904 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
several days later. Given the need for discretion, the only person she could
inform was Bob, who was across the terrace, by text message. It made for a
slightly repressed and strange but nonetheless exhilarating holiday.
Michelle is originally from Edmonton, a fact about which the writers frequently
tease her since they are from Calgary. Her parents encouraged and
sacrificed much to support their children’s success. Education and learning
were the hallmarks of her childhood and upbringing. She was an avid athlete
in her youth, playing field hockey. Her interest in things French started at a
young age. Always willing to try new things, she and her best friend, Gina
Chan, participated in a French student exchange to Montreal. However,
teenage enthusiasm and keen interest could not outweigh a lack of skill, and
they were eventually told by their hosts to simply speak in English.
In all other areas, Michelle excelled scholastically. Her brother, Brad,
described Michelle as a born litigator. From a young age, he considered it
pointless to have an argument with her. He would throw down his points
and she would come out with both barrels blazing. She was a masterful
debater. She never backed down if she felt someone was being treated
unfairly. She always tried to protect the underdog, whether it was in the
playground or at school. She has maintained decades-long friendships but
thoroughly enjoys making new ones. She is insatiably curious about other
people but scrupulously discreet and maintains their confidences.
Interestingly, though, Michelle did not initially show an interest in joining
the legal profession. Rather, she pursued her strong aptitude for the sciences.
She completed a bachelor of science degree in microbiology with a
specialization certificate in science psychology at the University of Alberta
in 1992. It was understood that she would be attending medical school, until
she surprised everyone by unexpectedly announcing that she would be
entering law school at the University of Alberta … in a mere three days.
She graduated from law school in 1995 and began working as defence
counsel with the well-respected barrister Alexander Pringle, Q.C. Early in
her career Michelle became known as a prodigious worker who never
turned down a client in need. She was known to make appearances in all
three courts of the province in one day if the need arose, and she travelled
throughout the province, often to small communities. It was in these early
days that Michelle developed her sense of justice and the importance of
empathy, recognizing that many people who struggle with poverty, mental
health issues and drug addictions face multiple barriers to accessing justice.
She was soon asked to be junior counsel on a significant and complex
gang case in Edmonton in the late 1990s. Since that time, she has never
looked back. She was sought out by senior counsel to assist in and then