University of Calgary

Minister of agriculture encourages law students to consider rural practice

UToday HomeMarch 5, 2013

Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Verlyn Olson speaks to students at the Faculty of Law on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Photo by Riley BrandtAlberta Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Verlyn Olson speaks to students at the Faculty of Law on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Photo by Riley BrandtThe keys to a successful career as a lawyer in a small community are people skills and a willingness to pitch in and support local initiatives, Alberta's agriculture minister told a student group at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law on Thursday.

Verlyn Olson, Alberta’s minister of agriculture and rural development, shared stories from his life in law and politics as he addressed an event organized by the Rural, Energy and Agriculture Law (REAL) Students' Society. His talk was titled “Small Town, Big Dreams: From Independent Practice to the Minister's Office.”

Since graduating 35 years ago from the University of Alberta with a bachelor of arts in history and a bachelor of laws, Olson has enjoyed a number of personal and professional successes.

In addition to working as a partner in the law firm Andreassen Olson Borth in his hometown of Camrose, Olson became involved in many community-building and charitable initiatives including the Viking Cup world hockey tournament, a local film festival, the board of Camrose Lutheran College, and the Camrose Kodiaks hockey club.

His law practice focused on real estate, wills, estates and counselling small businesses, and assisting farmers, families, seniors and dependent adults.

Olson's commitment to community leadership and connections with neighbours ultimately led to a career in politics.

He was re-elected to a second term as MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose in April 2012. Prior to his appointment as minister of agriculture and rural development, he served as minister of justice, attorney general and deputy government house leader.

Olson spoke highly of the opportunities for law graduates in rural Alberta, and pointed out that working in a small law practice gives lawyers the chance to work in a number of areas of law.

“Working in rural Alberta will give you the true flavour of the type of people who work hard every day to make a difference in their community,” said Olson. “The community spirit is very rewarding as you interact with people who truly want to contribute.”

The Rural, Energy and Agriculture Law Students' Society is a group of law students with an interest in legal issues affecting rural Alberta and practicing law in smaller communities.

 

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