Feeling Displaced

  • December 01, 2021

Dear Advy,

I recently moved to a new province for love. Leaving my well-established practice in BC for a small city across the country has been an adjustment but I am very happy to have a new healthy baby (my first child). Still, it has been hard and stressful to find my career in a smaller city in addition to taking care of a little baby. I would like to grow my network and to find a mentor, but I do not even know where to start. I also do not trust myself at all to promote myself. How can I improve myself to make myself known in the local community?

Feeling Displaced

Dear Feeling Displaced,

First off, I deeply commend your bravery! I am confident that your courageous spirit will prevail. However, it is understandable that these and new changes will present new challenges. In terms of isolation on a personal level, have you considered the following:

  1. Check your local public library for events. They often have programming for parents and young children. This may also provide an opportunity to meet other parents and children in your community.
  2. Volunteering for something that you have an interest in or joining a Board of Directors.
  3. Online there may be a social media group of others in your city or town that have moved from British Columbia or who share similar hobbies.

Professionally, some networking opportunities that may be in your area include:

  1. Join a CBA Section. It is a great way to network and get to know other members!
  2. Join a professional group on social media – there are many Women Lawyers groups on Facebook, for example.
  3. Your local Bar Association may have cocktail hours and hosting in-person conferences/events.
  4. Your provincial Legal Assistance Program may offer coaching and mentorship programs.

Marketing oneself is not something lawyers are taught in law school and does not come naturally to most people. Here are some tips:

  1. Take some time to self-reflect and develop a list of your core values. It’s important to define what you are trying to do with your practice so people can understand how you would be a great addition to a firm or how you can help them as a client
  2. You may wish to consider leadership courses. These can be a good way to build confidence and provide an additional way to network.
  3. If you face language barriers in your new town, there are many online courses to improve your language skills. Some Provincial Governments even offer basic French classes, for example.
  4. You could join your local chamber of commerce to meet other professionals in your area.

I certainly hope this helps. All the best in your new endeavours.

Be well.