Lazy Chat - Robyn Kaulback
Updated: Feb 5
Written by: Sam Hughes
As seen in the January 2020 issue of Lazy Faire magazine.
Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself? Where did you obtain your post-secondary education, and how did you end up at ASOB?
All of my education has been at the University of Alberta; in fact, I sat as an undergrad student in the very same seats and took the same courses as current ASOB students. My first undergraduate degree was in Education, followed by an after degree in the Faculty of Physical Education. Many of the required courses for this route were taken through the Faculty of Business - one of the most memorable [courses] being BLAW 301 which piqued my interest in law. I completed graduate studies in Physical Education, worked for a number of years in the sport and fitness industry, wrote the LSAT, and ultimately applied to law school. After obtaining my law degree at UofA, I was in private practice for three years, and then worked as a full-time instructor and Director of the Legal Research and Advocacy department in the Faculty of Law. I’ve been teaching at ASOB since 2017. The manner of teaching between business and law studies is different, but I love the faculty and the practical approach and perspective that business students bring.
Business Law offers a fairly unique set of classes in an undergraduate program. How do you think offering business law classes helps BCom. students navigate the business world?
When I was an undergrad, there were very few BLaw course offerings; there were no courses beyond the basic BLAW 301 survey course. Today there is a greater recognition and understanding of how the law affects businesses, operations, and transactions. Almost everything we do in our professional and personal lives has legal ramifications. We are subject to statute laws on federal, provincial, and municipal levels. Businesses need to recognize legal issues and proactively manage legal risks. BLaw grads will be sought after to fulfill these roles.
The majority of ASOB undergraduates are either Accounting or Finance Majors, with BLaw being less popular. Why do you think this is, and what reasons can you think of that would compel more undergraduates to pursue BLaw as a major?
I think the traditional areas of Accounting, Finance, Marketing, will always be the most pursued majors. In recent years, however, newer majors (i.e. BLAW, SMO, Entrepreneurship and Innovation) have developed which may be increasingly relevant to meet the demands of our evolving business world. Additionally, students are encouraged to pursue diversity in their education and take a well-rounded approach to course selection. I think the broader the knowledge and skill set that a business grad can bring to the table, the more marketable they will be to potential employers.
Many students you teach have the goal of getting into law school. Do you think that having an undergraduate degree in BLaw gives those students an advantage over students that don’t?
Yes, definitely! In my view, a BLaw student is the perfect candidate to successfully navigate the rigours of law school. A BLaw graduate enters law school with a solid understanding of the Canadian legal system and the basics of constitutional, contact, tort, corporate, commercial, and property law. Additionally, a business degree prepares students to successfully adapt to the legal profession and corporate culture which very much mirrors how the business world operates. The skills needed to succeed in business would undoubtedly transfer to a successful career in law.
Finally, as one of the more popular BLaw Professors, you’ve seen a lot of students go through your class. From your teaching experience, what general advice could you give to undergraduate students based on your experience which will help them achieve success in ASOB?
Attend all classes, take good notes, and be engaged in each lecture. Get involved in the faculty, student groups, and business organizations. Make friends as well as future professional contacts. On the first day of law school, the Dean will tell you, “your reputation starts here - in law school.” I believe the same is true for business school - your professional reputation starts at ASOB.