Volunteers are integral to our success here at LESA. That’s why we like to take the time to thank our LESA volunteers for dedicating their time, talent, and energy in the mutual pursuit of continuing legal excellence.
There are many ways we thank our volunteers, from appreciation programs – such as this year’s program Cultural Competence, Diversity, and Inclusion – to brochures, and feature articles on our blog. While we would love to feature every one of our volunteers, this time we’ve chosen to give Michael Kraus QC the spotlight.
Michael has been involved with LESA for more than 15 years, during which he has been a program panelist many times and a CPLED instructor for various modules.
We recently interviewed Michael to learn a bit more about him, his practice, and why he is inspired to volunteer at LESA.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your practice?
A: I have been a lawyer since 1990. During the first 10 years or so of my career, I practiced in just about every area of the law that you can imagine. Over the last 15 years or so, I have become so busy practicing family law, that family law is all I do at the present time. It helps that I am at an excellent firm, Emery Jamieson LLP, so clients who need other types of work done can be serviced by other lawyers at my firm.
Q: How did you become interested in Law?
A: I became interested in the law when I was a student. During my undergraduate studies, I had to make an important decision. I was also interested in academics. I had to decide whether to pursue an academic career or legal career. I decided to go to law school and to pursue a career as a lawyer in private practice. I have had no regrets about that decision.
Q: How did you get into your practice area?
A: There was a stigma about family law in law school and the stigma still exists today to some extent among lawyers. When I was a young lawyer, I was given the opportunity to practice family law because the lawyers that I worked with often did not want files in that area. To their surprise – and perhaps even to my surprise – I very much enjoyed the challenges of practicing in the family law area. I enjoy the type of work that I do and the people that I deal with including clients, experts, and other lawyers. I have nothing but good things to say about the practice of family law, well almost nothing.
Q: Can you tell me about your involvement as a volunteer at LESA?
A: I have been a volunteer with LESA for over 15 years. I have been fortunate to participate in many different capacities, including being a program panelist, competency evaluator, and instructor. When CPLED was known as the Bar Admission Course, I was a Family Law instructor. Since the Bar Admission Course became CPLED, I have instructed Oral Advocacy, Interviewing and Advising, as well as Professional Responsibility.
Q: How do you enjoy your time outside of the office?
A: The practice of family law can be very demanding, as with other practice areas. Balance and outside interests are important. I volunteer with other professional and community organizations. I like to ski, mountain bike, travel, and golf. I am also considering making a comeback to resume my men’s league hockey career. Most importantly, I like to spend time with my family. My wife, Lori, and I have been married for over 20 years, and we have three wonderful children.
Q: Do you have any advice to give a newly called lawyer?
A: I would encourage newly called lawyers to work, if possible, in diverse practice areas. The experience of being exposed to and working hard in many areas of the law will make them better lawyers in the future. Even if some of the time they spend getting up-to-speed is not billable, the trade off is worth it. They will learn what areas of the law they like and those they do not like. They can then choose what type of a career to pursue.
Q: What would you tell someone who may be considering volunteering at LESA?
A: If you have an opportunity to volunteer with LESA, I would encourage you to do so. There are many benefits of volunteering with LESA. There is a learning component, which is very important. There is the satisfaction of being recognized and knowing that others may have benefited. There is also a social element. You will get the opportunity to interact with LESA staff, with students, and with other practitioners. All of these benefits are very rewarding.
Thank you to each and every one of our LESA volunteers. Your continued service to the profession has built the foundation of LESA’s reputation for excellence in legal education.
We’re proud to have you as our partners in continuing legal excellence!