Arrived in Quebec in 2010, after training in law in France and Cameroon, Me Suzanne Taffot remembers very well when she was looking for an internship, after completing her equivalences at university and finishing her courses at the École du Barreau. After submitting many applications online, she had received no response.
“I made 100 copies of my CV, I took my cliques and my slaps and I walked on Sherbrooke and Notre-Dame streets, the streets where there are law firms, to introduce myself in person and do some “forcing”. “
His strategy finally paid off. She found an internship, with the lawyer Waïce Ferdoussi, and worked there for three years, thereafter.
“I remember it as if it were yesterday … The lawyer was surprised by the approach … that I had the balls to introduce myself like that!” She recalls, laughing.
It is by thinking back to his own journey strewn with pitfalls last summer, when the death of George floyd struck people’s minds and raised awareness about the treatment of black people in the West, which she ultimately decided to embark on.
“With the events of George Floyd, but also with the reports put online by the Bar and the Young Bar on access to the profession, on representativeness… I said to myself: this is a mission to which I owe myself to participate, to help there be more representativeness in the legal world, ”says Me Taffot.
She spoke about it with her colleague, Me Abla Kekeli Maglo, also a black lawyer who studied in France, who had the same thoughts as her. Me Maglo even speaks of a professional “love at first sight” … The two women have decided to join forces to create the Heritt firm.
And what does that mean, “Heritt”? These are the values of the firm, explain the two lawyers: hheritage, éfairness, rresilience, iintegrity, ttransparency and tenacity.
“For my part, I wanted to be able to participate in the establishment of models for those who come after us,” explains Me Maglo. It is difficult, when you are part of a minority, to have role models to cling to, to encourage us, to help us hold out, when sometimes, it is perhaps a little less easy than for others… “
Me Taffot, who is also an opera singer, explains that this firm is an opportunity for her to set an example for her sons.
“It’s saying, you can be whoever you want, later. You can be a partner in a big firm, and the big firm can be a black law firm… It is to set an example for the next generation, so that they can see themselves. “
Not enough black avocados
Because if black lawyers, there are not enough, in Quebec (according to the Young Bar of Montreal, lawyers from diverse backgrounds only represent 9.4% of members of the Quebec Bar), black partners … There are even fewer!
“We must name them, things, and precisely, 2020 allowed us to do it, believes Me Taffot. Representativeness matters, and unfortunately, I haven’t seen many, firms with black partners. “
If the Herrit firm has a clear mission to encourage the next generation resulting from diversity, it also wants to be open to all those who embrace the same values. But the first mission, insist the two partners, is to be sensitive to the needs of their customers, to listen to them “and to understand their journey”.
Me Taffot, Barreau 2013, specializes in immigration law, family law and civil law. Me Maglo, Bar 2016, specializes in health law, labor law, as well as family and civil law.
As they move into their new office at the start of February, they also wanted to mark Black History Month. From February 8 to 10, they are therefore offering free legal consultations!