From “What is a Security” to “Wanting a Securities Practice”

The power of an inspiring professor

From “What is a Security” to “Wanting a Securities Practice”

If there was a list of frequently asked questions for first-year law students, “what kind of law do you want to practice?” would be near the top. In 2016, I attended an orientation dinner which concluded my intensive three-day introduction to the Peter A. Allard School of Law (“Allard”). Nervous mingling ensued, and I will never forget the lawyer’s face when he asked me, “Why law? What kind of law do you want to practice?” I responded with a blank stare and a nervous laugh. Unlike many of my colleagues, I did not come to law school with a specific future in mind. While many people assured me that the imposter syndrome would subside and that I would eventually find my fit, I was admittedly skeptical.

One of the challenges in terms of finding a “fit” was my limited knowledge of the diversity of practice areas in the profession. In my first semester of second-year courses (“2L”), I took a securities regulation course without knowing what a security was. By the end of 2L, I had submitted a comment to the BC Securities Commission, and I secured a position at a boutique securities firm. I will begin my articles there in the fall.

So how did I go from not knowing what a security was, to wanting a securities practice? I owe finding my “fit” largely to the supportive teaching staff at Allard, in addition to other mentors in the profession through programs such as the CBABC Mentorship program.

In 2L, I enrolled in a securities regulation course because I attended a lecture delivered by that professor while I was in first year. Her talk resonated with me. I walked into the first lecture of securities regulation with no business knowledge, but I walked out of that first class with a capacity to explain how to take a company public. Throughout the semester, my professor struck a perfect balance between making the material relevant, while expertly explaining the complicated system of National Instruments and the Securities Act. The course was set up to be accessible for students and to motivate students from a variety of backgrounds to enter the field. During the semester, we had guest lectures from industry professionals, and we visited the BC Securities Commission for an enforcement hearing. Overall, her pedagogy emphasized the reality of a practice in securities, and, while the course content was difficult, I found something that I was passionate about.

As daunting as law school can be at times, there are many people who want to help you succeed. The teaching faculty at Allard are incredible academics, but equally, they are sources of inspiration for their students. I have been fortunate enough to work alongside many of the teaching staff and I believe that the Allard faculty has played a significant role in shaping what I want to do with my law degree. My advice to law students reading this would be to take your teachers up on their office hours; do not be afraid to engage your professors, they have wisdom to share.

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