”Specializing in civil law involves dealing with people above all,”
Wagner P., lawyer in Kingston, Ontario
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE STAGES IN YOUR CAREER PATH?
During my years of study, I practiced in a variety of legal areas. I developed a real passion for civil law, especially coming up with original arguments. Specializing in civil law involves dealing with people above all. It’s a context I find rewarding—I like being faced with a conflict and being able to resolve it.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORK PRIMARILY CONSIST OF?
One of the most important parts of my work involves interpreting contracts. Whether oral or written, the slightest misunderstanding can be a source of conflict. It can be a leasing contract, shareholders’ agreement or a company’s general principles.
WHAT QUALITIES SHOULD YOU POSSESS?
Good listening skills are indispensable. From the outset, you need to listen to and understand the client’s needs. A little bit of clairvoyance can come in handy, since each case is different, and all clients have their own story, personality and needs. But most of them have one thing in common: they don’t want to become embroiled in a long process. You therefore have to be effective and action oriented.
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO SUCCESS IN THIS SPECIALTY?
You have to be able to read between the lines. Sometimes a careful study of the facts is not enough, either because the report is badly written, or it’s incomplete. You then have to call on a sort of sixth sense to extrapolate from the information provided, and especially to gauge your chances of success. After having handled many cases, you become better at judging if it makes sense to start a case or not. What’s important for both the client and the lawyer is to make the investment as cost effective as possible. This cost-benefit objective is the engine for arriving at an effective solution in the shortest possible time.