M. Jenny McMordie is currently with the West End Legal Centre in Calgary and was called to the bar in 2000. She shared with us what led her to a career in the legal profession and what advice she would give to a newly called lawyer.
Please share with us a little bit about your background; your education, family, work?
My first degree is in Development Studies. I have a husband and two sons – aged 9 and 13. My husband is a jazz saxophonist and music educator.
You have been a loyal supporter of LESA. What makes you want to volunteer?
The education and sharing that goes on in our profession is so important to developing strong practitioners and to building bridges of support and collegiality. To build on that we each need to contribute what we can, when we are able.
What led you to a career in the legal profession?
I always said that law was about “who gets the money” and I never cared about “who got the money”, so I didn’t want to be a lawyer. However, when money and fairness become tied together on an individual’s file, suddenly I do care very much. Combine that with a strong interest in argument and negotiation, and this profession has a great deal to keep me occupied!
What advice would you pass on to a newly called lawyer?
Don’t get too worked up. Not about things that didn’t go well, not about client’s problems, not about the conduct of other lawyers. It’s hard to argue effectively when you are emotional and in any event, many things will become clear in time, including the solutions to problems. And when things are not clear, consult a colleague or friend. They may have an idea which answers the concern at hand, and saves you agonizing for hours or days.
Do you have an experience while volunteering for LESA that is particularly memorable for you?
I have really enjoyed volunteering for LESA. There are occasional moments when someone says or does something that is outrageous, but the real satisfaction is in meeting students who are so intent on becoming competent legal professionals. It is an honour to be part of their development.