Me Extra Junior Laguerre will soon become the public face of the Bar of Montreal. The first black person to become President of the Bar, he wishes to improve inclusion and diversity within the legal profession.
“I told myself that it was time, especially for Montreal. But above all, I’m just very proud of the journey I have accomplished, ”he said in an interview.
It is from May 5 that he will officially become the 156th President of the institution. This will make him the spokesperson for some 15,000 lawyers practicing in Montreal, representing more than half of the members of the profession in Quebec.
He hopes his new responsibilities will set a positive example for young people and give them a source of inspiration. “To be able to aspire to something, you have to have a model. If there is none, it is difficult for young people to project themselves into a position, ”recalled Me Laguerre.
The barriers are not an obstacle for this precursor. In 2016, he also became the first black lawyer to be elected president of the Young Bar of Montreal, which brings together lawyers with less than 10 years of practice.
By his own admission, however, nothing destined him for such a journey. Born in Haiti, he arrived in Quebec, in the Granby region, at the age of 10.
“It was luck that I became a lawyer; rather, I wanted to become a police officer. At the Cégep de Granby, I took an introductory course in law, I found it interesting and I enrolled in law at the University of Sherbrooke ”, he confided.
After a first year at university that was a little too festive, he decided to move away from a region he knew too well, enrolling at Laval University in order to better concentrate on his studies. He then completed a master’s degree in taxation.
“After that, I said to myself that the best place to practice tax is in Montreal, since it is the economic heart of Quebec. That’s how I found myself in the metropolis, ”he revealed.
With his new responsibilities, he explains wanting to make the organization more visible. “I think that the Bar has an interest in expressing its voice to raise the level of the debate”, mentioned Me Laguerre, while qualifying that he does not wish “to play the opposition parties”.
He also indicates that he wants to work on the Bar’s strategic plan in order to give it a “clearer direction” in the future.