‘Pick up the phone,’ NWM senior associate says

Odette Cottle believes many things can be resolved through a personal conversation

‘Pick up the phone,’ NWM senior associate says
Odette Cottle

When Odette Cottle followed in her father’s footsteps to take up a career in law, she thought she would follow him into the criminal law field as well. However, what ended up calling to her was commercial business.

This Norris Ward McKinnon senior associate now focuses on various areas in this space, including commercial subdivisions as well the sale and purchase of businesses, commercial property and forestry rights, and balances her practice with raising a young family. However, the past year has also helped her to learn to let go of some things.

In this interview, Cottle shares her thoughts on communicating effectively by phone and not just email, her favourite part of the workday and keeping an eye on what’s next for her clients’ businesses as a result of COVID-19.

What made you choose a career in law, and what's your favourite part of the job?

I chose a career in law as my father is a criminal barrister – I had this notion that that field was where I was headed. However, looking back, I’m glad I ended up in the commercial business space.

My favourite part of my job is sitting at my desk in the morning enjoying a cup of coffee in the peace and quiet. After that, it would be helping my clients find practical solutions to commercial business/property problems.

What is the most memorable case you've taken on/been involved in?

Probably a subdivision file which had been ongoing for almost six years. We got all the documents logged for registration on the day the section 223 approval expired, and there were a few frustrating hurdles at the 11th hour. However, we got the titles through for the clients.

What is going on at the firm? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?

Our firm has recently introduced more across-the-board flexible working arrangements. I have a young family, so the flexibility our firm offers by not requiring us to be at our desks keeping the chair warm means we have a better opportunity at striking that work-life balance.

What’s the biggest lesson you learned in the past year?

My biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that I’m only human, and I can only do what is humanly possible. It’s taken a few years to figure out that I just have to let go of some things – I can’t do everything and keep everyone happy all the time. 

What should the profession and law firms focus more on?

Communication. Pick up the phone rather than sending email after email after email – so many things can be sorted by a personal conversation rather than lengthy emails.

What are you looking forward to the most in the coming year?

I’m looking forward to hopefully getting to continue to watch how my clients’ businesses continue to evolve and change (for the better) due to the pandemic.

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