The following is written by a student from the Nfld. & Lab. Bar Admission course (2023-2024).

I tried to think of a lawyer whom I knew or worked with that I believe to embody the traits that I would wish to have when I become a member of my provincial bar. To answer this question, I will have to delve a little into my own personal legal background. When I was ten years old, my parents went through an incredibly acrimonious divorce and custody battle. The Court appointed a lawyer to serve as my guardian ad litem throughout the proceedings. As an only child there were times when I felt lonely, trapped and in need of guidance and assistance. The lawyer whom the Court appointed was able to help me as best as they could throughout the process.

The custody battle and divorce proceedings with my parents lasted for approximately seven years. Throughout that time, I was subjected to many difficult situations, including having to provide a written statement to another lawyer on an alleged assault between two other family members, speak with the Justice overseeing my parents’ case, manage speaking with several different counsellors, doctors and navigating the legal ins and outs of the Unified Family Court process for divorces.

The lawyer who served as my guardian was able to help me with most of these experiences and provide me with advice on what to do and what to expect. The first time we met this individual laid out all of the things that I should know as a young boy and single child going through all of this. They were effective at explaining concepts and procedures to which I was not familiar. They provided a line of contact which I could call at any time if I needed to discuss something or if there was anything the lawyer could do for me on an expedited basis. The lawyer was a good listener, they heard my concerns and answered any questions that I had; and there were many.

My professional relationship with this individual continued for most of the proceedings which occurred at Unified Family Court. It was not always an easy relationship to navigate, given the dynamics at play between all the parties involved. However, this lawyer, in my opinion, tried their best to help. In the more than fifteen years since we first met, this individual and I have remained in periodic contact to check in and talk. They have always been interested in knowing what I have been doing and still will not hesitate to provide any counsel or advice if I ask for it.

As I begin my legal career and put my mind to the type of lawyer that I wish to be and the traits I hope I embody throughout my career, there is much I can learn from how this lawyer conducted themselves. They were an ally in my corner and were someone whom I could turn to when I felt like there was no one else who was looking after my interests. I would hope that I will be able to be a similar support for individuals who are facing their own legal challenges and require assistance.

— Anonymous