Join a firm… as a notary?
It is the choice of Pascale villani, who joined BCF Business Lawyers in 2008 as part of her notarial internship.
At the time, this was a first in the history of the firm.
She explains her choice to Droit-inc. Interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What prompted you to become a notary?
My journey to the notary’s office was a bit of luck. I did not decide to become a notary by going to study law: I wanted to become a lawyer.
At the University of Montreal, I did my full baccalaureate before taking part in the internship race in third years. I then obtained an internship at BCF in 2008 to become a lawyer. It was during my first summer as an intern that I met the firm’s team of notaries. I fell in love professionally with the team and the team members, especially Julie loranger.
I then made the request to cancel my registration for the Bar courses in order to register for the diploma of notarial studies. They accepted that I take the leap, both at the University of Montreal and at BCF. This is the first time that he has taken on a notarial intern.
This is how I became a notary: it is by meeting people, and by changing lanes at the end of my studies.
According to you, what explains this love at first sight?
I think it was a mix of the people who work in our team. At the time, there were three other experienced notaries, who are luminaries in notarial law and who have a passion for the complex files of our clients. They really shared their passion, their ardor, their intensity with me.
It was also a mixture of extremely interesting files, with an extremely personal aspect, which really came to my empathetic fiber. To share difficult or easy or happy moments in the lives of our clients, that’s really what attracted me.
The complexity of the files, the beauty of the clients and their families, then the people on our team, in short.
You have now been a notary at BCF for 13 years, and a partner since January 2020. What do you do concretely, as a notary, within the firm?
It depends on the firm. In our case, we are six notaries in the heritage protection team.
The Wealth Protection team was created at the time to serve the complex and personal needs of our business clients. They were current clients in the corporate or tax team, who had personal needs such as their will, their mandate of incapacity, their marriage contract or their trust.
The goal of our team and the whyis to support our clients, already at BCF, or to attract clients with complex needs, and to align our documents with those that already exist. If there is, for example, a trust that already exists, I will look at it and make sure the will makes sense. If there is a shareholders’ agreement, I will make sure to tie it up and speak with his advisers from our corporate team to make sure that there are no catastrophes that occur upon death.
That’s kind of what we do: the continuous support of our clients during their lifetime, and sometimes after their death.
Are you pursuing a specific objective for the coming year, in particular for notarial law at BCF?
The Bureau has experienced tremendous growth over the past ten years. We have very interesting clients, families with growing needs and increasingly complex needs.
My role, as part of the succession of the notarial team, is to ensure the succession for its clients and their families. It is about making the link with our customers and their children to take care of the sustainability of our relationship with them.
Myself, on a personal level, I would like to continue building the next generation by having young people myself (Editor’s note: notaries at the firm). I want to continue training young people, continue to give conferences and trainings.
It is to continue, in short, on the good momentum, that which characterizes the office for several years.
You speak of growth, of good momentum… I understand that more and more notaries are choosing to practice in a firm. What do you think can explain this?
I believe that notaries, traditionally, practiced a lot on their own before specializing in certain very specific fields, such as real estate and human rights in general.
The appeal of working in a law firm, or in a multidisciplinary team, is having quick access to all kinds of people, including tax specialists, corporate law specialists, litigation specialists, etc. This allows to have their feelings when a file turns partially sour.
It’s really the access, and the ability to offer customers that portfolio of options. I don’t always use the keys in my wallet, but sometimes they are very useful. So there is the multidisciplinary aspect, which is very, very simple and which improves our service.
Finally, it is also the beauty of having an HR team, an administrative team, people in charge of invoicing, the techno team… In short, teams that keep the office going rather than a notary who exercises solo and has to take care of everything.
The pleasant side is really having a team behind us, a team that works with us, in addition to international contacts through the strength of the network.
In closing, where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I would like BCF to be the benchmark for personal planning and estate liquidation.
I would also like us to have a good succession – which I already have, with young notaries – but also to continue to have good acquisitions at this level, in addition to forging links with our tax team. Our goal is really to ensure sustainability with our clients, and to continue to offer them permanent solutions for their personal needs.