An interview with a lawyer

A Rural Education and Access to Lawyers participant in Trail talks about his experiences.

A question and answer with one of Trail’s REAL participants, Jack Montpellier.

Montpellier, 27, was travelling “abroad” when The Trail Daily Times reached him for an interview.

Breanne Massey: Why did you choose to article in Trail this summer?

Jack Montpellier: I was eager to get back to British Columbia and heard the Kootenays were beautiful and a great place for outdoor activities, which have always been a big part of my life, as I am originally from the province.

I have a cousin living in the area and the photos he had of the area and all its outdoor activities and wildlife had me really interested in trying a summer there.

BA: Which firm did you work with and for how long? What kind of work were you involved with?

JM: I was with McEwan Law Corporation, focusing on corporate, commercial and real estate law.

BA: How did the REAL program help accommodate your plans? And would you recommend it to others, why/why not?

JM: The REAL program is open-ended in that it allows the firms themselves to come up with their own summer student programs.

This allowed McEwan Law to become familiar with my interests and determine whether I would fit in well with its culture, and I made sure to highlight my interest in the outdoors.

I would definitely recommend it to others: it’s a great way to get students into parts of the province they may not have spent much time in previously without putting the full financial constraints of a summering program on the firms and sole practitioners themselves.

BA: What did you get from your experience?

JM:  An great amount of practical experience. The practice areas of the firm are diverse and its smaller size allowed for exposure to a wide variety of legal fields in a three month stretch.

That’s not necessarily possible when working as a student in larger urban centres.

BA: Where would you like to work once you finish your degree?

JM:  Definitely back in BC.

BA: Is there anything else that you would like to highlight about your experience or the projected shortage of lawyers in rural B.C.?

JM: The culture in law schools is often oriented towards larger urban centres and it’s great to have a program that allows students to explore other opportunities they might not have considered had the resources to do so not been available.

In my experience a lot of students don’t consider rural opportunities because they either don’t know they exist or have little idea about what they involve.

Jack Montpellier is going into his third year at the University of Ottawa, after completing his undergrad studies at UBC. He is originally from Greater Vancouver (Tsawwassen).