Lawyer Spotlight: Nicole McAuley


1. What is your first memory of wanting to be a lawyer?

When I was 12, I decided that I was going to be a lawyer, even though I did not fully appreciate what that entailed at the time. Although the area of law I wanted to focus on changed a number of times since then, my core goal never wavered.

2. Where did you study law and how did you find that experience?

I studied at the University of Manitoba – Robson Hall. In my third year, I had the opportunity to take an advanced advocacy course taught by a Judge of the Court of the Queen’s Bench. There were only ten students, and every class included a practical opportunity for us to develop our advocacy skills. That course gave me a lot of confidence as I started litigating, and I still use many of the principles that I learnt there in my practice today.

3. How did you begin working at Forbes Chochla Leon?

I began my legal career at FCL LLP (then Forbes Chochla LLP) in 2011 as an articling student. When I was looking for an articling position, I knew I wanted to work at a firm where the lawyers are dedicated to advocacy and I could gain as much litigation experience as possible. I loved the work, the people, and the overall environment from the start and have been proud to call FCL my home ever since.

4. Is there a certain case you worked on that stands out to you? If yes, why?

My first trial stands out the most. I had just been called to the bar, while the plaintiff was represented by a senior lawyer. The trust placed in me by my firm and my client was inspiring and affirmed my many hours of preparation. I benefitted greatly from the mentorship here at FCL, especially from one of our founding partners, Stuart Forbes, as I still do today.

During my cross-examinations of the plaintiff’s witnesses, I was able to obtain evidence that directly contradicted the plaintiff’s version of events. This undermined the plaintiff’s credibility and exposed fatal flaws to the plaintiff’s claim. Consequently, we were successful in defeating the claim and received a great result for our client, including an award of significant damages in our favour.

5. What’s your favourite thing about being a lawyer?

I love the challenge of taking on a fresh case and applying my legal skills to help solve problems. I may spend my morning working on a professional liability file involving a mortgage broker and the afternoon defending an employer in a human rights claim. The variety in my practice constantly keeps me on my toes.

I also really enjoy the employment litigation and directors’ and officers’ claims files, where I often represent not-for-profit agencies. Providing legal support for these organizations allows them to focus on their goals and mandates, and that is very rewarding to me.

6. What’s the best part about working at Forbes Chochla Leon?

The people are the best part of our firm. Our team is exceptional. From the partners to the support staff, we have an exemplary group of dedicated professionals who work together to support each other in service of our clients. FCL is more than just a group of colleagues; we are a family and are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.

7. What do you like to get up to in your spare time?

The majority of my “spare time” is spent with my one year old daughter and one year old puppy, who are both lots of fun. When I have time to myself, I really enjoy running, playing tennis and skiing. I have completed the Chicago Marathon and eight half-marathons, including one just seven months after my daughter was born.