Emily Lee, Partner, ZSA Legal Recruitment, interviews Robert Brain, Vice President and General Counsel, Redknee Solutions Inc.
1. Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
I have always been drawn to legal and/or justice related issues and topics. I would also consider myself a highly analytical person. Prior to law school, I spent many years working and volunteering within a variety of organizations and with individuals, which provided me with unique and insightful experiences related to a number of stages within the justice system. I also worked with the Canadian Military at that time, which provided me with a greater sense of self and helped acclimatize me to many skills necessary for the practice of law. In addition, a number of undergraduate and post-graduate programs continued to foster my interest in a legal career. Ultimately, I believe it was a culmination of my practical experiences and personal interests that made me choose to become a lawyer.
2. What is the biggest professional challenge you have faced during your career?
Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to narrow this category down to just one challenge. As the General Counsel of a large multi-national and publicly traded company, the ongoing demands related to the variety of legal issues faced by the company in many jurisdictions and volume of work itself, continue to be huge challenges. My other major challenge is that I also work with the Office of the Judge Advocate General (“JAG”), as a military lawyer, which creates additional challenges related to the unique aspects of military law, the complexities of military culture, and the ongoing time demands associated between my JAG and full-time roles.
3. If you could change one thing about the practice of law, what would it be?
The fact that I am accessible and literally working 24/7 for either of my positions. Technology and work related obligations and/or expectations make it very difficult to truly “disconnect”. Finding more work-life balance would definitely be the main issue for me.
4. What advice would you give to someone starting his/her career in law?
Be honest with yourself about work expectations and/or your interests. Find a good mentor and work hard to develop your core legal skills. Don’t be afraid to take on a challenge. In order to gain experience and succeed, you have to persevere.
5. What was the last good book you read/movie you saw?
Current work demands make it difficult to read for pleasure, but I try to find some time once a week to watch a movie with my wife. We recently watched “Dallas Buyers Club” and “12 Years a Slave”. These films were insightful on many levels and I enjoyed them both.
6. What is your favourite restaurant?
It’s a tie: Harbour Sixty Steakhouse [60 Harbour Street] or STOCK Restaurant in the Trump International Hotel & Tower [325 Bay Street].
7. Where would you most like to travel?
I travel a fair bit for work and with my family. My wife and I are planning a getaway soon and we are still deciding between Paris and Hawaii for some time later this year (hopefully!).
8. If you were not a lawyer, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t a lawyer, I think I would be a business entrepreneur in the technology field. I am quite obsessed with all things technological.
Robert Brain is the Vice President and General Counsel of the Legal Department for the Domestic and International Operations of Redknee Solutions Inc. (TSX:RKN) (“Redknee”). Mr. Brain oversees the delivery of all legal services in support of all Redknee business activities throughout the world, which includes but is not limited to: Corporate Governance and Regulatory Compliance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Contract review and negotiation, Intellectual Property, Employment, and Litigation matters. As part of his role with Redknee, Mr. Brain is a member of the Senior Leadership Team and part of a plethora of Committees. Mr. Brain also currently works with Office of the Judge Advocate General, as a senior Military Lawyer.
Mr. Brain holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Windsor and was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2002. Mr. Brain also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree from York University in Law and Society and a Post-Graduate Diploma from Seneca College in Regulatory Compliance. Mr. Brain started his career in private practice at a prominent downtown Toronto law firm. Mr. Brain was previously the Chief Legal Officer for Huawei Technologies Canada Co., Ltd. and the Senior Counsel for a number of other companies prior to that, which include Infor Global Solutions and Workbrain.