my practice.
What are the rewards and challenges of practising in two areas of law?
The two areas are very different. Personal injury law tends to be really about the facts and the evidence. Employment law tends to be more about the law and the legal argument. I really love both developing the facts and crafting a legal argument, so practicing both areas fulfills that for me. The challenges are keeping current on the law in both areas and the different day-to-day manner in which the practices are run.
What has your experience starting your own firm been like?
Starting my own firm gave me the opportunity to create my practice and the manner in which clients are dealt with in accordance with my own vision. The challenge of running my own firm has been with the business practicalities – dealing with HR issues and all of the other elements required to run a firm, while also practicing law. It has created experiences that really are of benefit to my clients and my understanding of their realities, particularly on the employment law side of my practice.
You also volunteer with a number of non-legal nonprofit organizations such BC Lupus Society and Ovarian Cancer Canada. Has your legal/advocacy training been helpful to you in your work with these organizations? If so, how?
I am the current chair of CyclingBC and the Hollyburn Swim Team. My legal training and experience has been invaluable in my volunteer activities. As lawyers, I think that we forget, or underestimate, the skill set that we bring to the table that those not trained legally simply do not have. The abilities to quickly understand complex issues or facts, communicate effectively, manage people, and be a problem solver have allowed me to contribute meaningfully to the organizations I volunteer with.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
I am passionate about my family. My husband and I have been married for 21 years and we have twin daughters who are very involved in sports. My time outside of work is spent supporting them in their sports and spending time doing things that I love with my husband such as travelling, riding bikes, hiking, and enjoying wine.