Monthly Lawyer Profile – Joni Metherell

Why did you become a lawyer?

I was studying journalism in Ottawa in the late 1980s and had the opportunity to take courses in Media Law and to watch cases live at the Supreme Court of Canada. Those experiences made me realize that I was interested in law and that I wanted to go back to school for a few more years of university.

What is the focus of your law practice?

The main focus of my law practice is estates and estate litigation. The estate litigation cases I deal with typically involve complicated estates, or problem wills and trusts, and, almost always, complex family dynamics. I act for people who have been disinherited, and on behalf of beneficiaries trying to protect their inheritances. I really enjoy knowing and working around the arcane and tricky rules that exist with wills and trusts.  For me, it’s a fascinating area of law.

With the estate work I do, I try to make the process of handling an estate as easy as possible for the executor or administrator. Executors frequently show up at the first appointment feeling really overwhelmed. At the end of that first appointment, I want the executor to leave with a sense of relief and to know that they are in good hands.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what profession would you like to attempt?

Because of my background in journalism, I think it would be fun (if not very remunerative) to write for a magazine like Maxim.  I suspect that the editorial meetings, where everyone sits around and floats their crazy story ideas, are pretty hilarious.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what profession would you never do?

Teaching. I don’t think I have the personality for it and I think it might be the hardest job to do really well. But the summers off would be nice!

Your favourite technology tool?

People who know me well will laugh at the fact I’m even being asked this question. I’m not technologically inclined at all.  I only recently learned to text but I’ll admit that it does come in handy sometimes.

What is the first thing you check each morning?

If they haven’t already woken me up, I check on my kids. Then I check the weather.

What are people most surprised to learn about you?

I love, love, love horror movies. But not in the theatre, only at home. My husband won’t watch them so I watch them by myself when he goes out of town.

Your biggest extravagance?

Working out with a personal trainer. It’s only two hours a week but it’s just about the only time I have for “me” during the week and it’s so worth it.

Your favourite food and drink?

My favourite food would have to be tuna burgers. I made them two summers ago from a recipe my brother in law gave me, and they were unbelievably good. Then I lost the recipe. I haven’t been able to replicate it exactly but I’m going to keep trying this summer. For my favourite drink, I’m definitely a white wine girl. Dry, and no chardonnays need apply.

Your favourite motto?

If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.

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