A year ago, I launched Erin O’Rourke Law with the goal of making ends meet until the fall when first-year associate job postings were likely to be posted. Today, I am proud to celebrate one year in business. This year has been a year of tremendous growth both professionally and personally. 

There have been many highlights throughout my first year both as a lawyer and running my own firm. Some of these highlights include becoming conditionally empaneled with the Refugees and Immigration General Standards Legal Aid Panel, becoming a member of the Immigration Detention Review Program, hiring a summer law student through the Canada Summer Jobs Program, and being named a finalist for the The Reisman Award Best New Law Firm 2021. I have also had the opportunity to co-host and co-produce a legal podcast, Off the Tracks, which explores what it means to do law differently. 

I am incredibly thankful for the welcoming community of solo legal practitioners who have kept me connected virtually. The support and guidance from other solo lawyers has been foundational to my success. 

I have found joy in the freedom of running my own practice. As my own boss, I am able to work during the hours I am most productive, take a random day off to hike with my partner when I need to clear my head, and enjoy my morning cup of coffee and a good book before diving into work. This flexibility allows me to be the best version of myself, which in turn benefits my clients as I can consistently show up rested, sharp, and ready to be a fierce yet compassionate advocate. 

Of course this year has not been without challenges; but each hurdle has taught me something new about practicing law, running a business, and myself. There have been days when I questioned whether opening my own firm was the "right” decision. Imposter syndrome has snuck in and gotten the best of me at times.  Learning the business side of law at the same time as developing my substantive knowledge of the law has been a learning curve. I am proud of all I have learned over the past year and I am well prepared to face any new challenges that this next year will offer me. 

One thing that has remained constant throughout this entire year is my belief in myself. When I launched this firm directly after articling, I knew it was a big risk but a risk worth taking. If I could give anyone a single piece of advice based on my first year in business it would be: always bet on yourself. Thank you to everyone who has believed in me, cheered me on, mentored me, and referred me clients. I am so grateful for the support of my family, friends, and community. Here’s to another year. 

Erin O'Rourke

Lawyer interested in human rights, labour/employment & immigration/refugee law.

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