Interacting with your clients, asserting your skills, dealing with the inevitable mistakes, standing out from the competition… Here are eight keys to a successful career start.
A notary since 1991, Mtre Marie-France Bélisle, partner at Bélisle Lafleur Notaries, has been welcoming interns to her office for fifteen years. Here are some tips she gives to those starting out in the profession.
The human dimension is essential in the work of a notary. He must be attentive to the requests of each client, and also lead him to shed light on areas that are in the shadows. “It is often necessary to dig to help him express himself on subjects he does not dare talk about. A loan he gave to a child without telling anyone else, for example,” says Mtre Bélisle.
- Stand firm
Do clients question your skills due to your youthful age? Don’t let them intimidate you. “You have to stand firm and provide supporting evidence: quote the law, present examples when possible,” the notary says. You are the expert!
- Admit ignorance
It may be tempting to hide a hole in your knowledge. But not having an answer to everything is human! “It’s better to be honest and say it will take some research, rather than losing a client because of a bad answer,” says Mtre Bélisle.
- Acknowledge mistakes… and fix them
“No one is infallible,” points out Marie-France Bélisle. “If you make a mistake, you just have to take a deep breath, step back and find a solution. There always is one!”
- Take whatever time it takes…
“I always say that our product is not the legal document, it’s the time,” says Mtre Marie-France Bélisle. Time is needed to build a relationship of trust with the client, to write a will that matches his needs or to carefully examine the property deeds so the sale of a building takes place without a hitch.
- Put yourself in the client’s shoes
This is a piece of advice the notary received from her father, who practised the profession himself for 50 years: “He always told me not to be above clients. You have to talk to them in a way that is understandable but is not condescending.”
- Specialize to stand out
“Although a young notary wants to stand out from his competitors, he cannot remain a generalist. He must develop a speciality. In commercial law or in estates, for example,” says the partner at Bélisle Lafleur Notaries.
- Be involved in your community
To develop your network, there’s nothing like community involvement, Mtre Bélisle believes. “You can join chambers of commerce, boards of directors, sports clubs and even give talks. It’s the best way to get known.”