Kathryn Sainty worked as a district registrar for 17 years in Canada, and, 14 years into the job, she started thinking about her next steps. She knew that she did not want to continue being a practicing lawyer after having done that for several years; “I just did not like the combative nature of litigation.” This was mostly because neither party involved was ever happy with the decisions reached “even if they won”. This was because they would spend a lot of time and money “just to get their day in court” and, a big reason why Kathryn ventured into mediation is that “It allowed people to tell their stories and feel that they had been heard.” She knew that mediation was a better alternative for settling disputes.
To kickstart her mediation career, Kathryn had a mentor who took her into the field and allowed her to practice and sharpen her mediation skills. She soon realized that the more mediation sessions she did, the better she got at it. She got her mediation training from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (June 2012) and the American Arbitration Association (December 2013). She also did domestic violence screening training in June of 2013, in order to practice family mediation. She then transitioned into doing her own mediations becoming one of the most sought-after mediators in Vancouver. Kathryn’s practice Sainty Law is located in British Columbia, and her forte is in family mediation but more so issues related to finances, as she is really good with numbers. This skill is especially helpful in disputes related to assets and money, which are often difficult to navigate, particularly when there are limited resources. Stating; “I love my work…” and “as a mediator, you do the best you can to try and make the best deal for both parties.”
Kathryn also often speaks at events whenever she gets the chance, for example, to Bar Associations and groups, as well as at law firms. She has found that putting herself out there serves as a learning opportunity which in turn also improves her meditation skills and creates business.
Global Interests & MBBI
Apart from mediation, Kathryn is also interested in global issues; “I’ve always had an interest in global issues.” Before getting involved with MBBI, Kathryn was the chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Women Lawyers Forum (for all of Canada) after having been the Chair of the Canadian Bar Associations’ British Columbia Women Lawyers Forum. MBBI member and MBB Canada Board Member, Archana Medhekar, who was a member of the National Women Lawyers Forum executive committee, first introduced her to the organization. Kathryn joined the organization and went to the Bali Conference in November of 2019 and found it very intriguing, stating that “it’s a very different lens on mediation than what I do.” It was an eye-opening experience that gave her an international perspective on mediation.
Kathryn has done a number of co-mediations, which she finds very useful as it allows for different perspectives on the subject matter and the parties – helpful to better understand their interests. Although Kathryn is currently on a hiatus from her practice for medical issues, she still hopes to take on more active roles in MBBI, especially those related to international training. “I think training people to be mediators is so important.” This is one of the main things that attracted her to MBBI, and she has discovered that people trained in mediation are better at their careers, and “they’re just better people because of it.” Mediation exposes interests which is a key component of effective dispute resolution.
Article by Jainaba Gaye, MBBI Writer