Law partners Nathalie Godbout and Cathy Fawcett have set out to establish a different kind of firm in uptown Saint John, one that’s focused on the holistic personal experience of clients and supports fellow female professionals.
Launched on Dec. 1 of last year, the boutique litigation law firm Godbout Fawcett is a product of the combined forces and friendship of Godbout, whose practice is focused on advice to regulators and professional clients, and Fawcett, a seasoned litigator with experience as well in regulatory, insurance and health law.
“Cathy Fawcett and I had worked previously together at Gilbert McGloan Gillis for almost 10 years so we knew each other from back then and then she joined Lawson Creamer and we worked together for about five years before we decided to build this firm together,” Godbout said.
“It just was a natural flow of the work we were doing together and it’s so specialized that it just made sense to have it stand on its own … We enjoyed the way we worked together and we started talking about what it could look like if we were going to design a firm from scratch.”
Godbout says that their style of working was influenced by their lifestyles as professional women and parents with competing interests and responsibilities. She says they designed the firm so that they can continue to succeed in other aspects of their lives while giving clients a personalized experience.
Godbout says their new space is a collaborative one. It allows herself, Fawcett and their associate Laura Cutler to work both together and separately when the situation requires it.
“We have a lot more freedom to do what we want. I suppose I’ve always had that kind of freedom but … we are of like mind in the way we want to market and design the firm,” Godbout says.
“When we looked at building this firm together, we realized that a lot of our goals and ambitions aligned and the communication that we want to put out from this firm is very much aligned. We just felt like it was something we could design together with ease and there wouldn’t be a lot of difference in the way we wanted to approach it because it met both of our needs in a very special way.”
Godbout says the way they’ve designed the firm is not traditional and allows them to work in non-traditional ways. She hopes that as the firm grows, it will allow them to cater their approach to what’s most suited to their clients.
“We’re hoping that as the firm grows and evolves, it will turn into a space where the approach to the practice of law can be different and better suited to a healthy balance between your professional life and your personal life and also be a more holistic approach to what the clients need, not just to have their legal problems dealt with but to have the bigger picture looked at as well so they can thrive in all aspects of their professional life,” she says.
Godbout Fawcett is also working towards contributing to the evolution of the law and creating a space where female lawyers can thrive. Godbout says that when she was a young lawyer, she was always on the lookout for someone she could look up to and receive guidance from. She hopes to be that person for others.
“It’s always hard to figure out who you can speak to and who’s going to be somebody whose influence you would enjoy and admire,” she says.
“I think that in any firm, a female lawyer is looking for somebody who can help them navigate that space, which is by design a very male environment.”
Godbout says that they had a great amount of support from the community around them before their opening and continue to receive positive feedback about what they’re accomplishing. She says the supportive environment is very much in keeping with their value statement: “we create a personalized experience to confront your challenge as if it were our own every time.”
“When we were talking to clients about this new firm … they spoke of that experience with us, that they always felt supported not only in the legal sense but in a very holistic way,” Godbout said.
“We just wanted to create that in this new space and make it part of the value proposition so that was going to be the case for everybody that we dealt with, no matter what … By creating your own firm, you get to be very protective of it and make sure that you’re doing the work you believe in. That [feels] really good.”