Meet Jessica Lewis (JD ’15), the newest member of the Allard School of Law Alumni Assocation Board. Like many Board members, Jessica felt compelled to give back to the Allard School of Law community after she graduated and looked to the Board for that opportunity. When a spot opened, she jumped at the chance to join.
Just a few months into her role she has already enjoyed welcoming new JD students through the Alumni Association’s Orientation Banquet and is looking forward to many other events, including the annual trivia night for 3Ls.
Jessica joined Bennett Jones LLP in 2016 just two years after they established their first Vancouver office. It was a unique opportunity to be part of a prestigious national firm, but in a smaller, growing office. “Because the Vancouver office is growing, they also want you to grow, and their investment in you as a young professional is substantial,” she said. “Your success becomes the office’s success. I was given new opportunities, and it seemed like the best fit for where I wanted to take my career next.”
One of those opportunities has been contributing to the firm’s financial technology (FinTech) prioroties. After hearing about FinTech at a meeting in Toronto, she learned of a conference on the topic coming to Vancouver. She asked the managing partner if she could attend and “figure it out” and was encouraged to learn everything she could. “Since then, the firm has pinpointed technology as a nation-wide initiative that they wanted to get behind, and I’ve been able to be a part of the group meetings in Calgary and Toronto and contribute to the FinTech growth plan,” she explained.
To date, her career highlight is having her first opportunity to speak in court. “I had been doing research on one particular point and came up with a unique argument,” she explained. “I presented my research to the lawyer on the case, and two days before going to court, she asked if I would be willing to present my argument in court, as I should be given the opportunity to do so if I was interested. I was able to successfully argue my point in court!”
Reflecting on her time at Allard Hall, Jessica highlights the friends she made—many of whom she is still in contact with daily—as the best part of her experience, and encourages current students to connect with and rely on their fellow students. This sense of community is a big part of why she is proud to be a new Board member and encourages anyone interested to get involved. “Many hands make light work, and the Board is happy to have engaged individuals become involved with the Alumni Association,” she said.
This interview was first published in the September 2017 edition of the Peter A. Allard School of Law Alumni Newsletter.