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Episode 2 - Samson Chan (McMillan LLP; FACL BC)

By Beyond the A

Anxiety is a double-edged sword. It affects one’s performance, and may even become detrimental to finding a fulfilling career in law. The lack of dialogue on the topic at a firm can further exacerbate the experience felt by each individual and ultimately lead to departure. In the uphill battle of our high performing profession, Samson Chan offers his perspective as a leader of the Asian Canadian legal community in British Columbia, and as a star associate at McMillan LLP. In a profession where stress and anxiety seem inevitable, Samson weighs in on how to manage stress and failure while staying successful. Optimistic by nature, Samson maintained his cool even after not landing directly at a firm through OCIs. His past experience as a pre-med student who chose an alternative career in law helped prepare him for handling pushback. He is a representation of the saying “there’s no one path to success.” Samson’s wisdom is poignant and relatable. His past experiences with failing honed his perseverance and helped him keep the focus on what he wants out of his career. As an Asian-Canadian lawyer, Samson acknowledges that culturally there is a perfectionist tendency that is self-imposed and/or stemming from expecting relatives and parents. The added pressure as a visible minority in the law firm reflects on the need to shift entrenched perspectives and “norms”. Samson advocates for breaking out of the stereotypical and recognizing that one can pursue multiple passions - like working in business and law concurrently. He practices what he says by working as a strategic advisor for a startup while balancing his busy associate practice. For students and young associates dealing with anxiety, Samson offered three practical tips on how to stay balanced: (1) Have friends in different industries besides law (2) Be involved in groups or organizations that bring diverse perspectives (3) Find someone who will vouch for you. One last take away from Samson?  If he was back to the day before he started law school, he would tell his younger self not to take things too personally. When it comes to hiring, firms are ultimately a business, and there’s a variety of reasons they might not choose you at that moment, you can create value with what you bring regardless of where you are. -- For details on our upcoming Beyond the A workshop on interviews on Sat, September 14, visit:

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