Darren Smith

Darren Smith
Grad Year: 
Social Science, Education & Religion
Himelfarb Proszanski LLP

Q: Briefly describe your current position and responsibilities, including challenges/rewards. How did you go about your job search upon graduating -- what strategies were most successful and why do you think you were hired?

My practice of law focuses on commercial and civil litigation. My responsibilities include client management, file management, dealing with the courts and other lawyers and obtaining the best results possible for our clients. Challenges are plentiful and include tight timelines, client expectations, professional demands and the constant state of learning. Rewards happen when I get a favourable decision in court or reach a resolution for my clients.

But, the best rewards happen when the client tells you that you actually made a difference for them. This doesn't happen very often but, when it does, it makes all the stress and pressure worth while. Much of my responsibility now includes client development, in addition to practicing law. I network with a global association of law firms and continuously work on developing relationship and marketing our firm with businesses and other law firms here in Canada and worldwide.

Q: List the key positions you have held since graduation, and any post-graduate degrees/diplomas you earned after graduation. If applicable, list any other ways you are involved in your profession or in your community (member of a professional association, involved as a leadership volunteer, etc).

I am involved with various trade commissions and chambers of industry. I am also involved in professional associations such as the ADR Ontario and the Advocate's Society.

Q: What personal characteristics/skills are most important for success in your job/field?

Endurance, stress management, problem solving, and social skills are all important in this field.

Q: During your university career did any key experiences assist you in making your career choices? If yes, how so? (Internships? Extern Program? Volunteering? Student clubs? Summer job? Mentorship?)

The mentorship program gave me an opportunity to meet with someone and get a feel for what it takes to practice law.

Q: What have been the keys to your success? What advice would you give to students who wish to pursue a similar career path? If you had the chance to plan your studies and your career path again, what would you do differently (if anything)?

Be realisitic about what to expect and how hard you will be required to work.