I have had the great pleasure of job shadowing Ms. Bevin Worton,
along with chatting with two of her colleagues and friends, Mr. Robert Sampson, also from the Department of Justice
and Major Trevor McLeod, who is a lawyer for the Judge Advocate General (aka JAG).
Ms. Worton’s job is very interesting. Take a look:
Bevin Worton’s main job is legal counsel with the Department of Justice. Home practice with the Law Management division, focusing on dispute resolution (DR) and its policies and tools. She deals with issues such as working on treaties with Aboriginal peoples or groups, giving advice on DR provisions on contracts and looking at commercial law contracts and giving legal advice on commercial arbitration. Currently, she is one of the experts dealing with the Federal Commercial Arbitration Act (a law that governs all arbitrations with Federal involvement, both within Canada, and internationally). This does not include NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) for example, but if there is a disagreement about trades between a company and a client (which can also be another company), and both sides agree to settle it by arbitration instead of going to court, those issues she deals with. The arbitration acts differ depending on the jurisdiction (legal power involved) and the laws related to the matter in hand, so she needs to alter her take on the issue depending, and the procedure thereof.
As a “vacation job,” as Ms. Worton puts it, she is on secondment with the Professional Development Division and Continuing Legal Education Program within that division. This involves much more program management (instead of giving legal advice). She teaches other lawyers how to further progress their knowledge of the Canadian legal system and professional practices for lawyers (which applies everywhere except Newfoundland and Nunavut, where continuing education on legal matters is not required). She helps coordinate such courses and keeps everything cool. Currently, she is teaching Advanced Negotiations for people working in the Public Service. But, the most recurring aspect of this job is project management.
Overall, the main aspects of these jobs are legal advisory and policy work.
Having job-shadowed Ms. Bevin Worton, along with discussing other aspects of law with Mr. Robert Sampson and Major Trevor McLeod, I have discovered that the field of law is extremely extensive. Ms. Worton and Mr. Sampson, who both work for the Department of Justice, have shown that intuition and personal motivation are of the highest priority when looking into becoming a lawyer, because one doesn’t know where he or she may end up–therefore, one must be determined enough to still survive through some of the most tedious tasks known to man in order to advance in one’s standing to the federal government. For Ms. Worton, communication is key, as she needs to be able to rely on many different people for information that would otherwise be impossible for her to acquire.
In contrast, Mr. Sampson is at the moment preparing judges for hearings, as well as articling (creating reports and articles) for various court cases–of which he can be dealing with three or four at a time–sorting through provided evidence and analyzing whether the claims make sense or not: this can sometimes be very interesting, but at other times painstakingly boring. At the moment, he is involved with cases regarding intellectual property (i.e. copyright, patents, trademarks, etc.).
With regards to Major McLeod, who is a lawyer for the Judge Advocate General (which is part of the Canadian Forces–not part of the Department of Justice), he deals with international law. He has been sent all over the world, from the Congo to Afghanistan to hold ad hoc tribunals (which are tribunals run by international corporations, such as the UN) about whether a military action of sorts is a war crime or not.
These are very nice, interesting people, and I would like to once again state how much of a privilege I have had meeting them.