Ben Kates is never shy about accepting advice, nor giving it.
“Don’t wait for that perfect job to be served to you on a platter,” he says. “Just leap and do something and be awesome at it, and if you’re awesome, you are going to be recognized for it and good things will happen.”
When it comes to his career, Ben has taken several leaps so far.
Immediately after graduating from King’s, Ben was accepted into a new Canada World Youth program, a program themed around Journalism and Human Rights. Next, he went to Senegal to write for a Dakar newspaper about human rights.
Skill building, acquiring knowledge, discovering his passions – Ben has been in pursuit of that trinity throughout his career. He has a wealth of unique experiences that have helped to shape him, not to mention three degrees: a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from King’s, his Master’s from the London School of Economics, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto.
After his call to the bar in 2011, Ben joined a boutique litigation firm, where he gained experience in practicing civil, administrative, corporate and criminal law.
“What’s fascinating is that it’s kind of like the FYP (Foundation Year Program), in that you become a subject-matter expert for a period of time. You can really dig deeply into it. The thing about law is that you are forever learning.”
After more than eight years of skill building and growing as a lawyer, Ben decided to leap once more.
But he was sure to seek the advice of others in doing so. “I started talking to people, networking, seeking advice and counsel from senior people and my peers,” he explains.
And when the new opportunity came up, Ben decided to go for it.
He joined the Law Society of Ontario as Discipline Counsel in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I prosecute people who commit professional misconduct,” he explains, “We have a public interest mandate. One of our primary responsibilities is to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice and our ability to regulate.”
Ben sees the new role as an opportunity to, “get re-established and skill build… have a focused practice and have time to think about what a well-rounded and meaningful rest of my career looks like.”
“I’m still litigating, in fact, I’m litigating more,” he says. “I have a job that I’m super engaged in… I believe in the work, but at the same time, I have a little more bandwidth to explore and have a more well-rounded existence.” He’s still doing the work he loves, still skill building, still acquiring knowledge; it seems like taking the leap of faith has paid off.
Date posted: November 2020