Our team of lawyers have a very diverse background coming from all parts of the country with extensive knowledge helping people with their legal needs.
Heidi Taylor became the first female partner at FH&P and currently leads the Family Law department. She was called to the British Columbia Bar in 2004 and became an Associate. Then in 2011, made firm history becoming a partner.
We find out a little bit more about Heidi in this “Legal Bites” Q & A:
Tell us about your practice?
I practice primarily in the area of Family Law, so I help parties who are going through a separation resolve issues surrounding parenting plans, court and property issues.
For example I help several clients who have small to large size businesses with the corporate aspects that are involved in separating businesses.
I also prepare prenuptial and cohabitation agreements for couples who are moving in together or getting married. These agreements assist them in working out an orderly arrangement of their financial affairs, mostly planning for estate purposes or if the relationship were to breakdown in the future.
Why did you go to law school at UBC in Vancouver?
I really liked Law and Order (laughing). I didn't have anyone in my family who was a lawyer and I thought it was a career that would keep me engaged where I'd be able to continue learning.
I enjoy helping others resolve problems and I think I have a good temperament for that. I decided when I was going into high school that I wanted to eventually go to law school. So I've known for a long time that this was going to be my career path.
How did you get to where you are today, by design by chance?
I would say a little bit of both. I didn't go into the practice of law thinking I would be a family lawyer, as a matter of fact I was often told in law school to stay away from family law because it can be so emotionally driven. However I was fortunate to be able to work with some of the partners in our office that practice family law and I liked the way they practice and really started to enjoy that line of work.
As far as my career path and being part of the FH&P team, I followed a very traditional path. I articled with the firm, then became an associate and now a partner. I just happened to land in the right firm right for the get go.
What is your most significant achievement, what are you most proud of?
You mean other than my daughter? (laughing). I guess I'm really proud of our family law department. We now have six lawyers practicing family law that I lead so I'm exceptionally proud of the work that our team does day in and day out. Plus the countless hours of assistance that are put in by our paralegals and staff to hopefully help our clients move forward in life and resolve their very difficult situations as efficiently as we can.
What are some of the challenges and more importantly opportunities for women in law?
I haven't experienced a lot of biases in my practice. I feel that at FH&P, we have always been judged on our merits and not our gender. Sometimes potential clients come to me with a preconceived notion that women are more aggressive and that’s why they have chosen a female lawyer to represent them in family issues. I think that's a skewed perception I mean I wouldn't call myself aggressive. Often times I do have female clients coming to me who are coming out of a very difficult marriage and feel more comfortable with a female lawyer, so I think in that respect it's a benefit to be a woman in this job.
I feel just by being a parent I can bring a lot to the table and that can often be the biggest challenge; balancing work with parenting.
What advice would you give a young person just starting their legal career?
Don't be afraid to ask for help. There have been countless times in my career when I haven't known the answer to either an ethical problem, legal question or client issue and I've always been welcomed by whoever I call, either inside my firm or outside with helpful advice. I think lawyers, for the most part, are in a helping profession and I know if a young lawyer calls me I wouldn't hesitate to try and give them advice, so just take that opportunity and ask lots of questions.
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