YPDaily: Mike Anderson

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I’m an Associate with Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP in Calgary and specialize in wills and estates as well as residential real estate law. What this really means on a day-to-day basis is I meet with clients and give them advice in these areas, as well as draft documents (like legal wills) and facilitate the legal process requirements in estate administration and real estate. 

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
When I was articling with DBB, I was exposed to a broad range of areas, but the opportunity to work closely with clients who might be experiencing tough times (like in estate administration) or exciting times (like buying a new home) was a particular draw for me. I found this area of law to be more accessible to most people since we typically all have to deal with wills, estates, and often times real estate transactions. My dad was also an inspiration and has been a great mentor as he also practiced in this area. Growing up, I had a lot of family members who practiced law and they all were (and continue to be) great people, so I was surprised when I first encountered some of the negative stereotypes that people have of lawyers. I get where people are coming from – people often find themselves requiring the service of a lawyer for difficult things in their lives plus they then have to pay for it – so I feel compelled to change the perception people have of lawyers through my daily interactions with people on a personal and professional level.  

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Hands down the best part of my job is the client interaction and being able to offer people specialized knowledge and assistance to navigate situations and processes that can be very stressful. I see this a lot when people come in to complete their will; once the process is over, people are so relieved to have everything in order. 

The most challenging part of my job is managing clients’ expectations and making sure they leave the office feeling that they have been well taken care of. The fact that we are connected 24/7 through email and cell phones means that clients may expect immediate responses; however, depending on our case load, this isn’t always possible. At the same time, I want to make sure I’m respecting my duties to the profession. It’s a constant balancing act but so critical to ensure our clients are satisfied.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
I see myself practicing law in Calgary and developing a strong client base and expertise in my chosen areas. 

What does success look like to you?
Success, for me, is definitely more than just financial. On a professional level, it’s being able to demonstrate competency in your chosen area and being recognized by your peers as competent. Being able to shift the public’s perception of lawyers through positive client interactions is also important. On a personal level, my view of success is being a well-rounded individual who has good relationships with friends and family and strong involvement with the community. 

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I haven’t reached it yet! However, I definitely feel proud when my clients leave the office and I’ve felt that I’ve been able to deliver a positive experience. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
It’s so important to take the time to be aware of what’s going on at a local or international level. If you can, travel and stay in tune with the world around you. When you’re sitting in your office at 8pm stressed out about something that needs to get done, it’s easy to get caught up in your professional life and a certain mindset, but there is a much bigger picture out there.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you? 
I volunteer with Calgary Legal Guidance, which is an organization that provides legal services to people who can’t afford to pay for a lawyer and don’t qualify for Legal Aid. There’s a huge need and as someone with a unique and specialized skill set, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to help those who need these services.

What to you is notable?
Individuals who give freely and selflessly of their time, without the expectation of anything in return, are truly notable.