Joyce Mitchell Profiled by The Calgary Herald

By Jacqueline Louie, for The Calgary Herald

From the time she was a teenager, Joyce Mitchell knew she wanted to be a lawyer.

It was in Grade 11, when she took a course in law and watched a trial at the B.C. Supreme Court, that she was hooked.

“I really liked the idea of being an advocate. I tend to be a bit argumentative and like to win, so all of those things together made it seem appealing to me,” says Mitchell, who is a partner at McLennan Ross, where she specializes in management-side labour and employment law.

She is also a member of the executive committee that runs McLennan Ross, which has offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Yellowknife.

Born in Pittsburgh, Penn., Mitchell grew up in the Vancouver area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminology from Simon Fraser University and a law degree from the University of Victoria. She was called to the bar more than 20 years ago.

Mitchell, who moved to Calgary in 2003 to start the labour and employment practice of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, has been with McLennan Ross since 2008.

In her practice, Mitchell deals with any kind of issue that could arise in an employment relationship, doing everything from drafting contracts and employment policies to conducting harassment investigations, handling human rights complaints, conducting arbitrations under collective agreements and preparing employee severance packages.

How would you describe yourself?
A highly focused person, driven in trying to achieve whatever goals I set for myself. I enjoy all aspects of what I do — work and family.

What was your first job?
I started working in high school as a waitress and had several serving jobs over the years. It’s how I put myself through my undergraduate degree and ultimately law school.

What attracted you to your area of specialization?
I always knew I wanted to be a litigator. I was always attracted to the role of being an advocate and was lucky enough to be exposed to the labour and employment area early on.

What’s the best part of your job?
The ongoing client relationships. Labour and employment is a practice area in which you tend to work with your clients on a very regular basis, in all aspects of the employment relationship they have with their employees.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Trying to exceed your client’s expectations on an ongoing basis. You want to maximize the outcome for the client in the best way you can.

What makes a good lawyer?
A good lawyer has to be detail oriented, hard working and inquisitive. Particularly if you are in a litigation type of practice, you have to be able to see all sides of an issue.

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