Jennifer Bernardo’s passage to Associate at Baker McKenzie was not your traditional trajectory. During her joint law and Masters degree from the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Jennifer had the opportunity to engage in an international internship. Her interest in labour and employment led her to opt for a placement, sponsored by Baker McKenzie, in the Employers’ Bureau at the International Labour Organization. Wanting to learn more,  Jennifer applied for a summer student position and articled with the firm, becoming an Associate in the summer of 2015.

Jennifer Bernardo

“It’s  a huge honour to be recognized.” Jennifer shared. “It’s particularly fulfilling to know that our clients are satisfied with the work I’m doing and that the quality of my legal services is recognized and appreciated. Because we’re in a client service industry, client comments and endorsements are important to me. When you’re starting out, there’s a steep learning curve and apprehension about whether you’re meeting expectations. I think this kind of recognition from the firm and clients helps junior lawyers feel seen and valued. It tells us that what we’re doing is working and encourages us to keep doing well.”

Last month, Legal 500 recognized Jennifer as a Rising Star in labour and employment law. Every year, the Legal 500 highlights practitioners and teams who provide the most cutting edge and innovative advice to corporate counsel. Their research is based on feedback from 300,000 clients worldwide, submissions from law firms and interviews with leading private practice lawyers, and a team of researchers who have unrivalled experience in the legal market. Clients hailed Jennifer as ‘exceptionally bright’ alongside George Avraam, who chairs the North American Employment and Compensation Law practice group and was noted for his broad trial and appellate litigation practice.

Jennifer recognizes the legal profession requires a lifetime commitment to learning, especially as a junior lawyer. “I recognize there’s a balance to be struck between having confidence in your work and abilities, and having the humility to recognize that you’re still learning and need to be open to feedback. You only learn by doing in this profession – you do have to put in the work.” She shares. “On the flip side – the beauty of being a junior lawyer is that everything is an opportunity. Many things come across my desk that I haven’t seen before, or I’ve never had a chance to delve into. It means I’m always learning and developing new skills. Baker as a firm and the Toronto office specifically has been great in allowing me to explore things I find interesting, whether it’s training, attending business development opportunities or doing public speaking engagements. I  investing in new skills is strongly valued and it means that I’ll only continue to grow.”

Please follow the links below to learn more about Jennifer and the Legal 500.  

Jennifer Bernardo:
The Legal 500: