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A profile in supportive leadership

Steeves Bujold, the Canadian Bar Association’s new vice-president, is a lawyer who strives tirelessly to make a difference.

New CBA Vice-president Steeves Bujold, also a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP
New CBA Vice-president Steeves Bujold, also a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP Photo: Bénédicte Brocard

Steeves Bujold was born in Gaspésie to a family that prized respect, generosity and perseverance above all—values that he still holds dear.

When he was a first-year CEGEP student in health sciences, something happened that sparked his interest in the law: "My family got into a real estate dispute, and it helped me realize that what you don't know about the law can hurt you." It was enough to convince him to switch majors, and he went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree in law from Université Laval. "I was immediately fascinated! Everything was so riveting to me — the topics we discussed in class, the personalities of professors and my classmates. Now, 22 years into my career, I'm still as passionate about law as I was then."

Bujold passed his Bar exam in 1999 and, in 2001, joined McCarthy Tétrault, where he was named partner in 2006, and then leader of the firm's litigation group for the Québec region in 2017. Bujold has a wide range of experience in commercial and contract litigation, class action suits, health law, pharmaceutical and medical liability, and professional law.

Making a difference, giving back, offering support

Bujold is an active member of his community. He has sat on the boards of organizations such as JM Canada, Justice Pro Bono and the Adélard Arts Centre. He's also given his time and energy to Lawyers Without Borders Canada, GRIS, and other groups. "I think volunteering isn't just a natural fit for lawyers; it's an obligation. On top of being extremely rewarding work, it's a way to give back to the community and to reconnect with the very essence of what we do. Our job is demanding and stressful, and volunteering is a great way to strike a healthier balance."

While he appreciates every part of the job, his favourite by far is building relationships with his clients. "It's not always easy to gain their trust. You have to provide guidance and support first," he says. "And then find a solution tailored to their problem. It's a fun challenge. You have to ask questions, try to understand, and get other professionals' opinions when it is needed. It's not just about law, but also about being there, empathizing, offering your support."

Management is also an increasingly large part of his professional life, and he is a proud member of the Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec. "I love being a manager! I see myself as someone who is there to help my teams achieve their full potential. It is important to recognize that you've also had help along the way and give a leg up to people starting out or working their way up. You can really make a difference in your colleagues' lives."

Élisabeth Brousseau, a partner in McCarthy Tétrault's litigation group, is convinced Bujold is a perfect fit for vice-president, and eventually president, of the CBA. "He is a natural leader," she says. "His leadership style is positive and solution-oriented, and he is great at rallying people and building them up. Steeves always wants to push further and find constructive ways to tackle every challenge."

Former CBA-Québec President Pascale Pageau, a regular collaborator of Bujold's, adds that his sense of empathy also sets him apart. "He is so generous with his time and takes a genuine interest in other people. His leadership skills are also impressive, especially in advocating for the LGBTQ2S+ community. He is an incredibly dedicated person who really wants to move the needle."

His future with the CBA

How does Steeves Bujold see his role as CBA Vice-President? He believes his main duties are to support the new president, Stephen Rotstein, who stepped into office on September 1, to prepare for his own tenure as president next year, and to focus on how he can achieve his goals. While he sees himself in alignment with CBA's positions, he wants to add his own personal touch. Access to justice and diversity and inclusion are issues he holds close to his heart. He is a member of the Inclusion Now Council and Chair of the Pride Action Group at McCarthy Tétrault and the national leader of the firm's diversity and inclusion initiatives for the LGBTQ2S+ community. "As far as I know, I am the first vice-president with a same-sex partner," says Bujold. "I will work hard to be a role model, both for law students and for the legal community as a whole, and to advance the rights of the LGBTQ2S+ community. For example, we have a long way to go to make sure the rights of trans and non‑binary people are understood and protected."