Michael DeRosenroll is trying to re-imagin what’s possible as a human rights lawyer.
A past Alberta Human Rights Commission officer and former counsel to three separate directors of the Commission itself, DeRosenroll opened his own firm, Human Law, this past April from the comfort of his St. Albert home.
“Going through the pandemic, I really learned how a virtual law practice could really work, because we were forced into doing it and building the plane as we flew it,” DeRosenroll said.
“[The pandemic] caused the Human Rights Commission and the whole legal system in Alberta to really heavily adopt a lot of really efficient new technologies that allowed me to be much more efficient than I used to be in pre-pandemic days.”
With new-found efficiency, DeRosenroll said he realized it was time to help people navigate the human rights legal system.
“The thing that I noticed while working there was that it’s quite common for people with complaints before the Alberta Human Rights Commission to not have lawyers,” he said. “I just saw time and again that when one side had a lawyer and the other didn’t, it never went well for the side that didn’t have a lawyer.
“There’s a complicated process that a complaint has to go through before it gets to a tribunal, and what I kept seeing was complaints that might have gotten to the tribunal step often didn’t when the complainant didn’t have a lawyer and couldn’ t navigate the complaint process to get to a hearing.”
In his experience, DeRosenroll said, people making human rights complaints often make them without the guidance of a lawyer due to the cost