THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 8 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 2 0 333
NICOLE BYRES, Q.C.
By Valerie Dixon*
One of Nicole Byres, Q.C.’s favourite quotes is from Thomas
Edison: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is
dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Many in our community
already know well what Nicole’s work “looks like”, having
seen it over the course of her 37 years of practice. Perhaps less is known
about the “opportunities” that were seized—and adversities that were overcome—
along the way. And to those who have only seen Nicole in a finely
tailored suit perfectly paired with a beautiful silk scarf, the bit about the
“overalls” will be utterly baffling. But, as we shall see, Edison got it right: all
three are important parts of the story of Nicole Byres.
Before we tell that story, though, something must first be said about
Nicole’s place on the cover of this month’s Advocate, an honour few practitioners
ever enjoy. Despite being a tireless warrior in the battle against
women’s imposter syndrome, Nicole was surprised to learn of her consideration
for the cover by the editorial team. It is thus my great pleasure to explain
to her, in these pages, why she is indeed so deserving. You (and she) will read
of a remarkable and inexhaustible focus on strategy, leadership and volunteerism,
a disinterest in personal accolades, but shot through with love of this
profession, and of the legal community, and with unwavering commitment
to the advancement and protection of women in that community.
To find out how we get to the present, we must go back to the past. Nicole
was born in Trail, B.C. to Doug Byres and Eva Zanier, both second-generation
Canadians, although recent genealogy research suggests that one of
* The author is grateful to Kieran Metcalfe, Ryan Dalziel and Katie Comley who all helped with this article.