Karen Brookman is a successful entrepreneur who co-founded Commonwealth Legal in 2000 with a vision to automate litigation document management. Under Karen’s leadership the company grew from a regional Toronto-based imaging company to an industry-leading, multi-million dollar, national electronic evidence management and ediscovery company. Karen’s affinity for developing business strategy, cultivating strong leadership teams and providing innovative technology offerings to the Canadian market made a significant impact on the growth of the company’s client base.
Karen is a native Calgarian and third generation entrepreneur who moved to Toronto in 1988 to pursue a career in fashion design. After graduating from Ryerson University, Karen spent 5 years in the design field before a serendipitous encounter inspired her to embark on an ambitious new career path within the legal industry. In 1998, with relatively no legal experience, Karen began providing automated litigation support services for Canada’s largest law firms and corporations under the brand Commonwealth Imaging. In 2000 the company merged with a progressive legal technology consulting firm to form Commonwealth Legal which became the first company in Canada to offer a full-service web-based document management and imaging solution for lawyers.
Commonwealth Legal became a trusted, award-winning and market leading company providing leading edge solutions for managing complex and sensitive evidentiary data. As a business leader, Karen implemented rigorous strategic planning processes, instilled a strong high-performance culture and introduced professional development models that enabled employees to pursue their career goals while maximizing their contribution to business results. The company also launched an annual national technology conference called, “Technology in Practice” dedicated to helping legal professionals learn and adopt the latest technology.
In 2014, Commonwealth Legal was acquired by Ricoh Canada. Karen lead the organization through a major integration while substantially growing Commonwealth Legal to become the highest performing business unit within Ricoh Canada. Karen lead on several North American strategic initiatives and was eventually appointed the Vice President of Services. As the VP of Services, Karen was the Canadian representative on a global executive team responsible for business transformation and the achievement of over $2 billion in annual services revenue. During Karen’s tenure at Ricoh Canada, she championed women’s diversity initiatives and became an advisory board member for the Women of Influence as well as a judge for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Karen believes that entrepreneurial business success comes from passion, creativity, hard work and the courage to achieve your vision in the face of adversity and challenge. She attributes her success to having a solid business strategy, cultivating purpose in her work and creating an environment where people are supported to take risks and play to their strengths.
Today Karen is embarking on a new chapter that will take her full circle back to her entrepreneurial roots as a co-owner and Chief Innovation Officer in West Canadian Digital Imaging.