Jennifer Bernardo’s office is an extension of her life. The partner at Baker McKenzie LLP has filled the space with items that help her thrive in her litigation practice: top-shelf videoconference technology, footwear for every occasion and stress balls to improve concentration. She’s also the parent of a 16-month-old son, Isaac, so her office contains objects like baby pictures and an electric breast pump. As Bernardo puts it: “My office perfectly encapsulates what it’s like for me to juggle a busy practice with being a new mom.”
During the pandemic, Bernardo invested in a Yeti microphone to sound crystal clear on Zoom calls and virtual hearings. Eventually, she bought a second one for the office, which she now works out of about three days a week. “I wanted to have the same equipment in the office as I do at home.”
As a global firm, Baker McKenzie regularly holds regional practice group retreats. A few years back, Bernardo, who’s a member of Canada’s employment and compensation group, got together with her counterparts in the U.S. and Mexico to catch up, participate in training and discuss important firm business. In a team-building exercise, Canada beat out the other groups in a sandcastle-building contest—and won this trophy.
“I’ve never met an inspirational quote that I didn’t like,” jokes Bernardo. Her mug collection, sourced primarily from Indigo, features a variety of uplifting witticisms. Her husband, a research analyst at Toronto General Hospital, gave her this mug, inscribed with “Work Hard Stay Humble,” as a gift.
Bernardo keeps “a ridiculous number of shoes” at the office: heels, flats, sneakers and “a pair of fuzzy slippers for late nights.” Wearing slippers while working is one luxury of work-from-home life that she’s happily transplanted to the office.
On the go
With a 16-month-old at home, Bernardo keeps an electric breast pump at the office, as well as bottles and a pumping bra.
Reminder of home
Bernardo, who grew up in Winnipeg, is proud of her hometown. “A friend bought me this wood carving in the shape of Manitoba to remind me of where I came from,” she says.
Frame of reference
This digital photo frame is pre-loaded with pictures of Bernardo and her family. “My husband and I bought one for my work office, my home office and both sets of grandparents,” she says. “They’re all linked.” Bernardo and her husband regularly update the device with the newest photos of their son.
Get a grip
A former mentor gave Bernardo this pig-shaped stress ball. She uses it to regain concentration if her ability to focus starts to slip.
A condensed version of this story appears in the print edition of our Spring 2023 Issue.
Photography by Christie Vuong.