Lauryn Kerr – Getting your Dream Law Job (#5)

The big shifting point in my mentality was that I decided it wasn’t essential to me, or essential to my sense of identity, to be considered a lawyer or to work in a traditional legal career.” ~ Lauryn Kerr

Lauryn Kerr (@lauryn_kerr) has a legal innovator’s dream job as in-house counsel for a world-leading online public justice tribunal. She also teaches cutting-edge subjects in several law schools. Lauryn has also recently started doing international law and justice development work that takes her to places like the Ukraine. 

Lauryn achieved these things in a very short period of time. But it didn’t all just happen by taking the safe, comfortable route. In this episode, she shares her experiences and advice about making a decision to follow a non-traditional path to access new opportunities and, ultimately, a great law job. 

Topics Covered

  1. Preparing for legal education. 
  2. Improvements to legal education.
  3. Innovation in legal education. 
  4. Career development advice for new lawyers or people looking to move into new areas.
  5. Legal work in the public service. 
  6. Age and gender issues in legal practice. 
  7. Options for improving legal service delivery.
  8. Non-traditional legal work. 
  9. Productivity and output for lawyers.
  10. Legal technology.
  11. Key performance indicators. 
  12. International legal system enhancement. 
  13. Work/life balance. 
  14. Working from home. 
  15. General wellness for lawyers. 

Listen to “5 Getting your Law Dream Job – Lauryn Kerr” on Spreaker.

The Quiz for this episode is here.

British Columbia: Approved for 1.5 hrs of CPD credits. Search my name in the Law Society’s Course Listings

Ontario: This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.

Show Notes

  • Intro to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (6:10)
  • Deciding to become a lawyer (9:00)   
  • Tip for someone preparing for law school law school (11:00)
  • What law schools could do more or do differently (13:15)
  • Incorporating more skills-based learning and practical knowledge into law school curriculum (15:00)    
  • Advice for someone just starting articling (15:45)
  • Not settling and finding the job you love (16:07)
  • Making the mental shift to open up new law job opportunities (16:45)
  • Perspectives on the differences between a great law job and a traditional legal job (18:30)
  • Law student perspectives on the profession (19:40)
  • Hitting the wall 3 or 4 years into legal practice and recognizing you don’t love your job (20:30)
  • Working as an Innovation Advisor in Government (22:50)
  • The nature of “big” legal work outside traditional private practice (23:30)
  • Legal work on the development of a new, online tribunal (20:49)    
  • Failures on the path to landing a great law job (29:10)
  • Age related issues  (33:10)
  • Being a woman in legal practice (34:26)
  • Charting your career path with help from a mentor (36:06)
  • The challenge in explaining problems about the structure and culture of the legal profession (39:10)    
  • Darin’s flea story (39:45)
  • Encouraging experimentation in law school and hoping students remember how to do the same in legal practice (43:45)
  • Teaching in law schools (45:30)     
  • Teaching legal knowledge engineering at TRU Law with Katie Sykes and uOttawa Law with Marina Pavlovic (46:00)
  • Legal knowledge engineering (47:15)
  • Legal expert systems (47:50) 
  • Learning substantive law while learning legal knowledge engineering (50:00)
  • Learning to communicate in plain language (51:54)
  • Teaching basic project management in law school (56:15)
  • Teaching interviewing and facilitation skills through hands on, experiential work in law school (56:45)   
  • Teaching performance measurement and key performance indicators in law school (59:30)  
  • Collaborating to teach justice innovation and technology in Ukraine with USAID’s New Justice Program and Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University (1:02:15)
  • Visiting the Ukraine to collaborate with legal academics, judges and government officials and to run legal innovation workshops with law students (1:04:30)
  • Learning through comparative international legal system enhancement and innovation work (1:07:30)
  • A typical work day for a lawyer in a public justice organization that’s growing like a “startup” (1:09:58)
  • “Office life” (working from home) (1:11:30)   
  • Adjusting to working at home for lawyers (1:12:04)
  • Setting boundaries working at home (1:13:00)
  • Taking a productivity / output orientation (1:15:50)
  • How pets can improve the quality of a work-at-home lifestyle (1:17:35)
  • How Lauryn defines success  (1:18:20)
  • Finding success in new work and new challenges (1:18:30)
  • Making tough choices and taking risks on the path to a successful law job (1:20:10)
  • Sharing our justice system expertise and successes with other countries (1:22:00)
  • Ways to look after yourself (1:23:00)
  • New learning challenges (1:25:30)
  • Public speaking and presenting, noting CRT Chair Shannon Salter as an inspiration for aspiring presenters (example) (1:26:30) 
  • Advice for people who want the type of position Lauryn has (1:28:32)
  • Things Lauryn wants to do before her work in the law is done (1:30:00)
  • Richard Susskind (1:30:28) 
  • International legal development as a career highlight  (1:32:13) 
  • Canadian Bar Association Young Lawyers International Program (1:33:05)
  • Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (1:34:17)
  • Chernobyl Podcast (1:34:45)
  • Lauryn Kerr on the Civil Resolution Tribunal Website (1:36:07)
  • Lauryn’s challenges for the world: look at ways to do things differently and surround yourself with others willing to embrace the challenge (1:36:30) 

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