We had the opportunity to have a conversation with workplace lawyer Ingrid Otto to learn more about her career and practice.
So Ingrid, why Harris? What made you decide to join the firm two years ago?
My goal has always been to be the best lawyer I can possibly be and the way to do that is to work with the best. I’ve had the unique experience of working alongside Harris lawyers when I worked with the Ministry of Justice and as a former General Counsel of a client of Harris. For labour and employment law in BC, there is no other place that has so many talented and experienced senior legal counsel—this is the place to be.
“My goal has always been to be the best lawyer I can possibly be.”
What’s your favorite thing about being part of the team?
That’s an easy one! Harris is team-oriented and collegial and we are all focused on the same objective of assisting our clients in the best way we can. There are also a lot of people here that have a very robust sense of humour—it is great to work with people who are not only great at their job, but have fun doing it too.
You had a diverse practice before joining Harris; what has been a career highlight?
There is not any one thing that I can point to. Any time I achieve my client’s objectives, or surpass their objectives—either through a successful outcome in a hearing, or by negotiating a settlement that works well for everyone, or even just by providing effective practical and creative advice that assists clients in getting to where they need to go, I feel glad that I have been part of it.
What about the day-to-day? What do you most look forward to?
I love speaking with my clients about the issues that they are facing and creatively problem-solving. Understanding the story behind the problem is the key to knowing how to best manage the problem, so I like to talk through an issue with a client and then mutually problem-solve and lay out options and strategies to mitigate legal risks.
Looking forward ten years, what does your career and practice look like? What type of work are you doing?
I’ve had the great fortune to have a practice that balances litigation, in the form of labour arbitration and human rights hearings, as well as labour relations board work. I also regularly provide legal opinions on a broad range of labour and employment matters and also deliver education and seminars for clients such as on attendance management, best practices for diversity and inclusion, collective bargaining and performance management. I really enjoy my work and my clients and hope to keep on doing what I’ve been doing.
And when you’re not busy with clients? Where is your happy place?
I love being outside and exploring BC doing activities with my husband and three kids (although I can’t keep up with them anymore) like cross-country skiing, hiking, biking or running. You will also see me doing a lot of cooking on the weekends. I have a very active family so we are always either exercising or fueling for exercise!