Mtre Magali Fournier

The Merit of The Bar of Montreal gets a new name
Magali Fournier to receive the Pierre Fournier Award

By Gislaine Dufault, Communications Director
(Article published on April 5, 2018)

To pay tribute to the late Pierre Fournier, a former Bâtonnier and valued collaborator who died suddenly last year, the Council has decided to give his name to the Merit of The Bar of Montreal, an award that he himself received in 2005 in recognition of his exceptional contribution to The Bar of Montreal. The first recipient of this prestigious distinction could be none other than his daughter, Magali Fournier, who has followed in his footsteps in every way.

Bâtonnier Brian R. Mitchell will therefore have the honour of presenting the Pierre Fournier Award to Magali Fournier at the annual general meeting on May 9, 2018. “After serving with Magali on the Council and on various committees, I’m well aware of how dedicated she is to her bar association. She is always prepared and does the job on time with discipline and professionalism. With her enthusiasm and courtesy, she is always someone very pleasant to work with,” says Bâtonnier Mitchell.

Admitted to the Bar in 1996, Magali Fournier is a litigation lawyer with Brouillette Legal Inc., where she works in various fields of law, from civil and commercial litigation to more specialized areas, such as intellectual property litigation.

Veterinarius vs Advocatus

At the age of 7, little Magali was faced with a choice: should she be a vet or a lawyer when she grew up? It was not until grade 10 that she made her choice. In fact, she used the process of elimination following a particularly complex trigonometry exam! She opted for the legal profession. Her success in local Optimist Club public speaking contests, in which she had participated since primary school, showed that she had the necessary skills to become a lawyer. Class president in high school and vice-president of the student association at her university, her student career prepared her for a professional career in which involvement and dedication would be of central importance.

Inspiring parents

Her parents, Marthe Perron and the late Pierre Fournier, both lawyers, shared a common trait of never giving up. For Magali, “this was the most importance legacy they left us, the determination to get to the bottom of things, to do our very best.” It is worth mentioning that her older sister, Mtre Anouk Fournier, received the Merit of The Bar of Montreal in 2008.

When it was time for university, Magali chose Ottawa. She wanted to perfect her English, but above all, she wanted to lead an independent and self-sufficient life within the budget that she had carefully prepared… in secret. Her father Pierre, a McGill alumnus, expected that his daughter would also go to McGill. Knowing very well that no argument would help her win this case—arguing for her independence risked being dismissed, with expenses—, she falsely claimed that she had applied to McGill. She never regretted her decision to go to Ottawa and has wonderful memories of her years in the national capital. As for the little white lie, she did admit it to her father a few years later, after softening him up with a few glasses of wine first!

Chivalry and dedication

When Magali was admitted to the Bar, it was her father, as First Councillor, who administered the oath. He was bursting with pride as he hugged her that day. The following year, when he became Bâtonnier, he called on Magali to help build the section’s data processing network. She had just written the first page in a long and beautiful story.

Magali has an extensive track record with The Bar of Montreal. “My father,” she recalls, “felt that it was our duty to get involved in our profession.” From the start of her career, she joined various committees and the Council, where she served as Young Bar representative, advisor, first councillor and, 18 years after her father, Bâtonnier.

The idea of renaming the Merit in honour of Pierre Fournier just came to Doris Larrivée, Executive Director, along with the thought that the first person to receive it had to be Magali. “The word dedication must have been invented for the Fourniers,” says Mtre Larrivée. “When I think of Magali, many of her wonderful qualities come to mind, but the first is without a doubt her boundless dedication.”

As for the employees of The Bar of Montreal, privileged witnesses of the father’s sense of dedication (he was regularly called on to be a volunteer, mentor, speaker, actor, juror, etc.), they were very glad that the daughter (regularly called on to be a volunteer, mentor, speaker, actor, juror, etc.) would be the first recipient of the Pierre Fournier Award!

Over the years and parallel to her involvement with The Bar of Montreal, Magali has been involved with the Young Bar, the Barreau du Québec, Éducaloi, the Canadian Bar Association, the Centre communautaire juridique de Montréal, Air Cadets Squadron 613 Saint-Jean/Iberville and the Fondation Jutras-Geoffroy. She even finds time for horseback riding, another passion she inherited from her father, adding new meaning to the term “chivalrous”.

Work-life balance

With the unflagging support of her beloved partner Louis-Philippe Pleau, this mother of four manages to juggle all her commitments. “I have the immense privilege of being supported and being able to rely on family,” says Magali, who is grateful for the help she has received from her close-knit family in some difficult times.

According to the Honourable Marie Deschamps, C.C., Ad. E., “Magali is a model for women who are seeking to reconcile work and family. A huge challenge she has been able to meet with the spirit and the little smile she is known for, while dealing calmly and confidently with demands that most people would find irreconcilable: a child’s hockey practice, someone’s birthday, an injunction to be prepared and a defence to be produced.”

To honour the exceptional contribution made by this dedicated lawyer, whose energy is equalled only by her sense of duty, the Council of The Bar of Montreal, with the support of the Conference of former Bâtonniers, has decided to present to her the Pierre Fournier Award of The Bar of Montreal.

Mtre Fournier, dear Magali, on behalf of The Bar of Montreal, its employees and its 15,000 members, but also on behalf of the many people who have benefited from your kindness and generosity, from the bottom of all our hearts, thank you!