Mtre Doris Larrivée

Mtre Doris Larrivée : Things always happen for a reason

By Gislaine Dufault, Communications Director
(Article published on April 30, 2019)

Mtre Doris Larrivée, the Executive Director of the Bar of Montreal, has announced her well-earned retirement after 27 years of loyal and faithful service. In order to highlight her outstanding contribution to the Bar of Montreal, Bâtonnier Michel P. Synnott will award her the Pierre-Fournier Prize at the Annual General Meeting to be held on May 8, 2019, at 5:30 p.m., in the Salle Jules-Deschênes (5.15) at the Montreal Courthouse. Everyone who would like to can express their good wishes to her and also sign the memory book prepared for her.

Her dream

As far back as she can remember, Doris’ childhood dream was to become a teacher. A gifted student, she did very well at school, ranking particularly high in mathematics. She therefore enrolled at Université de Sherbrooke to share her passion by becoming a math teacher.

However, scientific mathematics in university, which did not have anything to do with secondary school mathematics, proved to be less exciting than expected, along with the ensuing marks. She therefore turned toward a Bachelor’s degree in Administration, specializing in Human Resources Management, with the hope that this discipline, which had a teaching component, could make her old dream come true.

Things always happen for a reason, she will say.

In 1982, when the young graduate could not find anything in her field, she accepted a position that could be promising for her career, but which ended up making her doubt her career choice instead. But she was unstoppable. Courageously, Doris went back to university, but this time in law, intending to eventually provide business training in labour law and human resources.

In 1986, the young woman, with her law degree in hand, was recruited by McCarthy Tétrault. She set aside her old dream and started a career that she hoped would be rewarding at this large law firm. She spent three years there, practising in securities and real estate, but despite her best intentions, after a short stint with Ogilvy Renault (now Norton Rose Fulbright), she still had the impression of not being where she should be.

Law can take you anywhere

Fortunately, in tandem with her law practice and on the good advice of her mentor, the former Bâtonnier of the Bar of Montreal, Mtre Jules O. Duchesneau, Doris got involved upon being admitted to the Young Bar, where she was a director from 1988 to 1990, and treasurer in 1990-1991, and then moved on to the Bar of Montreal. It was in fact during a swearing-in ceremony, where she acted as a volunteer, that she learned that the Bar of Montreal was looking for an assistant to the executive director at the time, the late Mtre Maurice Boileau. Immediately, her blue eyes sparkled brilliantly. Do you think that …?

Things always happen for a reason, she will repeat.

Finally, the right place

So it was that in 1992, under Bâtonnier Alain Letourneau, Doris was hired as Assistant to the Executive Director. Being smart, she quickly learned the nuts and bolts of the Bar. Even though at the beginning, she stated that she did not have the flexibility required to become the executive director one day, she gradually achieved a certain maturity and, bit by bit, gained the wisdom passed on to her by her predecessor. Over the years, she has increasingly had the impression that she had finally found her place. With each successive bâtonnier, she forged a reputation of competency that largely exceeded the limits of the section.

Ten years and two children (Catherine and Charles) later, she was officially appointed the Executive Director by the Bâtonnier at the time, the present Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Right Honourable Richard Wagner.

For the current Bâtonnier, Mtre Michel P. Synnott, “Doris has been — and I believe that my predecessors would echo the sentiment — a veritable anchor for us all. Her corporate memory and valuable advice make her a first-class advisor. Through her support  and her legendary organizational skills, she is the one who makes the bâtonniers shine.” Doris has helped some 18 bâtonniers achieve their objectives, sometimes easily and sometimes with more difficulty, but always with the same unwavering commitment.

For the employees of the Bar of Montreal, Doris has been a dedicated, effective and efficient, sensitive and sincere boss, who does not necessarily say what she thinks but definitely thinks through what she says. If she tells you that she thinks you’re brilliant, she truly does. If she says that you have made a profound impression upon her, it is the truth. And if she doesn’t say anything… well then… that’s that!

The dream comes true… finally!

At the twilight of her admirable career, Mtre Larrivée has a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment. The Bar of Montreal has its new offices, the “Maison du Barreau”, the team in place is stable and Mtre Jack Chadirdjian, the new executive director, seems to be increasingly at ease in her shoes, provided, of course, that they are not high heels!

What is more, her prospective retirement has finally made her childhood dream come true because since April 15, she has been teaching her successor everything there is to know about this fine institution.

Things always happen for a reason, she would finally say.

Dear Doris, on behalf of the employees and all the members of the Bar of Montreal and the Judiciary who have benefited from your service, your wisdom and your invaluable advice, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks and wish you a very happy retirement.