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Making Their Mark


There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.
Or at least, that seems to be the case with homecomer Devin Vessey, who has returned to Swan River with an intention to practice law, quite a different outcome than expected from when he graduated from the SVRSS in 2007.
“I went into university not knowing what I was going to do, and I fell into geology,” said Vessey. “I took a couple of courses and that seemed like a good career.”
Vessey graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in 2011, and was a geologist for a while, working in the oil drilling industry all over Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
However, about five years ago, Vessey made a change. He got out of the oil industry, he got married, and began to make a plan to return to Swan River.
“When I was getting out of geology, I was looking for something to do,” he said. “I thought I saw a need for lawyers, and it seemed like a good opportunity.
“One of the main reasons I chose law is because I would be able to work where I wanted to work. I didn’t have that option in geology. I had to travel all the time.”
Vessey got past the first obstacle of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) before getting into law school itself. Once he was admitted, the road to a Juris Doctor degree is three years of classes followed by one year of articling, which is where Vessey finds himself now, at Ferriss Law in Swan River, working under Rhodel Ferriss.
“I will go into Winnipeg three times and do some online work with the law society, sort of like a (resident doctor),” said Vessey. “Hopefully by next June, I will be a full practicing lawyer.”
Vessey added that it came as a surprise that he would get a broader range of experience in different fields working in a small town firm versus a Winnipeg firm, where the market is a lot more saturated and lawyers tend to specialize.
“I worked in the city as a student in a law firm, and the firm really just did real estate and some wills,” said Vessey. “Here (at Ferriss Law), we have real estate, corporate estates, wills, powers of attorney, civil and family. I get to see a lot.
What may surprise some is that corporate and real estate law seems to interest Vessey the most out of all the areas of law he has studied.
“A lot of people find it very dry and boring, but I find it interesting,” he said.
Either way, Vessey is looking forward to getting more real life experience in law as he tackles his year of articling.
He is grateful to be back in his hometown since marrying his wife – another SVRSS 2007 graduate from the Cowan area – and starting a family, with a now two year old daughter.
“We knew we were going to start having children, and that was a big consideration in wanting to come back here,” said Vessey, noting that having his family here was important.
He also finds that the recreational activities that the Swan Valley offers was preferable to city living.
“We have lakes and trails all over the place, and I like the outdoor stuff,” said Vessey, preferring the quieter lifestyle over the busy rush of living in Winnipeg for the last three and a half years.
What makes Vessey proud to have the opportunity to practice his profession in the Swan Valley is the different relationships that he will get to have with his clients.
“Something like 90 percent of Manitoba lawyers are in (Winnipeg), so there is definitely a need outside of the city,” he said. “You get to know your clients a bit better. In the city, you never see your clients. Nobody knew the clients that came in.”
Vessey noted that if somebody wishes to pursue law for themselves, there are a variety of bachelor’s degrees that can lead up to a law degree, often seeing philosophy, theology, sciences and political science students taking on a JD.
“There are a lot of avenues to get in,” he said.
And, don’t forget, naturally, there is a lot of reading.
“As long as you are dedicated to learning the material, then it’s not actually that bad,” he said. “People were surprised that I went into law because I didn’t used to like to read.”
Vessey also understands that the work-life balance should be a little healthier than the hustle and bustle of urban living.
“Once I meet my colleagues in the fall, I’ll see how they are doing in the city,” he said.

Jeremy Bergen