When I was a teenager, being a lawyer was everything I aspired to be. Their poise, their confidence and charisma was always so appealing to me. Not to mention I have a blabbermouth and was always very vocal about my opinions. Growing up, my family would always say, “you would make a great lawyer”, “stop playing devil’s advocate”, things of the sort, and I guess it just stuck with me.
Fast forward to high school, I quickly made up my mind and aligned to apply to Law in college. I was overjoyed when I finally received an acceptance letter from one of the colleges I applied to! However, there was a plot twist… the college was one and a half hours away from home. Needless to say, this establishment was not my first choice, but nothing comes easy right? This was the start of a new, exciting, but also frightening journey for me. Going to college can be challenging enough, but going to college so far away from all your friends and family, to a new town you’ve never seen before, all while having to live alone for the first time… That’s a whole new level of stress.
So off I went, not truly knowing what to expect or the challenges that awaited me. I knew absolutely no one in this new environment. Thankfully enough, most of the professors were lovely and helpful. However, the classes were difficult nonetheless, not to mention making friends as a very shy introvert was extremely difficult. I’m not going to try and sugar coat it. The first year was brutal and I truly struggled to adapt (but that’s another topic I could elaborate on for hours). I quickly realized that Law was not what I was expecting. The perception I had in my head of what a lawyer was from movies and TV shows was slowly shattered as I learned more about what the job actually entailed. I’m sure any law student can relate to this. Unlike how they are portrayed on television, 90% of being a lawyer consists of research and readings… lots of reading. But in spite of reality slowly sinking in, I didn’t despair and continued on with my education. This was the path I chose, and I was going to make the most out of it. After all, I had never given up on a goal of mine and was not about to do so at this point in my life. After years of blood, sweat and tears (lots of tears), I finally graduated! However the journey didn’t end there.
I now had a bigger challenge awaiting me… Bar school. Bar school was by far one of the most arduous, demanding and strenuous obstacle I have ever faced. Side note; Let me just say, I do not want this to dissuade anyone who is currently in Law or planning to study Law from pursuing that path. I am simply sharing my story and keeping it completely real with you guys. Bar school required a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. But like I said, I had never given up on a goal of mine and was not about to do so at this point in my life. And hard work payed off. I graduated, completed my internship at a law firm and officially became… a lawyer! I was overjoyed! I had accomplished a huge lifelong dream of mine at the age of just 23. And although accomplishing so much at such a young age (having started college early, I was way ahead of my peers) might sound like an amazing advantage (which it is), it also has its disadvantages.
Now let me paint you a more accurate picture of the situation. I am a short gal (5’2 to be exact) and always looked very young for my age. When I was 23, I probably looked 19 on a good day. So just imagine, little 5 feet 2 inches, “barely-legal looking” year-old me, thrown into the work market, in what is probably the most intimidating male dominated industry. It felt like I was tossed into a shark tank… pun intended. It wasn’t an easy adjustment to say the least, but the hardest part was feeling like I obviously wasn’t taken seriously by clients or my colleagues. But who could blame them? I was a newbie with little to no experience who looked like she just discovered what adulthood was.
I realized early on in my career that although I enjoyed Law, litigation was not for me. I dreaded going to court and cringed at the thought of having to go in front of a judge. Furthermore, the high-pressure lifestyle, lack of structure and hectic schedule of working in a law firm was very disenchanting. That being said, I had never given up on a goal of mine and, once again, was not about to do so at this point in my life. Can we detect a pattern here?
It is at this moment that I decided to specialize for 2 reasons. First one being I wanted to master a specific branch of law and second being to escape litigation and move towards a more structured corporate environment. And after all these years of studying, thinking it was all behind me, off I went back to university to specialize in notarial law which is mostly a mix of real estate, contractual and succession law. After graduating (again), I started working for a company as a real estate legal advisor. Having a more structured schedule and not getting involved in prosecution was definitely the right move for me and left me feeling a lot more fulfilled. A few years later, I had a job opportunity in California and the rest is history!
It wasn’t an easy journey, but it helped shape who I am today; a hard-working, relentless, bad-ass boss lady, if I can say so myself. Through all these years, I learned so much (not just intellectually, but also emotionally), created a strong work ethic for myself and developed skills that will forever be useful in my everyday life. Though it wasn’t long before a new challenge appeared. I started my blog a few years ago as a creative outlet, because working in my field, God knows I needed one! I’ve since been in a balancing act, trying to make the most out of my two passions in life. Because as you can tell by now, giving up on my goals is not exactly a characteristic of mine.
I hope this helped you guys learn a little more about me and my journey. If you are practicing law or are thinking of going to law school, I hope this gave you some sort of insight and motivation to push through (I think we all need it)! On that note, let’s jump into some of the questions that were sent to me on Instagram. I feel like I answered most of them in this blog post, but here are a few others that stood out to me:
- Where did you study?
I studied in Sherbrooke for my bachelors and in Montreal for my Bar + masters.
- Why real estate law?
Because I felt like it would allow me to have a more structured 9 to 5 schedule. Also, it is one of the most popular specialization in Montreal.
- Thoughts on working for a firm vs working in-house?
Working in a firm takes a lot of perseverance and hard work. If you’re used to having a routine, it can be very challenging. For me and the lifestyle I personally wanted to achieve, I much prefer working in-house, because it allowed me to have a more structure schedule. Also, I have my weeknights/weekends completely to myself, which in my opinion is priceless.
- What was it like finding a job after law school?
Not easy! I feel like schools don’t talk about it enough. When I first graduated, it was very difficult for me to find a job, because I barely had any experience. Networking is key however. That’s how I was able to get my first job and it opened all the doors from there.
- How do you balance both your legal career and IG?
I don’t, lol. I pretty much dedicate all my weekends and weeknights to my IG + blog + Youtube. I have to shoot most my content on weekends, which is very difficult and draining. I almost never post real time, because of it, which I hate, but I do my best.
- Any advice for a law student?
Don’t give up! As you can see from my journey, it definitely wasn’t easy and I wanted to quit several times. But remember it gets easier and find a support system at school (like a study group) to help you.
Thank you for reading!