Born in Canada, Legally Reborn in China: Legal-Expert Caroline Berube
|It wasn’t long after Caroline Berube set up her own law firm, that she became go-to legal expert in the Asian subcontinent- which happens to be an unknown turf light-years away from her home continent of North America. Passionate about business, and passion about the legal downtown, we’d say she is passionate about passion itself. Today, the Managing Partner of the law firm HJM Asia in China, international speaker and faculty spills the beans on what got her this far, and how fun the ride has been, in an exclusive interview with Binjal Shah for SheThePeople.|
What propelled you towards corporate law? Clearly, something somewhere ticked, seeing as your work is talked about widely…
There was no doubt I would be a corporate lawyer, ever – I thought it would link my love for law and business/finance. I did believe being a lawyer would give me options and I love and need options! I also thought that being a lawyer would train me to be rigorous, analytical and creative in finding solutions for clients, challenge my mind and meet interesting business people… and travel! I love being in the centre of the law industry because I am very passionate about it.
From being a law student, to setting up your own law firm, in a land that is far-far away from home. How did you plan your moves, and emerge an independent woman on the other side?
I think as a woman, you often face social roadblocks in a corporate environment. The legal field is still mainly dominated by men at the senior management level. I had the privilege of having some great female and male mentors AND sponsors over the years who have believed in me and were a wonderful, empowering influence during my career. I always wanted to be a Managing Partner of my own law firm, I established HJM Asia Law in China a few years after moving to China where I had to build my own practice within a Chinese firm. This was my way of setting my own path. I still often struggle finding women lawyers for various events but I think the trend is definitely on its way to changing.
As a seasoned lawyer, you probably have a truckload of stories of people –especially women around the world. How have their experiences contributed to yours?
I have interacted with women from all the continents and most countries in the world active in different spheres. I think it is always fascinating hearing about everyone’s journey to success. I find that no matter what type of background a woman comes from, successful, ambitious and driven women have a lot in common and usually get along no matter the industry, age, or any other factors. I think women supporting other women is an important concept and it should not be about being better or viewing them as your competition.
What are the mantras that you have followed through your life that you would like to share with the aspiring women leaders of today?
Passion is the most important aspect in my opinion. As long as you are passionate, people around you will recognize it and be drawn to you. So find something that you are very passionate about and it will certainly lead you somewhere.
How important is it, rewarding women’s achievements? What role do awards play in the women’s movement?
Rewarding achievements gives a confidence boost which is probably more important for women than men. Men are raised to stand up for themselves and be confident, while women are sometimes more shy in these aspects. A woman is less likely than man to brag about her achievements to colleagues or peers, but an award speaks for itself.