Karen Bell serves in a national role at McCarthy Tétrault LLP as the Senior Director, Professional and Client Education. Ms. Bell is responsible for developing and delivering a broadly based capabilities curriculum under a platform called McCarthy Tétrault Advance ™ which includes legal and practice skills as well as client development and leadership skills. Her mandate also includes delivering programming to support the continuing professional development of in-house counsel and business executives at the Firm’s clients.
A lawyer for over 30 years, Ms. Bell is a practice management expert and educator who has worked with law firms and legal departments to drive productivity and growth by focusing on efficiency and client service, building resilience to risk and developing business strategically.
Ms. Bell’s legal career began at a Bay Street firm as a student in 1980 and over 18 years she transitioned from associate to senior partner. During that time she practised as a business litigator and was charged with a wide range of law firm practice management responsibilities. She then served as external Risk Management Counsel to LAWPRO, Ontario’s malpractice insurer, where she created practicePRO®, a risk and change management program still considered a leading resource to help Ontario’s practitioners succeed in an ever-changing practice climate. At the end of 2000, she joined a large national law firm as a partner leading the development and implementation of a national, multi-faceted knowledge management strategy. From 2006 to mid-2010, she was principal of a legal consulting practice providing guidance to law firms and legal departments of all sizes on practice efficiency, resilience to risk and business development.
Ms. Bell has been active in the legal community throughout her career in a number of ways. She has taught ethics, professional responsibility and risk management at the Bar Admission program of the Law Society of Upper Canada. She has presented on a wide variety of legal and practice management topics to legal professional organizations across the country as well as internationally and to local business audiences. She has been a contributor to various regional and national legal publications including LAWPRO Magazine and The Lawyers’ Weekly and has presented formal papers on risk management to the Canadian Bar Association, International Bar Association, American Bar Association and the Risk & Insurance Management Society. She has also held a number of leadership roles in the legal and business communities including directorships and committees.
Ms. Bell received a law degree cum laude from the University of Ottawa in 1980 and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Toronto in 1977. She was called to the Ontario bar in 1982 and obtained a Certificate of Mediation from CDR Associates, Colorado in 1996.