15 Questions in 15 Minutes with Molly Reynolds

  • April 29, 2021
  • Molly Reynolds and Sarah Nasrullah


Starting with the basics: What is your name and where did you grow up? 

My name is Molly Reynolds and I grew up in New Brunswick and Ottawa.

What and where did you study before going to law school?  

I studied political science at Carleton University for two years, took a year off to work, and then went to Osgoode Hall Law School. It has a Parkdale Community Legal Clinic where law students can do a clinical semester. I knew I wanted to do poverty law clinic work but when I applied, I did not get a spot. I reached out to the clinic coordinator and told her that this is why I came to Osgoode and asked her what I could do to improve for next year. However, luckily, someone dropped out and I ended up getting a spot for that year!


What type of law do you practice, or to what area of law does your position most closely relate?

Molly: I'm really lucky I been able to create a solicitor and barristers’ practice within privacy. I do a lot of advisory work on new technologies that companies might be implementing. I do mergers and acquisitions work looking at the cybersecurity risk of certain companies that are being acquired. I also do data breach response and litigation that arises from data breaches. And the last thing on this long list is I also represent primarily women in civil litigation involving nonconsensual distribution of their images.

Sarah: Yes, I saw that you represented the plaintiff in Jane Doe v. N.D.

Molly: I think it is a really motivating case because we saw that this case was started by a fifth-year sole practitioner who realized we can create a new tort in Ontario. We took it on after she got that initial win. It is so inspiring to see the impact that one case can have – how it can start to create a body of law that actually provides one small remedy for a social harm!

How did you come to work in this field? 

As an articling student, I had no idea what I wanted to do, and then – another example of serendipity – I got put on a trial in my second month of articling. It was a really small case. I was the second chair to the associate leading it. And that was when I fell in love with litigation. This is the first time I felt like I really had direction. I started as a first year doing general commercial civil litigation, and it was the Associate Chief JusticeLori Douglas case in Manitoba that turned me to start thinking about privacy as a practice area. From there, I started to think about an individual's privacy rights and how it impacted her career. I also started to think about all of the data that our institutional corporate clients handle and how these same issues from a corporate perspective were becoming more and more relevant. It was a little bit of “right place at the right time” to be able to see how technology and processing of personal information impacts basically every company now.

What is the best and worst aspect of your job?

The best aspect is that privacy law now and probably for the foreseeable future is so based on policy. We think of it as regulatory compliance sometimes but it's an area primarily in flux, whether it is creating new causes of action in the court or reforming legislation. If you are a bit of a policy wonk, the human right angles, the balancing of commercial interests and individual rights that underlie all of privacy law is a huge part of almost everything we do, whether it's corporate work or litigation work or anything else.

The worst part is the flip side of that, which is that people expect a clear answer, but it is so contextual and it is evolving quickly so we are stuck with those classic “it depends” answers. We have to make a lot of risk-based decisions, which I like. I think the judgment is an interesting part of the practice area for most of us. But it can be frustrating when people just want black and white answers.