We had the pleasure of speaking with Alexandre Boucher – a former OsgoodePD LLM alumni – about his career, experiences, and advice for up-and-coming lawyers.
You are an appointed Judge with many years of experience in law. How did you get to where you are?
I am a very lucky man! I truly feel grateful to be a judge of the Superior Court and I do my best to be worthy of that honour every day. In short, I graduated with a law degree from the University of Montreal in 1994, and then enrolled at the Bar school and became a lawyer in 1995. I was fascinated by criminal law, so I decided to become a criminal defence lawyer. I practiced mostly in Montreal, doing all types of cases and dealing with a variety of different people. I also got involved with the Bar and the legal community – this was particularly fulfilling for me.
After some time, I chose to specialize in appeal work so, in 2007, I went back to school part-time at Osgoode Hall Law School. I earned my LLM degree in 2010. That same year, I left private practice to become a Crown attorney. I was also a lecturer at the University of Sherbrook at the University of Montreal. I was appointed in 2015. I always loved being a lawyer, but becoming a judge was a dream come true.
What were some of the challenges you faced along the way? How did you overcome them?
Criminal law practice is very interesting, but it is incredibly challenging. The job did not pay much during my first few years, so it took a lot of passion and determination to stay on track. The word got around that I was doing a good job and I developed a successful practice, therefore, my efforts had eventually been rewarded.
Not that I am complaining, but now that I am a judge, the workload is very heavy. The great news is those fellow judges are there to help and give advice, but you are on your own to hear cases and render judgments. You must be self-disciplined and hardworking.
What made you want to participate in OsgoodePD’s LLM in Criminal Law & Procedure?
I was willing to take up a new challenge and to get another perspective on criminal law. I have always been interested in the intellectual or philosophical aspect of the law, but I wanted to keep my feet on the ground. Studying part-time at Osgoode Professional Development was the perfect choice for me because it allowed me to strike the right balance between high-level studies and real-world practice. Moreover, online distance learning was very convenient. I was also attracted to the excellent reputation of Osgoode.
How did earning your LLM help your career?
Frankly, it helped me become a better lawyer. It expanded my limits. It helped me to develop my research abilities, my critical thinking, and my spirit of analysis. It also sharpened my writing skills.
What is your advice to someone considering an LLM?
A successful career in law does not require graduate studies so you will have to pursue it for the love of learning and the love of law. I would suggest not to do it too soon. I believe that some practical experience would be useful to get the best out of your LLM studies. Be ready to work hard, an LLM is a serious commitment, but it is very rewarding.
Alexandre Boucher is a judge of the Superior Court of Quebec, in Montreal, Canada.