Mtre Julie Mousseau


Mtre Julie Mousseau : Building for the future
By Mélanie Dugré, lawyer
(Article issued on April 7, 2016)


http://www.barreaudemontreal.qc.ca/images/infolettre/FigureMaitre/SOLLOWAY_Ian.jpgThis year, the Merit of The Bar of Montreal is being awarded to Mtre Julie Mousseau, as a tribute to her long-standing commitment to the Bar and the time and effort she has devoted to various committees over the years. Says Bâtonnière Magali Fournier: “Since 1998, Julie Mousseau has sat on and chaired numerous committees without interruption. Because she has always been able to improve the activities in which she takes part, I am very pleased to honour her for the important work she has done for the Bar.”

Studying law came naturally to this woman of great drive and determination. The daughter of a notary who strongly encouraged his children to follow in his footsteps, Julie was nonetheless not very enthused about the theoretical aspects of law taught within the walls of the Université de Montréal. Her love for the law did not come right away, but struck her like a thunderbolt once she got immersed in her practice after being admitted to the Bar in 1994. She started out at Malo Dansereau, the nominal partnership where she had articled, a place where she learned everything from the ground up, from office management to making major strategic decisions in a variety of complex files. Julie considers that those first years of practice taught her how to be versatile, as she worked in family law matters as well as civil and commercial litigation, and even spent some time at municipal court.

Then Julie Mousseau switched over to Justice Canada in January 2002, more specifically the Tax Litigation Directorate, where she can still be found 14 years later. From being widely diversified, her practice came to focus on a much more specialized field in which the files are still all very different, an essential ingredient for a lawyer who thrives on challenge and getting out of her comfort zone. Terrified of being labelled “the tax lady,” she is discreet about the nature of her duties, although she will say that she finds her work fulfilling and that she enjoys serving alongside the 15 lawyers who form the team.

Julie Mousseau candidly recalls that she was the one who approached Gislaine Dufault more than 16 years ago about offering her time and her services to The Bar of Montreal. First, she joined the Liaison with the Public Committee and the Comité des conférences d’or, which organized lectures for seniors. From 1999 to 2005, she chaired this committee before joining the committee for the Salon Visez Droit from 2005 to 2009 and the Debating Competition Committee. Driven by her constant search for versatility and diversity, she took the reins of the latter committee in 2010. She is impressed by the great generosity of the Bar members who work on the committee, where there is always much to be done and many interesting people to meet. Julie Mousseau speaks with affection about the colleagues she works with and mentions that although not every contact turns into a friendship, close ties are formed as a result of shared experiences on the committee.

The team at The Bar of Montreal is amazed at Mtre Mousseau’s incredible energy and sense of organization. She sees all, hears all, notes all and learns from it all. Every detail is subject to her keen scrutiny. She is meticulous, something that makes an enormous difference, and which enables her, from year to year, to introduce changes and improvements to the committee’s structure and how it operates.

In 2011, Julie orchestrated the merging of the Debating Competition Committee and the Write for Justice Committee, an annual essay contest open to elementary and secondary school students on the island of Montreal. This was a major challenge, because they were very much two separate entities at the time. But under Julie’s supervision, the merging of the two committees went ahead smoothly, and the Chair made sure that every member had a chance to speak and to have his or her point of view heard and respected. And because the apple never falls far from the tree, The Bar of Montreal can also count on invaluable input from Louise Mousseau, Julie’s mother, a retired teacher whose sage advice has helped to expand the Write for Justice contest.

Julie Mousseau’s priority as Chair of the Contests Committee is to make sure that the committee is inclusive and offers all its members an equal opportunity to take part in the different stages in the competitions, such as attending the debates or the awards ceremony, or visiting the courthouse with the winners. She says she is often very surprised at the themes chosen by the committee, but always thrilled to see the final product delivered by students during the debates or in their opinion pieces.

Julie Mousseau is not sure about her future on the Contests Committee. Should she give someone else a chance, or stay on a little longer for her own enjoyment? That is the burning question. But one thing is for certain: if she leaves her position, she is unlikely to go very far away, because serving on committees is what energizes her to take advantage of unique opportunities to build and develop projects as a team. Working with others, firmly convinced that they are moving in the same direction together, with a common goal, is like a breath of fresh air to her, giving her a break from the world of litigation, which by its very nature constantly puts her in opposition to others in the course of her professional duties.

So don’t be concerned: if you don’t see Julie Mousseau on the Contests Committee, she will not have gone far because of her great attachment to The Bar of Montreal.