“This is the kind of battle I went to law school to fight,” says Brook Greenberg
1993 – chooses the law
Greenberg was torn between a career in academia and the law while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Carleton in Ottawa.
“Everyone said I argued all the time in high school; I like to think I had a strong sense of justice. I had to decide late in the last year of my degree — I spent some time thinking about it and decided on the law because of the greater scope of options law seemed to provide.”
1997 – finds comfort
Greenberg’s interest in litigation lead him to Fasken, where he became a partner and remains today.
“I was interviewing with a lot of firms [for articling], but it was the leading litigation firm and had a number of top litigators. When I met with them, it felt like a good fit, so it made sense to me. Joining was an easy decision. Joining as an associate was an extension of feeling comfortable here.”
2016 – becomes a bencher
“I went to law school to fight those battles . . .”
When Greenberg started his term as bencher, he became involved in matters of mental health.
“Students would avoid getting a diagnosis or treatment so they didn’t have to answer [law society qualifying] questions dishonestly, and some wound up in very dire circumstances. The law society’s well-intentioned policy had massively unintended consequences. I wanted to address it as a bencher. The reason I went to law school was to fight those kinds of battles.”
2006 – becomes a lecturer
A position as adjunct professor teaching civil procedure at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at his alma mater gives Greenberg a chance to pass on his expertise to the next generation.
“I like teaching and interacting with young people who are about to become lawyers. Many students have told me after the fact how valuable the course is once they’re in practice. I like that — I like helping the students learn things they can use in the future.”
2018 – chairs committee
Having advocated for its creation for two years, Greenberg becomes chairman of the Law Society of British Columbia’s Mental Health Task Force from its inception.
“I got deep into the information that was available [pertaining to the mental health of lawyers] and, as luck would have it, a U.S. study came out that became a catalyst [for formation of the task force] because the outcome was so concerning: All the evidence points to lawyers having worse mental health and outcomes than other professions.”
2019 – authors paper
A paper Greenberg presented to the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia and later posted on LinkedIn accrued a fair amount of attention on the question of why more lawyers are susceptible to mental health issues.
“We will strive to reduce stigma and raise awareness. The main barriers to lawyers seeking support are to do with them not wanting people to know. Part of it is the nature of practice and part is the nature of who becomes a lawyer — the field selects for pessimistic perfection.”
2019 – wins award as Change Agent
Of all the awards he’s won, Greenberg says the 2019 Lexpert Zenith Award Change Agent in Law means the most, albeit it’s not something he sees as an individual accomplishment.
“It was a recognition of what the task force was doing. I saw it as recognition of the work that all of my colleagues were doing. I take it as a recognition of what the task force has done and that was important and meaningful.”