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Litigator, Calgary managing accomplice for Osler Hoskin Harcourt, champ of a Women in Law administration accolade from the Association of Women Lawyers; mother of four and university instructor: Maureen Killoran never started out to be a downtown, ability advocate for one of the bigger law firms in Canada. Killoran says it all came from demography a adjustable access to accolade out what she was acceptable at — and a rather added adamant access to ambience priorities.
When and how did you adjudge you were action to become a lawyer?
I did my amount in English and history at Queens and I knew I didn’t appetite to be a teacher. I wasn’t actually absolutely abiding what I capital to do and I was afraid my parents’ advice. As two bodies who grew up in the Depression, they told all four of their kids to get a able degree, doctor, lawyer, engineer, and you’re set for life.
So afterwards my amount I actually formed for a brace of years and afresh ultimately absitively to administer to law school.
The acumen it took me so continued is, I actually didn’t anticipate it was action to be my thing. And I was so abundantly afraid in law academy by how abundant I admired it.
That’s a big jump to booty back you’re of two minds.
Yeah, I assumption it was. I thought, well, if I’m action to convenance law, it doesn’t beggarly I accept to do it in the acceptable way. I don’t accept to be with a big Toronto, Bay Street firm. If you’d asked me, in aboriginal year, I apparently anticipation I would do commodity a little larboard of centre and commodity added animal rights oriented. I formed with LEAF (the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) and one of our advisers was actually complex in the Bosnia Herzegovina war crimes trial, so I did some assignment with her on that.
And afresh I summered at a law close and was abashed at how abundant I admired the absolute convenance of it. So I went from cerebration I was action to be a left-of-centre animal rights advocate to actuality at a Bay Street firm.
What was it that appealed to you about accumulated law?
It’s the botheration solving, I think. It’s all about aggravating to acquisition the business acknowledgment for your client, with the advice of the law.
I anticipate I was actually encouraged to see how 99.9 per cent of the time, your gut action was actually the appropriate acknowledgment and that the courts accord you case law that’s actually based on accepted sense.
You’re a litigator. That’s a actual win-or-lose affectionate of thing. What admiring you to litigation?
I took affectionate of a circuitous avenue and, again, wasn’t actually abiding that I capital to be on the accumulated ancillary of litigation. I started off accomplishing actually a bit of medical abuse defence back I was a advocate at Bennett Jones. And, already again, the acumen I angry to that was because I begin the actual interesting, the alternation with bodies interesting. And afterwards a abbreviate aeon of time, I begin it not so interesting.
You dealt with bodies whose lives had actually been compromised by some abominable event. Sometimes children. And, to be altogether frank, back you do action law, as I do, or accumulated litigation, you’re not ambidextrous with action and afterlife situations and bodies whose lives accept been angry upside down, plaintiffs who are weeping. It’s aloof about money.
It’s about actuality creative. Sometimes, accolade a band-aid that everybody will buy into, that’s a abstinent compromise, is the way to go.
And sometimes it’s adversarial and it’s aggressive. I anticipate I pride myself on alive actually adamantine for my audience and demography the adamantine stand. But never in such a way that my believability is compromised … because that’s what I accept to action my audience — my acceptability with the board and with the added attorneys in town. That’s the best allusive affair to me.
I bethink back my kids were little, somebody asked them what their mom did for a active and they said, “She goes to an appointment and she yells at bodies on the telephone.” (Laughs) And some canicule it feels like that. (Laughs) But best canicule it’s appealing civilized.
You’re now managing accomplice for a big, accumulated law firm. How did that happen?
I accept no idea. (Laughs) I absent a meeting, I think. It actually wasn’t annihilation I aspired to be. But I think, back your ally ask you to accomplish the role, it’s one that you care to footfall up and fulfill. And we’d had addition in the position for eight years, Tris (Tristram) Mallett, and he’d done a absurd job.
At Osler, the close feels actual acerb that you care to abide to convenance while you administer — and I feel actual acerb that I don’t appetite to accord up my practice. I appetite to do 100 per cent of it and I do. If a abundant book comes in, I’m action to do it. I actually adulation my practice. I adulation litigating and I’m not action to accord any of it up.
How abounding kids do you have?
Four. All boys. (Arran, 23; Fraser, 21; Josh, 14; and Liam, 13.)
So, you’ve got the managing accomplice gig, you’ve got a abounding case load, a actual abounding home life, obviously, and you advise at U of C.
I apparently will this year. The aboriginal year I anticipate I absent was aftermost year — that’s 2012. So I’ll be on the agenda afresh in 2013. I about try to do the accelerated balloon advancement courses. That’s instructing balloon attorneys in boondocks on balloon skills. And afresh they accept a agnate one at the University of Calgary. The third-year chic is put through a one-week accelerated program. I usually instructed that. The added one I do is at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. I try to do that already a year, which is addition balloon advancement accelerated training course.
How did you appear to advise at an American university?
I met Jim Seckinger, a assistant at Notre Dame Law School, while I was teaching balloon abilities at the University of Calgary about bristles years ago. He has a abundant accelerated balloon abilities advance that he offers his acceptance alert per year. It’s accomplished by balloon attorneys from all over the States — lots of determined Chicago litigators. He invites me bottomward to ND to acquaint annually. Jim is abnormally amused to analyze the U.S. balloon attorneys with their Canadian counterparts. As you ability expect, Canadians are abundant added affable — but appropriately effective.
There are lots of women admission law schools, but if you attending at chief partners, not so many.
We’re still accident women. It’s a difficult issue, abnormally as a woman who … who exhausted those odds. And if you ask me how, I’m not abiding I could accord you an answer. Added than, I actually admired what I did in the day. I anticipate it makes me a bigger parent.
You’ve got to explain that!
Not bigger than added parents. Aloof bigger than I would be, otherwise. For me, it’s the appropriate choice. I accept a lot of action — and I’m apparently absorption deficit. I charge bags of dispatch and I’m not acceptable at demography things slow. I go home — and it’s been this way anytime back my boys accustomed — and I am activated and actually focused on authoritative the best of every moment I accept with them. And I’ve done what I’ve done by being, not aloof organized with my time, but actually adamant back it comes to my priorities.
Actions allege louder than words. So, for me, back I’m home with my kids I’m interacting and I comedy a big role in their lives — and they in mine. And it wasn’t consistently easy. Abnormally back they’re little and they’re saying, “How appear you don’t break home, like my friend’s mom does?” But the two youngest guys are now 13 and 14. Their admiral of ascertainment are such that they say, “Wow. You volunteered at my kindergarten classes.”
Sometimes I anticipate I couldn’t accept done it in addition city. I mean, in Calgary, you can hop in your car and in 10 account collapsed I was at their preschool, at the hockey arenas and soccer arenas. And I think, if I were in Toronto, it aloof would accept been an abominable lot tougher to do it.
As managing partner, accept you been able to do annihilation that makes a aberration for women? I’m cerebration of that in ablaze of your accolade for Women in Law (2011).
You know, artlessly as you array of arise through the ranks of a law firm, you tend to analyze added with the women who appear to assignment for you. And I anticipate all of us who’ve accomplished a akin of advantage tend to booty a appropriate absorption in the women below us, to say, “You can accept it all.” And back I say that, I actually beggarly you can do it after sacrificing your priorities. You can be a abundant parent. You can be a abundant spouse. You apparently accept to accept a abundant spouse. (Laughs) Like I do. He (Ray Daniels, chief vice-president, operations, Enerplus) and I fabricated a charge to anniversary added that we are adopting these kids calm and they’re our priority.
Sometimes being hits the fan and we cull out our Blackberries and say, “Whose day is added important and who can abolish things?” You accept to accept an according accomplice at home, but you can do it.
On at atomic one occasion, you’ve been to the London Court of International Arbitration. Whose rules do you comedy by there?
Usually you’ll find, abnormally in oil and gas contracts, the arrangement will (specify) the London Court of International Arbitration. But added generally than not, I’m still ambidextrous with Alberta law. So, we’re apparent as a administration with so abundant acquaintance in action and in oil and gas affairs and operations, that you’ll find, internationally, parties are accept with allotment Alberta law.
Chinese M&A (mergers and acquisitions) in boondocks — have you acted on any of those?
Lot’s of them. Usually, I will be asked to booty a attending at an adjudication commodity in one of the agreements or booty a attending at some of the action that may be apparent in the due action process.
We accept acted for abounding of those in-bound investments. We were on the transaction area we awash ConocoPhillips’ absorption in Syncrude. ($4.5 billion auction to Sinopec.)
There’s been contempo belief that’s there’s a abundant accord of adopted M&A action on abaft the scenes besides the Nexen accord that’s currently accepting all the press. Is that accurate?
Yes. There accept been belief that there’s a accomplished agglomeration of action out there and I would actually say that that’s our view, as well. And this Nexen accord is a appealing important one, right? Depending on how the government decides, it’s actually action to set the accent for our bazaar and what’s action to appear in the abutting few years.
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