Business Lawyer Nancy Hopkins’ Rewarding Career
Blazing a Trail to Guide Others
There is a unique generation of women in our midst. These women did it all — studied, raised families, volunteered, made their professional mark and took care of aging parents — and they did it quietly and progressively, without social media to document every moment of their journeys. These remarkable women set the stage for the younger generation of successful entrepreneurs and professionals we see today. It’s time to celebrate their quiet accomplishments and the trails they blazed in our province!
Nancy Hopkins, Business Lawyer
“Business law is happy law. There is a positive-sum game; when the deal is complete, both parties are winners and that’s wonderful,” says Nancy Hopkins Q.C., a partner at the Saskatchewan law firm McDougall Gauley LLP.
Nancy grew up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, which she notes was fortuitous given her future profession as a business lawyer and how significant agriculture is to our province’s economy. Today, her practice focuses on corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, taxation law and IT law.
A computer science major, Nancy graduated with a B.Comm. and a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan. She has worked at McDougall Gauley, and its predecessor firm, since 1978 and became a partner in the law firm in the mid-1980s (she was the first female to do so). “In retrospect, computer science actually prepared me well for business law. I developed a good way of thinking and the mental processes I would need to succeed in my career,” observes Nancy.
Nancy is very proud of her two adult children. Her son is a tax lawyer in Saskatoon and her daughter is an OB-GYN resident in Toronto. Her husband is also a lawyer. “My advice to young women today, particularly in law, is not to be quite so concerned about society’s expectations of motherhood and maternity leave. Try to step back from external pressures. Leaving the workforce during that part of your career can lead to losing critical time. In the long-term, that lost time means a diminished career.”
“At McDougall Gauley, we have the ability to put together an all-female merger and acquisition team and we’re proud of that,” says Nancy. Throughout her career, Nancy has received awards and recognition, including the Athena Award and a prestigious designation by Lexpert as a “Best Lawyer” in corporate law. She was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant contributions to her community, Canada and its citizens.
It begs the question, why is one person successful and one isn’t? “I think part of it is stubbornness, an unwillingness to be deterred.” Some long-time clients gave Nancy a piece of artwork with the Latin inscription meaning “they can because they think they can,” which she thinks is particularly apt. Finally, is Nancy thinking of retiring anytime soon? “Not a chance! I enjoy what I do. It’s a great gig.”
McDougall Gauley LLP Barristers + Solicitors
Top lead photo by David Stobbe