The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Karen Dyck


Recovery from addiction and reckoning with our common humanity

By Karen Dyck October 30, 2017 30 October 2017

Recovery from addiction and reckoning with our common humanity


Michael Bryant is an Ontario lawyer and former Attorney General for Ontario, whose story came to the attention of the broader public when he was charged in 2009 in relation to the death of Darcy Allen Sheppard. Those charges were ultimately withdrawn by the Crown in 2010 and two years later, Bryant released his memoir 28 Seconds: A true story of addiction, tragedy and hope, describing not only the events surrounding the death of Darcy Sheppard but also his struggle with alcoholism and path to recovery in the years before and after that life-altering experience.


Bryant spoke in Winnipeg last weekend as part of the CBA’s annual Wellness Workshop on the theme of Addictions, Recovery, Reckonings.  Addressing the preponderance of addiction among members of the legal profession, Bryant asked a variation of the classic nurture versus nature question: 

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CBA Legal Futures

What it takes to do law differently

By Karen Dyck March 8, 2016 8 March 2016

At the recent CBA launch of Do Law Differently, hosted by LegalX at MaRS Discovery District, I listened closely to the 6-minute stories told by four very different “new law pioneers.”

Shelby Austin, founder of ATD Legal Services and currently partner in Legal Practice Solutions with Deloitte Canada, described founding ATD’s legal outsourcing service by focusing on enhancing efficiencies through process improvement and technology. She referenced early struggles and missteps in developing the business and emphasized the importance of picking yourself up when you fall.

Sam Witherspoon, who came to law with a background in engineering, shared how he founded Miralaw, a company that develops and leverages existing legal technologies to support traditional legal practice.

Axess Law co-founder Mark Morris identified retail practices as the inspiration for the consumer law focus taken by Axess. Morris credited his early business failures as key points of learning that contributed to the success of the Axess model.

Natalie Clifford described how she drew upon her background in marketing communications to establish, with partner Sarah Shiels, Clifford Shiels Legals, a Nova Scotia based firm that uniquely focuses on the intersections of marine, aboriginal and environmental law.

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Karen Dyck is the executive director at the Legal Help Centre of Winnipeg.

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