Kyla Lee (JD ’11) is a criminal defence lawyer with Acumen Law Corporation in Vancouver, focusing on drinking and driving offences. Kyla hosts a podcast, Driving Law, which discusses current criminal law matters in BC and Canada. As well, Kyla generously supports one Allard School of Law student each year through the Kyla Lee Indigenous Law Students Award.
Note: Responses are paraphrased
What drove you to pursue law school and what inspired you to practice criminal law?
My mother always jokes that I came out of the womb a lawyer. I completed my undergraduate degree at UBC and Dr. Linc Kessler (Director, First Nations House of Learning at UBC), was hugely influential in my decision to attend law school. Criminal law was always an interest for me because the facts are interesting, salacious, and different in every case.
What is one of your fondest memories from your time at the Allard School of Law?
I met some of the best people I know, some of the nicest friends I have, and built some of the strongest relationships in my life at Allard Law. Meeting those people for the first time and growing together through the challenge that is law school is definitely the fondest memory I have.
If you could go back and give your law student-self one piece of advice, what would it be?
If I could do it all over again, I would participate in a clinic or a moot. Clinics offer invaluable experience and help students prepare for legal work. Our firm’s articling students who have participated in a clinic have come to our firm well prepared for work in a small law firm. While I did not participate in a clinic while in school, I have found ways to get involved post-grad through lecturing at the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic.
What is a particular achievement that you are most proud of?
I received leave to the Supreme Court of Canada and argued as lead counsel.
You host a podcast called Driving Law. Can you tell me a little more about the podcast and what inspired you to start it?
Driving Law focuses on the ways that driving law drives the law. I wanted to do a podcast after hearing The Docket by Michael Spratt and Emilie Tamman. As well, I really like the tone you can strike in a podcast. It’s more informal than media interviews but I can also get much more in depth with my guests about various issues. So far I’ve had former politicians, high ranking police officers, founders of lobby groups, famous lawyers from Virginia, and my colleagues on the podcast.
Outside of your busy work schedule, what do you like to do in your free time?
I run a few other businesses. I have an advertising agency, Brazen Bull Creative, and I am working toward opening a distillery in Richmond, focusing on gin and vodka. I like to keep busy!
I admit that I am a foodie, so when I’m not working I enjoy trying new restaurants. I will even travel for meals. I’ve gone as far as Chicago to eat at one restaurant and I intend to take more trips.
What is a TV show that you adore and would recommend to anyone?
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a television program anyone can enjoy. It has singing, dancing, complex character development, and is written and produced by women. It’s so important that we celebrate shows that are created and written by women.
In an alternate universe, if you were not a lawyer, what would be your dream career?
I’d like to host a travel food show in which I tour the United States eating fried food and regional delicacies.
This interview was first published in the October 2018 edition of the Peter A. Allard School of Law Alumni Newsletter.