Why not aim for a career in law?
I had the chance to speak with Josée Lapierre, senior advisor in human resources at BCF Business Law who, supported by a federated team and having at heart the next generation, welcomed two young interns for the first time last summer as part of the Student Business program.
Tell me about BCF Business Law Firm.
Twenty-two years ago, nine lawyers set up BCF and we are close to 230 professionals today: lawyers, notaries, patent agents, brand agents, etc. BCF is a law firm specializing in business law. Over the years, however, various specialties or practices of law such as intellectual property, business immigration, litigation have been added.
At BCF, we do things differently, we are innovative. We are very ” Quebec Inc. ”, we support enormously what comes from Quebec. We put a lot of confidence in the young company and Québec entrepreneurship.
Many students emphasize their interest in law, it’s an area that seems highly contingent. Is there too much succession and manpower in the legal sector?
There are not too much succession in law. Every year, many students enroll in law, but not everyone will be lawyers in a firm. The right can lead to many types of positions. In this sense, we will always need succession.
It is with some pride that we notice a change that is taking place among law students: there are now officially more women who enroll in law than men.
What is the place of succession at BCF?
As with all law firms, young lawyers are mentored by mentors, but at BCF they are given a lot of space. We listen to them, they often have good ideas, we push them to realize them and we believe in them.
The next generation is BCF DNA. To encourage it is part of our values. As part of the Student Business program, I do not see why BCF would not participate. It’s young succession. If we can put a spark in the eyes of a young person who may be a future partner, why not?
Tell me about your mentoring experience.
Right off the bat, I have a son of their age so I felt like I was with my son’s friends.
From a professional point of view though, I did not know what to expect. They are much younger than our regular law students. We are used to the law students who look for internships.
It was very interesting to observe their evolution from the beginning to the end of the internship. It was very motivating to realize how much they flourished, came out of their shell, became stronger throughout the week. The more the days passed, the more their knowledge grew in the face of the law and the more their questions were targeted.
At the end of the internship, they also had a better idea of the entitlement that came from what we see on television. We took the time to demystify everything at the beginning of the internship. There was a lot of talk about what they thought the law was compared to what it was. The different professionals with whom they had meetings also spoke about their reality by highlighting the differences with what is found in the popular spirit. It has been a very interesting new experience.
Would you recommend the program to other law firms?
Yes, I will recommend Business Classes. However, I understand that there are few partner firms, it is time to outsource to make the activity a success.
It is up to the different firms to see if succession planning is part of their values.
For BCF, succession at all levels is important to us, not just the one on the school bench at the university.
What message do you send to young people interested in law?
I would say to them that the law can open doors on different things, but at first glance, you have to be curious, have the desire to advise, work side by side with companies for example, and have the desire to accompany them.
In this vein, BCF has set up the ” BCF Imagine ” program, which allows us to support start-ups and accompany them at these critical moments. It is, in a way, part of the history of these companies.
If the idea of accompanying, advising interests you, so much the better and I encourage you to head to the right!
Tell me about you at 15 years old. Did you quickly move towards human resources?
Not at all! At 15, I wanted to work for the Coast Guard! Human resources arrived later and by chance. It came from a primary interest in contact with humans, with people.
This article is part of a series of portraits of mentors 2017 that will be published punctually by the summer.
Photo credits :
The photos identified with the Montreal Relève logo were made by Sarah Geerits
The photo of Mrs. Josée Lapierre was made by François Couture as part of a mandate for RRM.