ZSA is proud to feature the 8 Questions Series interviewing prominent lawyers in Canada, aimed at discussing interesting perspectives and the challenges that face those in the legal profession. These articles, entitled “8 Questions With…” will be published on our website www.zsa.ca and in the ZSA Daily Digest, a daily compilation of legal news circulated by email to more than 1,500 legal professionals across Canada
Emily Lee, Partner, ZSA Legal Recruitment, interviews Kenneth J. Fredeen, General Counsel and Secretary to the Board, Deloitte & Touche LLP.
1. Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
After completing a liberal arts degree in history and political science, I had to do something. I always thought it would either be teaching or law. I’d had previous exposure to law so I decided to pursue law.
2. What is the biggest professional challenge you have faced during your career?
Very early on in my career (long before joining Deloitte & Touche), I worked for a boss who didn’t know or care what I did. The way I overcame this was through perseverance.
3. If you could change one thing about the practice of law, what would it be?
I love the practice of law. If I could change one thing, it would be to change the way we communicate electronically. I believe that we are snowed under by the vast amount of email. In addition, I would eliminate the use of PowerPoint; I believe it reduces the amount of discussion and rarely use it in my presentations.
4. What advice would you give to someone starting his/her career in law?
My advice to someone starting their career in law would be to take every opportunity you can as you never know where it will lead. Also, persevere and work hard. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I worked hard to get where I am.
5. What was the last good book you read/movie you saw?
To be honest, I don’t read much for pleasure as I read so much for work. One book I really enjoyed is “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk” by David Sedaris. It is completely off the wall.
6. What is your favorite restaurant?
I have to agree with previous “8 Questions” interviewee, Terry Badour, that EPIC [100 Front Street West] is excellent. In Toronto, I also really like Starfish [100 Adelaide Street East]. I have to give a shout out to Oakville: Oki [379 Kerr Street] is a great sushi restaurant there.
7. Where would you most like to travel?
South America. I’ve been and I’m going again. I’ve never been to Africa, but it’s definitely on the list of places I want to see; in particular, Kenya and South Africa.
8. If you were not a lawyer, what would you be doing?
I always tell my kids that when I retire I will drive a school bus. Honestly though, if I weren’t a lawyer I would likely be teaching and working with kids in some capacity.
Kenneth Fredeen is General Counsel, Secretary to the Board, and a member of Deloitte’s Executive. Deloitte & Touche LLP is Canada’s largest professional services firm with close to 60 offices and over 8000 employees across Canada, providing audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services to Canada’s most successful corporations.
In his capacity as a member of the Executive, Mr Fredeen is responsible for Deloitte’s corporate responsibility mandate, is Chair of the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, and is the Executive Sponsor of the Deloitte LGBT people’s network. Mr Fredeen is Executive sponsor of certain aspects of the Firm’s long term strategic plan.
Mr Fredeen has chaired Deloitte’s GTA and national United Way campaigns and now acts as Advisory Partner for the annual Deloitte United Way Campaign, which has received numerous awards over the years.
Most recently, Mr Fredeen has been involved with the creation of Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD), a group of more than 50 general counsel from across Canada who are committed to supporting diversity and inclusion. Mr Fredeen sits on the National Executive as Secretary.
Prior to joining Deloitte & Touche LLP in August 2000, Mr Fredeen held the position of Associate General Counsel for Canadian Airlines.
Mr. Fredeen was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and obtained his LLB from the University of Saskatchewan in 1983. He is married to Katherine Ladly and they have three children.