2009-2010 – Ms. Émée Landry


Référer le bon avocat (Referring the right lawyer)
Original French version written by Lisa Marie Noël

Émée Landry, who is in charge of the Referral Service, was initially very surprised to be designated as recipient of the Mérite of the Bar of Montréal. “I didn’t even know that you could be given that award without being a lawyer!” she responded when interviewed.  And yet she was unanimously selected by the members of the Council.  “Some 40 years ago the Bar of Montreal created the Referral Service, whose mission is to provide anyone who doesn’t know a lawyer the name of a colleague willing to provide an initial 30-minute consultation for $30,” explained Mtre Nicolas Plourde. Since October 15, 1984, this service has been managed by that rare jewel, Ms. Émée Landry.”

Initially, Ms. Madame Landry handled 2,500 requests annually, by telephone, mail or even in person.  She sometimes found herself sharing her office with whole families or people out of work and homeless, needing the services of a lawyer. She remembers the enormous Cardex file she would use to find a lawyer available to respond to requests.  Because of technological progress, she can now respond by telephone or email to more than 12,000 requests for referrals each year.

Bâtonnier Plourde noted her never-failing professionalism, empathy and courtesy.  “She has always deeply felt the pain and the distress of those seeking her help.  And yet, despite the sadness often generated by those consulting her to obtain justice, she always succeeds in performing her duties in a remarkable way.  She leaves the office at the end of the day with a smile on her lips and the true feeling of having helped,” declared Mtre Plourde.

“I feel a little like a psychologist,” Ms. Landry reveals. “I try to listen as if it was my own brother or sister at the other end of the line.”  Before taking her position in the Referral Service, Émée Landry taught for ten years in an elementary school in a village in New Brunswick.  She then moved to Montréal, where she became a legal secretary.  “I consider myself very spoiled by working for the Bar of Montreal for all these years,” the recipient concluded.