Sophie St. Croix
Sophie St. Croix is 26 years old and works as an associate lawyer with Roebothan McKay Marshall in St. John’s. Born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised in Alberta, Sophie first moved to St. John’s to study at Memorial in 2005. She graduated from Memorial in 2009, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in classics and minor in history. She then took a year off her studies to work as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, and moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2010 to attend the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. Sophie completed her law degree in December 2013 and articled with Valerie A. Hynes at Roebothan McKay Marshall. She was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador bar in February of 2014 and now practices in the areas of personal injury, civil litigation, wills & estates, real estate, and family law.
Sophie lives with her husband, Christian St. Croix, in Paradise along with their three cats, Bella, Abbie, and Roxy. They are currently anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new bundle of joy – a goldendoodle puppy! In her free time Sophie enjoys binge-watching movies and television shows on Netflix, hiking, and cooking.
How did you get started at Memorial (i.e. why did you choose to attend instead of going away, etc.)?
My mother, Dr. Patricia Dold, Professor of Religious Studies and Department Head of Gender Studies at Memorial, moved here from Alberta just before I started grade 12. I finished high school in Alberta but moved to Newfoundland to live with her and enjoy the affordable tuition. Soon after that I fell in love with this province!
You received the Gold Medal for Classics at your 2009 Convocation. What made you choose this area of study? Or did it choose you?
I guess it chose me. When I selected my courses I had an inexplicably intense desire to study Latin and Roman history and these classes were my favourites during my first term. I had started in the Bachelor of Commerce program but within a few months changed to Bachelor of Arts with classics as my major. When I finished by degree, I thought seriously about continuing with a Masters, but I ultimately decided to follow my longstanding dream of attending law school.
Do any particular memories stand out from your time as an undergraduate?
The first time I went to the QEII library, I was in awe at the mountains of books and even more surprised that I was allowed to take any of them away with me. I guess I had never been inside anything but a public library until that point. It felt like I had a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips.
How does the study of classics relate to the law?
Very little in term of content, but studying classics in my undergraduate years taught me discipline that was invaluable to me when I was in law school. In particular, studying Latin and Greek language engrained in me the value of keeping up with a course every day to avoid stress and cramming right before an exam. Classics courses also require a substantial amount of reading, research, and writing, which helped me develop these skills for law school and my career as a lawyer.
What’s a typical day like for you at Roebothan McKay Marshall?
There are no typical days! I often start my day by taking five minutes to make a schedule of all the tasks I need to accomplish before the end of the day; within five minutes, that schedule is interrupted by something unexpected arising from another file. Since I practice in a variety of areas, I am usually jumping from one area of law to the other, drafting a variety of documents during the course of the day, calling or meeting with clients, and appearing in court. At the end of the day, I try to fit some exercise in, even if it is just a walk around my neighborhood, and then for the last two to three hours of the evening, my workday continues as I do some writing or reading at home to get ahead for the next day.
What’s the biggest misconception about lawyers?
This is hard to answer. Something I hear quite often is that people expect lawyers to make everything more complicated than it needs to be or drag files on for longer than necessary so that everything is more expensive. In my experience most lawyers are diligent in trying to do the best work possible for their clients and make things just as complicated as they need to be. Another big misconception is that lawyers are unapproachable and intimidating. Again, in my experience many lawyers are happy to speak to people about their issues and help out whenever they are able to do so.
What advice would you give a student starting out who is unsure of what to study?
I think you need to think about your future career as well as your interests. Try a variety of courses from a number of different subject areas. University is a wonderful time to expand your horizons, and in my experience people excel when studying topics they are genuinely interested in. At the same time, think carefully about what type of career you will ultimately want, if you have any idea, and choose courses that will compliment your goals. For example, I was extremely interested in classics and that helped me work hard in the discipline, but I also knew that if I went on to study law the elements of a classics degree would help me to excel in that environment as well.
Congratulations for receiving the Hunt Award for the highest overall average in the 2013 Bar Admission Course. Any studying secrets you’d like to share?
Thank you. My best advice is to pay attention during lectures and assigned readings. The harder I work during a course, the less I find I need to study. During exam season, I try to find time to relax and get plenty of sleep. When studying for exams, or even working on a paper, I am usually binge-watching TV or movies – something that can be on in the background without distracting me too much. I would not recommend that for every one of course; you need to know yourself and what works well for you.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I love The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. I have probably watched The Lord of the Rings extended editions over 20 times each. So many times, in fact, that when I watch them now I can recite almost every line right before the characters speak (my husband loves this). When The Lord of the Rings came out on blu-ray, I had to give the theatrical editions to my Mom because I could not watch them; I was too distracted by the scenes missing from the theatrical editions and had to wait until the extended edition blu-rays came out.
What’s your favourite book? Favourite movie?
I do not have a favourite book; I used to read constantly when I was younger but unfortunately reading for enjoyment has fallen by the wayside. Right now I am reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I started reading after finishing my second year of law school in the spring of 2012 (and still have not finished). Choosing a favourite movie is a challenge. Obviously, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, but right now I have to say Pitch Perfect because it is the movie I watch to cheer me up after a really rough day at the office!