Canadian Lawyer 4Students asks five questions of some of Canada's top litigators, including Torys' Wendy Matheson

Tips From the Top: Fall 2010

August 23, 2010

The best advice is often borne from years of experience and that probably holds doubly true for litigators. As such, Canadian Lawyer 4Students received some excellent answers the following questions recently from some of the country's best-known litigators:

  1. What is the most important thing a law school student should know about being a litigator?
  2. Who inspired you?
  3. How do you balance your professional commitments with family and social life?
  4. What class did you enjoy most in law school?
  5. What are you currently reading?

Torys partner Wendy Matheson's responses were as follows:

  1. Litigators love the courtroom. They want to be on their feet, arguing a point in front of a judge or examining a witness. The adversarial nature of the practice is a challenge, not a hindrance. Many of my corporate colleagues observe that they prefer happy clients, and mutually beneficial outcomes, to the sparring and win-lose results that often characterize litigation. As a student, I did not fully realize that many areas of practice provide intellectual challenges, interesting issues and rewarding professional experiences. Litigation has those benefits, but other areas of practice do as well.
  2. I have had many wonderful role models in litigation, including Bob Armstrong (now an Ontario Court of Appeal justice), Sheila Block and Trisha Jackson – all from Torys.
  3. I think the key is that "balance" begins with an understanding of what your own priorities are. Once you know your own priorities, be flexible and practical about what you can accomplish. And, as I was told in first year, book and take your holidays every year!
  4. Remedies and administrative law, because of the inspired teaching of professor David Mullan.
  5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
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