How do I define success? Being useful. Making something better. We all have, in our jobs, these moments… we’re like: Why am I doing this? And I always have an answer. ~ Katie Sykes
Prof. Katie Sykes (@katiesykes01) is a legal innovation powerhouse. She has degrees from the University of Toronto (Gold Medalist), Harvard and Dalhousie. She clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada. She practiced at a big international firm in New York. She has been published in a range of areas including a pioneering work on the treatment of animals. It’s hard to imagine a more impressive list of qualifications.
But Katie’s present day work is even more impressive. In addition to being active in the area of law concerned with cruelty to animals, she also provides incredible learning opportunities for law students, including a course that teaches them how to build intelligent legal apps. This innovative spirit also drives Katie’s other efforts to push for improvements to legal education, access to justice and the practice of law on a large scale.
In this episode, we had a fun, wide-ranging conversation about all this and more.
- The development and culture of one of Canada’s newest law schools.
- The path to legal academia.
- Experiences clerking at the Supreme Court of Canada.
- Recent developments in animal law.
- Historical approaches to animal law.
- Legal technology.
- Improving legal education and lawyering skills.
- Multidisciplinary legal skills.
- The Law Society of BC’s Futures Task Force
- Empirical legal research on public justice processes.
- Professional wellness.
The Quiz for this episode is here
Pre-approved by the Law Society of BC for 2 hours of CPD credits.
Are you a member of a law society outside BC? Try here.
- Faculty at Thompson Rivers University Law School 4:55
- Kamloops, BC 8:51
- Experiences at Harvard Law 11:00
- Practice experience and mentorship as an influence 13:01
- The path to legal academia 14:09
- Experiences clerking at the Supreme Court of Canada for Justice LeBel 14:55
- This might be a pic of me and a goat that might have been taken at TRU Law 20:27
- What’s hot in animal law? 21:10
- Canada bans captive cetaceans 21:26
- Canada bans shark fin trading 21:40
- Amendments to the Criminal Code refining the definition of bestiality 22:07
- R. v. D.L.W at the Supreme Court of Canada 24:34
- Animal Justice Canada 24:40
- R. v. Malmo-Levine at the Supreme Court of Canada 25:07
- The harm principle in criminal law (and exceptions) 25:15
- Reconciling animal cruelty laws with industrial livestock production 28:45
- Balancing cruelty, intent and socially valued goals in animal law 29:40
- Animal law in the context of culture and religion 33:55
- German Constitution and the protection of animals 33:20
- Human Drama, Animal Trials: What the Medieval Animal Trials Can Teach Us About Justice for Animals by Katie Sykes 37:05
- The Advocate (aka The Hour of the Pig) with Colin Firth 37:40
- The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals by E.P. Evans 38:53
- Dangerous dog trials 42:31
- Goat on trial in Nigeria 44:00
- BC animal law expert Rebecca Breder 44:26
- Example of BC dangerous dog legislation 45:50
- Santics v. Vancouver (City) Animal Control Officer 2019 BCCA 294 46:25
- TRU Law’s Designing Legal Expert Systems course page 48:55
- Legal expert systems 49:11
- More of Darin’s intro to expert systems 49:11
- Neota Logic legal expert system tech as a learning platform 52:30
- Legal knowledge engineering 56:05
- Are lawyers also coders of a type? 56:30
- User focus, legal services and access to justice 58:20
- Clinical legal education 1:00:29
- Developing deep substantive legal expertise through experiential legal tech education 1:04:19
- TRU Law App Battle video archive 1:08:35
- Developing plain language skills through experiential legal tech education 1:12:50
- How to become a great legal educator 1:15:00
- Strata (condo) law 1:17:40
- How to become a better lawyer through clear communication and good writing 1:18:45
- Law Society of BC Futures Task Force (near the bottom of this page) 1:21:10
- BC Professional Legal Training Course 1:23:43
- The drop-off rate – women leaving the profession (Law Society of BC info here) 1:24:15
- Work-life balance for lawyers 1:25:50
- Clio Legal Trends Report 1:26:30
- Empirical research in law 1:27:00
- The independent Civil Resolution Tribunal Study 1:28:30
- Access to justice and legal culture 1:31:15
- Shannon Salter, Chair of the CRT 1:33:20
- CRT user testing and continuous improvement 1:33:58
- Should courts collect more empirical (user) data? 1:41:28
- How Katie defines success 1:44:25
- Biggest challenge or sacrifice on the path to her current position 1:45:20
- What Katie would teach if she had to deliver a semester’s worth of education in 2 lectures 1:46:36
- What Katie does when she’s feeling unfocused 1:48:55
- How Katie approaches work-life balance 1:49:00
- What Katie does to look after herself 1:50:01
- What Katie thinks she still has to learn 1:50:40
- Advice Katie would give to a person who wants to get a position like hers 1:51:16
- What Katie would do differently if she started over 1:52:33
- What Katie wants to do before her work in the law is done, and why it hasn’t happened yet 1:53:57
- Best books she has read in the last year (or not) 1:57:18
- The Lyndon Johnson biographies by Robert Caro 1:59:15
- Favourite podcast – Stay Tuned with Preet – by Preet Bharara 1:59 :12
- Katie’s TRU Law Faculty Page here 2:00:11
- Katie on Twitter (@katiesykes) 2:00:11
- Katie’s requests / call to action for listeners 2:00:45