Karen obtained her law degree from the University of British Columbia in 2002 and was called to the Bar in 2004. She is a member of two Law Societies (British Columbia and the Yukon) and was previously a member of the Northwest Territories Bar. Karen’s undergraduate studies included Political Science and English Literature, with an emphasis on Indigenous Issues and Human Rights.
As a youth, Karen attended the British Columbia Youth Parliament where she honed her research and public speaking skills. Karen also gained an appreciation for discipline, team work and perseverance through being a member of the Pegasus 111 Air Cadet Squadron. This training prepared Karen well for a summer with the HMCS Discovery where she attained the Top Overall Rating award for outstanding leadership.
Karen’s home community is Fort McPherson located on the Peel River in Canada’s Western Arctic. As a child, Karen spent summers in Fort McPherson where her grandmother and extended family taught her traditional harvesting skills, a respect for the land, and a respect for the knowledge and wisdom of her Elders. Karen’s family still actively harvests traditional foods (caribou, moose, fish and berries) and medicines throughout the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Respect, Diversity & Inclusion
Karen brings a unique perspective to her work, which includes a respect and appreciation for the diversity of peoples and cultures throughout British Columbia, Canada and the world.
Karen was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia on the un-ceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh nations. Karen has worked and traveled extensively throughout Canada and the world. She recently lived and worked in Canada’s north (Whitehorse, Inuvik and Yellowknife) for 14 years.
Karen is no stranger to hard work and determination. Having overcome many obstacles in life, Karen places a high value on “giving thanks” and “giving back.”
Professional:Karen’s volunteer efforts have included chairing Canadian Bar Association Committees, being a Keynote Speaker and International Advisory Board Member of Globe ’92 (International Trade Fair and Conference on Business and Environment), speaking at various Legal Conferences on topics ranging from reconciliation, diversity, overcoming adversity, and trauma-informed interviewing.
Ms. Snowshoe was elected a Bencher with the B.C. Law Society in May 2018. Ms. Snowshoe is the first Indigenous woman (second Indigenous person) to be elected in the Law Society’s history (founded in 1884). In October 2019, Ms. Snowshoe was re-elected for her second term.
Karen’s work as a Bencher involves 40-50 hours per month of volunteer time. This includes attending monthly Bencher meetings (setting policy) , conducting law student interviews, attending Call ceremonies, speaking at new Judge welcoming ceremonies, presiding over disciplinary hearings and current (and past) participation in the following Committees: Governance, Credentials, Access to Justice, Practice Standards, Truth & Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. Karen also keenly supports the Lawyers Assistance Program and the Law Society’s Mental Health Task Force.
Motivational: Karen has also been a volunteer speaker, encouraging young people to pursue their goals and dreams, regardless of obstacles. Karen remains dedicated to leaving a legacy of opportunity for young people.
Community: Karen has volunteered with Indigenous Elders and premature babies at the B.C. Children’s hospital neo-natal care unit. Karen has also fostered over 20 children, on an emergency basis, in Canada’s northern territories. Karen has been actively involved in a number of humane societies in northern Canada and remains a keen advocate of “spay and neuter” programs. She currently cares for three rescue pups.
Karen has a working knowledge of French obtained through post-secondary studies in France. Karen also has a conversational knowledge of Spanish obtained through studies and work in Central and South America.