The Bright Side of Business bimonthly column is presented by Star Motors.
Three years before the pandemic forced the legal industry to move online, Bree Jamieson-Holloway had already opened a virtual law firm – her very first business, launched at the age of 31.
Even as a child, Jamieson-Holloway always knew she wanted to help people, but “I didn't really know, at an early age, how I was going to (do that),” she says.
Eventually, she found her calling as a lawyer.
Today, Jamieson-Holloway’s firm, Jamieson Law, helps clients with all aspects of corporate law from employment to commercial leasing, as well as offering wills and estates law.
On top of giving her team more control over their schedules, going virtual makes legal services more efficient, allowing her to give clients better service while charging lower fees, Jamieson-Holloway says.
After studying at the University of Ottawa, Jamieson-Holloway got a scholarship to study international relations and business in the U.K. Following a stint at a large international law firm in London, she moved to Hong Kong in 2012 before going back to England.
Despite building a successful career in the U.K., Jamieson-Holloway felt she was a “small pawn in a big wheel of patriarchy.” Referring to her racial background, she adds, “I don't look like I'm mixed-race, so I think in some ways, that played into my ability to obtain opportunities which maybe I wouldn't have achieved otherwise.”
After becoming pregnant with her first child, Jamieson-Holloway and her husband, who she’d met in England, decided to move back to Canada.
Returning to Ottawa, Jamieson-Holloway had to build her professional network from scratch – but her entrepreneurial mindset and interest in technology gave her the ideal springboard to opening her own firm.
In 2017, Jamieson-Holloway launched Jamieson Law, founding her business on the values of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as transparency, compassion and trust. For her clients, she says that means offering them easy access to documents and transparency in terms of fees so “they're not guessing at what their bill is going to be.”
Looking back, Jamieson-Holloway says that launching her own boutique law firm was “intimidating, nerve-wracking, terrifying – but it was also really exhilarating.”
In the first year, the Jamieson Law team consisted of Jamieson-Holloway herself and one assistant. After she went on quasi-maternity leave in 2019 and worked part-time for six months, the firm began steadily growing its roster of clients.
“That was a really powerful feeling as a woman to realize that I could be a mother, and I could still grow a successful business,” she says.
Today, the firm has a staff of six and is still growing. While the team is currently all women, Jamieson-Holloway says this wasn’t by design.
“I want Jamieson Law to feel accessible to everyone,” she says.
The law firm experienced consistent growth throughout the pandemic – something Jamieson-Holloway she wasn’t expecting, considering there’s usually an ebb and flow of clients in contract law.
Despite this, Jamieson-Holloway has a great deal of sympathy for businesses that have been hit hard by COVID: her other entrepreneurial venture, an in-home service-based platform, had to close in 2020.
But when it comes to her law firm, Jamieson-Holloway has big plans for the future.
“We'd like to develop into a prominent international law firm (while) maintaining that boutique-size and feel,” she says, allowing her team to really get to know their clients. “(It’s) so crucial for humankind that businesses recognize that connection is so important.”
The Bright Side of Business is an editorial feature focused on sharing positive stories of business success.
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