Scott: I'd like to introduce you to my partner, Selena Kim, who has just been voted one of Canada's top 25 Most Influential Lawyers of 2020. Selena, tell us about this award and what it means to you.
Selena: I had been nominated by a young lawyer who I'd never met. She thought that some things were interesting about me and impressive. She saw that I'd lasted in private practice for over 20 years and that I was the first woman to be designated as a certified specialist in patent law by our Law Society and to me it's so meaningful to be most influential. So that means to me that what I'm doing is being observed by others. That it means I'm in leadership role and that I'm inspiring to junior lawyers who are watching me.
Scott: That's terrific. What do you think was the most important factor that led to you being chosen to receive the award?
Selena: I think perseverance and what I mean by that is the fact that I have lasted as a female lawyer in what remains, even today, a male majority field. I mean there are still relatively few senior women in patent litigation and certainly very few senior diverse women. When I think of it, I've lasted 20 years at the same firm that I articled at, through marriage, two children and now two economic crisis. It takes support and commitment on multiple levels in order for that to have happened.
Scott: Well, Selena, you're also one of Canada's leading intellectual property lawyers with a Masters degree in microbiology. At what point did you begin to consider harnessing your scientific background into a career in intellectual property law?
Selena: I trained in molecular biology and I was well into my Masters degree when I found out, by attending a biotechnology conference, that there existed a type of lawyer called a Patent Lawyer, for whom an understanding of biotechnology would be an asset. So I basically went straight from this conference to studying for and writing the LSAT and going to law school. To this day it was one of the best decisions of my life.
Scott: It's often said that crisis breeds innovation and this past year many businesses have had to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. How have your clients needs changed over the past year and how have you adapted to meet those changing needs?
Selena: Well, this year has been really tough on our clients and a lot of them are in a holding pattern. They've asked us to minimize or halt work and they are reluctant to commit to enforcement strategies. Which is all totally understandable. I am really greatly cheered up by the vaccine developments and being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've always tried to be flexible in my practice regarding how I use my expertise because I knew that, for me, early on that it was a mistake to be overly specialized.
Scott: What advice do you have for an aspiring young person looking to achieve the personal and professional success that you have?
Selena: My number one advice is start networking as soon as possible.
Scott: I just have to say that we are all, and I especially personally, am very proud of you. Congratulations.
Selena: Thank you.