Lawyer Monthly - Women In Law Awards 2023

24 Becoming a partner at the age of 27 is an impressive achievement. Could you talk about the challenges and successes you encountered on this path? How did being a woman in the field impact this journey? Becoming a partner at the age of 27 was both terrifying and thrilling. I was so scared at first and yet I was so proud and excited to be the best partner and lawyer I could be. I was very eager to learn and excel. Right before my promotion, I had been given a 35 year law practice from a well-respected female lawyer who had been appointed to the bench. She now sits on the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick. A U-Haul filled with bankers boxes arrived and my office and the surrounding space were quickly consumed with new client files. I suddenly had a very busy calendar and many court hearings to prepare for while meeting my new clients and getting to know them. I basically lived at the office. I had no children then and my top responsibility was to familiarize myself with my suddenly very large and busy practice. I had only been a lawyer for 2 years at the time. I was so inexperienced but very confident that I would succeed. The first 6 months were tough. I had hundreds of new files to read and court documents to prepare. Court dates for most of the new files had already been set by the time I assumed the files leaving me with little time to spare. I did not ask for one adjournment. I met all the deadlines and did all work needing to be done. I did my best for each new client and had some really great days and some not so good ones. That was 16 years ago! The huge success I enjoy today started back then. That female lawyer who gave me her practice did so because I had worked for her during a summer while in law school and she wanted to help a fellow woman lawyer. I will never forget what she did for me and my career. Because of her and what she did for me, I am an advocate for helping other women lawyers excel in this profession; to reach their greatest goals and aspirations. I still often think about that early morning in April of 2007 when that lawyer called me and told me she was appointed to the bench and wanted to give me her practice. Me! A young woman from Miramichi, New Brunswick, who had only been in Fredericton for law school and knew very few heaving hitters in the city. Now, I am one of those heavy hitters and my name is well known for being an excellent lawyer. You’ve been recognized nationally as a trailblazer in your field. Can you share your feelings about this honor and your other honors and the impact you aim to have on aspiring female attorneys? Being recognized nationally as a trailblazer in my field is such an honor. I wanted to be a lawyer since I was in grade 7. At that time, I wanted to become a crown prosecutor and help fight crime. Then I discovered the show Matlock and quickly realized I wanted to be a lawyer who people could hire to help them with all kinds of legal problems. I am living that dream today. There are many days when I don’t feel like a trailblazer but more of a person who loves what she does so much that it isn’t work. I recognize as being a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and boss. Then, there are many days where I long to use this platform to do more, become more, achieve more; days where I am so hungry for bigger things that I worry about finding the time to do it all. Becoming a mother truly opened my eyes and soul to focusing on what makes me happy and how I could be a great role model for my sons. Time suddenly became so much more precious when I had children to raise. I find great joy in helping other women lawyers see a bigger picture, a picture where they can achieve whatever they want to. “One of the biggest challenges I have faced as a woman in the legal profession is juggling motherhood while running my firm and practicing every day.” Family Law Litigation Lawyer of the Year

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