Counsel, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
Canadian Director, International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation

Karen is a powerful corporate lawyer and a passionate advocate for women’s rights in Canada and abroad. Karen has practiced law for over 20 years with some of Canada’s top law firms. Born and raised in Winnipeg, she attended the University of Manitoba and the University of Western Ontario, where she attained the top marks in her law school class, and graduated summa cum laude with many academic awards.
Karen practiced on Bay Street in Toronto for several years, and then found her way back to Western Canada, settling in Calgary where she and her husband raised their two sons. Specializing in corporate restructuring and personal bankruptcies, Karen is counsel with DLA Piper, one of the world’s largest global law firms, with over 4,000 lawyers in over 40 countries. Karen is a recognized expert on insolvency law, and is a frequent speaker and author on those topics.

In 2011, Karen helped found the Western Canada network of IWIRC (International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation), a group dedicated to the promotion and advancement of women in the insolvency profession. Karen is currently the Canada Director for IWIRC, and in 2017 received the Fetner Award for outstanding international member. She was also a finalist for a WILL Award (Women in Law Leadership) in the category of Leadership in Private Practice, and has participated in many mentoring programs, both formal and informal, including acting as principal for foreign trained articling students from Nigeria.

In 2017, Karen travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal to provide legal training to a group of women lawyers, in conjunction with New Perimeter and the Nepal Bar Association. Women lawyers in Nepal make up a small fraction of the practicing Bar, and rarely get opportunities to work in corporate law. Karen was thrilled to be part of an international team dedicated to a multi-year project giving hands-on training and skill development.
Karen is also passionate about providing Pro Bono legal services as a means to increase access to justice. In 2017, she received a volunteer recognition award for her work on a project providing free legal services at the Courthouse, and in 2018, she joined the Board of Pro Bono Law Alberta.

In October 2018, she will be participating in a global team travelling to Peru to raise money for UNICEF’s child justice programs.

“I believe that people want what they can see” says Karen. “Young women have to be able to see women rise to and maintain leadership positions – it’s not enough to fill the pipeline at the junior level. Female empowerment needs to be viewed as a group sport — we are stronger together.”