Partner Steven Connors has always had a strong interest in labour and employment law, which allows him to be involved with people on a day-to-day basis, and make a difference in people’s lives.
His primary practice area is labour and employment from a management perspective – including human rights, occupational health and safety, privacy and education – acting as counsel for employers across Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, before all levels of the Courts.
In Brownlee’s labour and employment group, the main focus is on providing clients with practical, timely, efficient and cost conscious advice. The strength of Brownlee’s team approach is that there is no internal competition. “It means that we are working collaboratively for the best interests of clients,” Steve says. “Our collaborative approach ensures that the lawyer with the best knowledge for a certain file, is the person doing that work.”
Born in Grande Prairie, Steve grew up in rural Alberta and in Edmonton. He attended the University of Alberta, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1989 and a law degree in 1992. He joined Brownlee as an articling student, and was called to the bar in Alberta (1993), Nunavut and the Northwest Territories (2009).
“I’ve been at this firm from day one and I am a die-hard Brownlee LLP guy,” Steve says. “When I first got here, there were people who took me under their wing and taught me to how to practise in a way that was consistent with Brownlee principles: offering direct, practical, high quality and cost-effective service. Now, as one of the more senior lawyers at the firm, it’s important that I pass those Brownlee principles on. The best part is that my partners all have that same approach, which is why I wouldn’t and couldn’t contemplate ever leaving the firm.”
Steve was drawn to law as a career because he has always been a keen debater. “In my family, we were always debating and arguing at the dinner table. We always had different views of the world,” he recalls. “From the time I was 10 years old we’d be arguing politics, current events and sports, any time there was a reason to debate – and even if there weren’t, we would still do it. We’d take adverse positions with one another just for sport – and we still do.”
What makes a good lawyer, Steve believes, is providing direct, practical, timely and cost-effective advice – “now more so than ever.”
His advice to a first year associate or law student is that they must be willing to sacrifice. “Realize that for the first number of years you’re going to be working a substantive number of hours,” he says. “The learning curve is much steeper outside of law school than it is within law school. Because of that, be sure you’re actually enjoying what you’re doing and if not, you need to be honest with yourself and with the firm.”
What Steve sees in the future for Brownlee, is continued growth, along with a continued strong commitment to the community. “We are very community-minded,” says Steve, who is a member of the committee that oversees the charitable work carried out by Brownlee throughout the year. Partners, associates and staff members alike get involved, giving both time and financial support to a wide range of organizations, including the United Way, Make-A-Wish, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ronald McDonald House, Valour Place Military Family Support House, and CBC Edmonton’s Turkey Drive.
For his own professional goals, Steve wants to continue providing positive, productive service to Brownlee clients.
A married father of two, Steve is involved with his children’s sports, coaching them in both hockey and lacrosse.
- Focuses on a proactive approach to workplace management to support employers as they pursue their core business objectives, and to manage risk and reduce exposure to liability.
- Provides advice on all aspects of managing unionized work environments including collective bargaining, grievances, arbitrations, and classification issues.
- Provides advice on all aspects of managing non-unionized work environments including policy and contract development; guidance regarding hiring, discipline and termination; Employment Standards and Canada Labour Code complaints.
- Member, Canadian Bar Association, Education Law Subsection
- Member, Canadian Bar Association, Labour & Employment Law Subsection
- Coaches hockey, lacrosse and ball hockey.