Kim manages litigation and law reform activities to advance gender equality at LEAF
Rosel Kim was honoured this month as 2023 Young Lawyer of the Year by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers. She was nominated by the Korean Canadian Lawyers Association for her advocacy work at the Women’s Legal Education Action Fund (LEAF) – a non-profit organization that aims to advance gender equality by supporting the rights of women, girls and gender diverse people through litigation, law reform, and public education.
“I was very touched to have the support of my mentors and my community, and it felt great to be recognized for the work I have been doing,” says Kim, who joined LEAF in 2019 after a stint as legal counsel at financial technology company, Finastra.
Passionate about social justice and equity matters, Rosel is also one of the founding members of Asian Canadian Women’s Alliance – a coalition of Asian Canadian-identifying women advocating for systemic change through a feminist and anti-oppressive lens.
As a staff lawyer at LEAF, Kim is responsible for managing litigation and law reform activities. She develops and manages LEAF’s court interventions at the appellate level which includes monitoring cases coming out of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, and then preparing case proposals on cases that might benefit from having LEAF’s perspective. If the intervention is approved, Kim works closely with the counsel representing LEAF before the court, and she oversees public messaging about this intervention.
Last fall, Kim acted as one of LEAF’s co-counsel in a constitutional challenge of Canada’s sex work laws before the Ontario Superior Court.
Among her many achievements, Kim led the process for LEAF to develop a position on sex work, and she co-wrote a position paper which was published last year. LEAF filed intervener submissions before the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario to highlight the discriminatory impacts of the Criminal Code’s sex work provisions on sex workers.
“Previously we had not taken a position on sex work, so I’m proud to have been a part of the process that allowed me to foster new relationships with the sex work community and take steps to ensure that our feminism is inclusive and representative as our position paper states,” says Kim.
On the law reform side, Kim also drafts LEAF’s submissions when there are new laws or changes proposed to existing laws, and she has appeared before parliamentary and senate committees.
Working closely with the rest of the four-person legal department at LEAF – including executive director and general counsel Pam Hrick – Kim is awaiting the development of a new online safety bill that the government has been promising to introduce.
“One of our policy focuses is on technology-facilitated gender-based violence, so we are paying attention to the development of this bill,” she says. They are also monitoring the constitutional challenge to Canada’s sex work laws.