Jo-Anne is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, with degrees in Commerce and Law; she is a member in good standing of both the Law Society of Saskatchewan (practicing/active) and Law Society of BC (non-practicing) and has been a lawyer for 30 years. Jo-Anne practiced mainly in civil litigation in private practice in Saskatoon before moving into the financial services industry, with a focus on wealth management. She held the positions of trust officer and regional manager for Royal Trust, before becoming registered as an Investment Representative to help build a successful book of business at a major investment bank. During this time, she was active in public speaking to community groups and was regularly interviewed for national papers on matters involving estate planning and administration.
Jo-Anne then worked as an arbitrator for the Residential Tenancies Branch doing hearings for landlord/tenant disputes while raising her two young children. She became General Legal Counsel and Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Concentra Bank and Concentra Trust in 2009, leading project teams to launch the tax free savings account nationwide for credit unions and some national banks. She was instrumental in orchestrating the settlement of the Norbourg investment class action suits in Quebec, the largest investment fraud case in Canadian history. Jo-Anne has testified before a House of Commons Special Committee and lobbied annually on Parliament Hill to obtain legislation to permit federal credit unions.
After relocating to BC in 2016, Jo-Anne became a certified coach. She has been a strong advocate for access to justice, working on a national policy committee to amend laws for victims of domestic violence. She has also acted as arbitrator for the BC government for landlord/tenant online disputes. Jo-Anne describes herself as a “legal disrupter”, having launched the first virtual legal practice that offers only legal coaching and consulting for self-represented litigants, called Stark Solutions. She regularly presents to lawyers, law students and the public on legal coaching and innovations in legal service delivery.
Her part-time role as Director of Advocacy at the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, has enabled her to work directly with lawyers and the BC government on issues related to access to justice. In 2020, Jo-Anne established the Legal Coaches Association, a national non-profit association that includes paralegals, lawyers and advocates that are certified as legal coaches, providing an affordable alternative for self-represented litigants in Canada. Jo-Anne acts as facilitator of the Certified Legal Coach training program, where legal professionals are trained to provide coaching to self-represented litigants, while they explore ways to create awareness of coaching; she also acts as an advisor and consultant to build efficient legal coaching practices, using tools and best practices for legal professionals.
Jo-Anne published a book in 2020 titled Mastering the Art of Legal Coaching, the first guidebook of its kind for legal professionals.
Legal Coaches Association website:
Stark Solutions Legal Coaching & Consulting: