Marie Henein answers the Precedent questionnaire

The well-known Toronto lawyer on her dog, what she values in colleagues and her most extravagant purchase
Portrait photograph of Marie Henein in her office

What’s the best part of your job? I love the fact that every day is unpredictable. I never know what is coming through the door or what legal issues I will have to consider.

Do you have any pets? I have a very moody, dismissive, catlike Husky named Scout, named, of course, after the character in To Kill a Mockingbird.

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? In myself.

What do you do to relax? I relax by focusing intently on the current fashion season. I am struggling with the fact that brown is the new black. I liked the old black. These are important issues.

Portrait photograph of Marie Henein in her office

Who: Marie Henein
Role: Founding partner, Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP
Practice area: Litigation

Who are your favourite authors? William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams.

What’s the most extravagant item you’ve ever purchased? A llama, named Barack O’Llama, who resides in our barn.

What does your legal practice look like these days? Though I’m mostly known for criminal-defence work, the majority of my current practice is civil and commercial litigation. For a number of reasons, the practice of law has become more stratified, with litigators staying in their own lane. But I don’t like staying in my own lane. And I don’t like staying put. Plus, I’ve always admired the talent of lawyers who were true barristers—like Charles Dubin, the former Chief Justice of Ontario—who conducted both criminal and civil trials and appeals.

How do you stay in shape? Not particularly well.

What advice do you have for new lawyers? Focus on what you can control: yourself, your level of skill and the quality of your work. Everything else in this business is largely out of your control.

Who’s your favourite fictional lawyer? Henry Drummond from Inherit the Wind. The film is based on the famous Scopes trial, in which Clarence Darrow defended a teacher who defied Tennessee state law and taught Darwin’s theory of evolution to his students. I am, like most criminal lawyers, obsessed with Clarence Darrow.

What do you value most in your colleagues? Intellect and loyalty.

What’s your favourite long-weekend getaway within driving distance of the city? Prince Edward County.

When are you at your happiest? In court or hanging out with family and friends.

What are you watching on TV right now? Slow Horses.

What’s your hope for the future? That we don’t give up on democracy, that we learn how to communicate with each other, that rhetoric is seen for what it is, that we elevate our conversations and that we demand more of politicians than just election campaigns.

Do you have a work motto? You can’t be over-prepared.

What advice would you give your younger self? Relax. You have time.

Photography by Erin Leydon. Hair by Paul Jones. Makeup by Jasmine Merinsky.