Canada: Advancing Your Career Beyond McCarthy Tétrault
Last Updated: July 23 2015

We recently welcomed Janet Hoyt to our Firm to launch our new Career Advancement Office (CAO) earlier this year. The CAO is dedicated to assisting our lawyers in development and advancement both within the firm and in exploring opportunities outside of the Firm, including with our clients. As the legal industry changes we understand each lawyer's career development will be unique and, as a result, we want to make sure our lawyers are given the ability to explore as many opportunities as possible. As the CAO evolves, it will broaden to assist alumni and other friends of the firm.

We are the first law firm to create an office, with the goals described above, in Canada. As the practice of law and our Firm continue to grow, we recognize that to remain a leader, the Firm needs to provide leadership in, not only developing its talent, but also in helping and facilitating career advancement. We are a diverse group with diverse career interests and we understand the importance of fostering strong relationships, both inside and outside of the Firm. We are committed to ensuring lawyers who join McCarthy Tétrault get the very best experience and career support available throughout their careers.

We hope that the CAO will become a valuable resource for our lawyers and demonstrates our ongoing support and investment in our people. The office will be an independent and safe place to have confidential conversations about your careers whether your longer term aspirations are within or outside of the Firm. This initiative has been developing for some time but required a unique individual like Janet to manage its mandate.

To get to know Janet a bit better, we asked her:

What is the Career Advancement Office?

To McCarthy Tétrault's credit, the Firm's leadership recognized that they can and should do more to better support their lawyers achieve their career aspirations, whatever they may be. I have been retained as an independent resource to help with this effort. It is such a thoughtful and innovative initiative and I am very proud to be part of it.

What inspired you to transition from being a transactional lawyer to working in Career Advancement?

I talk a lot about the importance of career planning, something I did not do as a young lawyer. I was a bit of a stumbler in my early years. I wanted to be a litigator but was offered a corporate spot after articling and as a young lawyer, I did not have the courage to make the transition. Now it all worked out as my stumbling led me to Toronto and to the opportunity to lead all the lawyer talent initiatives at Torys which I did very happily and successfully for 16 years. It was a great job for me. I love people – I like meeting people and helping people succeed. Career counseling and coaching was what I most enjoyed so I decided to return to school last year (after 30 years which was no easy feat!) to become an executive/professional coach. And here I am at McCarthy Tétrault and I am very excited to be here.

What piece of advice were you given by a mentor that made a lasting impact?

The most successful lawyers are those who are able to attract the best and the brightest talent AND are able to build loyal and engaged teams. It is all about teamwork and collaboration. You want to become known as someone others want to work with.

What advice would you give an aspiring lawyer today?

ENGAGE! Embrace "stretch" assignments, give people more than they expect, and have a plan. Don't stumble from file to file like many lawyers do. AND become a great mentor and collaborator. Following up on what I said earlier, your reputation is everything!

What inspires you most every day?

My work! People inspire me, honesty inspires me, strength of character inspires me. Every day I have the pleasure (and honour) of influencing, empowering, challenging (call it what you want) people to be bold, to be honest, to think out-of-the-box and to think big, and I get to help them build a strategy to get them there. I really do have the most wonderful job.

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