As she prepares to take the reins as OBA president on September 1, with a mandate to strengthen the vital links and knowledge-sharing between active and engaged lawyers in all regions across Ontario and ensure members can capitalize fully on the value and opportunity in this diverse and dynamic community, Karen Perron talks to us about the lure of the law and association involvement, the advice and advice-givers she turns to, and the hopes she has for her presidential term.
Did you always want to be a lawyer – what made it a calling for you?
Yes! Law combines 2 things that I have always been passionate about: learning and advocating for others. Although when I was younger, I would have framed the latter as a love for convincing others that I was right!
What does a good or successful day of legal practice look like for you?
Une journée bien remplie est une journée réussie ! Que ce soit par des échanges productifs avec l’avocat de la partie adverse, une séance de brainstorming avec un collègue ou en trouvant un précédent favorable qui fournit l’argument convaincant dans un mémoire, je ressens un sentiment d’accomplissement lorsque j’ai réussi à faire avancer un dossier dans les meilleurs intérêts du client.
How did you first dip your toe into the OBA Community?
A colleague invited me to join the YLD East Section Executive and the rest is history! From there I went on to Council, committees and other section executives and eventually, ran for various positions on the Board. Volunteering for the OBA has enabled me to meet amazing people and work with great lawyers across the province to advance the interests of justice, all while having some fun along the way.
Is there any OBA event, program or activity you took part in that was particularly memorable or valuable to you?
Chairing the Law Day Committee. It is so rewarding to see the students’ eyes light up when they are learning about the legal system, and when they question witnesses and make submissions in the mock trials. It reminded me of why I got involved in law and of the impact that lawyers can have in their communities.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
Ne vous prenez pas trop au sérieux ! N’hésitez jamais à consulter une autre avocate pour demander conseils.
Describe – in five words or less – how you felt when you were elected OBA’s 2nd Vice-President (with the understanding you would become president in two years).
Amazed, nervous, excited!
Your presidential mandate will focus on linking lawyers across province – harnessing that power and ensuring every OBA member in every region can capitalize fully on the value and benefits our diverse and dynamic community offers. What inspired you to select that focus?
Growing up in Northern Ontario and now practicing in Ottawa, that is what the OBA has done for me – connected me to other lawyers, and to tools and knowledge that have helped me succeed. Throughout my involvement in the OBA, I have always strived to highlight the vital services that OBA delivers across the span of our vast province and to enhance the connectivity of lawyers across the entire province. On the heels of the difficulties and challenges over the last year, linking us to each other and to our profession is more vital than ever. OBA Link is how we will achieve that.
Next September, what do you most hope to be able to say about your year as president?
Hopefully, that I’ve helped link lawyers in each of our eight regions to each other and to those in the communities that we serve, through the knowledge and power of the OBA. If I manage to give a little something back to an association that has given so much to me, I’ll be happy.
Let’s end with three rapid-fire questions…
- Your favourite binge-watch: Schitt’s Creek
- Your go-to stress reliever: A long run
- The person you turn to for advice: My mom