Fireside Chat with Jung-Kay Chiu
May 1, 2022
I am extremely delighted to have Jung-Kay here as my Fireside Chat guest! I met Jung-Kay more than a decade ago at a McGill IP summer course before I embarked my career journey as a legal professional. Over the years, whenever I reached out to Jung-Kay he was always responsive and very generous with his time for me to seeking career advice over coffee. Perhaps not many people know this, Jung-Kay was one of the few mentors who had inspired me to pursue law school.
This post is also significant for another reason. This is the first post ever written by a lawyer-dad! Before Jung-Kay, all the Fireside Chats by chance had featured incredible lawyer-moms. Now, taking a step forward, I hope Equilawbrium can offer a broader perspective by showcasing Jung-Kay’s chat as a lawyer-dad.
I sincerely hope you would enjoy his authentic and heartfelt sharing and that his wise words would resonate at times when you need some encouragements and support, just like how he made a difference in my journey as a mentor.
Without further ado, let's get started...
Part 1 - Introduction
Hi my name is... Jung-Kay Chiu.
Year of call to the Bar: 2001.
Type of practice, your role, and where:
Private practice at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.
How many children do you have?
2 daughters, 8 and 11.
What is one thing that you do for self-care or stress relief?
Part 2 - The first “Dual 10” Challenge: within the first 10 years post-call
Equilawbrium: Did you have a master plan for your career path? What was the driving force behind your career decisions? What are the important things to consider as you are figuring out your career path?
Jung-Kay: In retrospect, I did not have a master plan for my legal career to start. I was lucky to have attended law school during a transformative time when young associates were in demand due to a boom in M&A and technology. Competition both between local firms and with NYC resulted in continually rising student and associate salaries as well as the now extinct “guaranteed hireback”. Having come from a science background (genetics/molecular biology), I had a strong interest in intellectual property. However, like many others, I was swept along the M&A tide and I initially practiced corporate/commercial on returning to (then) McMillan Binch after articles in 2001.
Soon into my first year though, I missed being closer to science and sought out a career in patent prosecution. As McMillan Binch did not then have a patents group, I had to look to join another firm. It took a lot of meetings and networking but I eventually joined the IP group at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. Shortly after in 2003, our patents group joined then Ogilvy Renault LLP, now Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, where I have been ever since.
Law is a very versatile degree and looking back, I luckily realized early (or not that late) the area in which I wanted to practice and am very thankful I was able to find people who took a chance on me. I therefore think it is important to be introspective early in one’s career to assess what kind of practice would be most fulfilling, and doggedly seek it out. For me, the driving force in making the change was the science itch that I wasn’t able to scratch in corporate law and the uneasy sense that I was leaving behind all my years of scientific training.
Equilawbrium: Please list one soft skill that contributed to where are you now and suggestions on how to cultivate it.
Jung-Kay: As a summer and articling student, the firm had really instilled a sense of service to partners and clients. This drove a culture of accepting every assignment and treating it as an opportunity to distinguish oneself. But an equally if not more important skill, was the ability to manage expectations while maintaining the former.
Equilawbrium: Please list one hard skill that contributed to where are you now and suggestions on how to cultivate it.
Jung-Kay: Interestingly, my initial corporate diversion, was not wasted time. Even as an attorney focused on patents, I welcomed opportunities to maintain my substantive commercial skills. As a result, in a full service firm, I became the go-to associate for IP advice on deals given my transactional background, and this helped a great deal is forming broad relationships across the firm.
Part 3 - The second “Dual 10” Challenge: have kids in their first 10 formative years
Equilawbrium: How did you juggle work/life responsibilities? Is it possible to have it all?
Jung-Kay: It wasn’t easy at first. With our first daughter, my wife returned to her work as a CA after maternity leave. Pickups and dropoffs at daycare was the norm. We were very lucky though as we had/have a great support system. Both sets of grandparents are in the city, so they would each come once a week or two and bring dinner. My wife’s twin sister and her family also lived in the neighborhood and with kids similar in age and in the same daycare/schools, this provided a ton of extra flexibility for everyone.
Equilawbrium: Having walked the walk, what is the one parenting tip or trick that you wish you’d known?
Jung-Kay: It takes a little investment, but I think we can teach and empower kids to pitch in and do more earlier. This pandemic has taught us that when given the opportunity, our daughters have surprised us with the level of what they can do (and it is super helpful to us too!).
Equilawbrium: What did you miss most about your kids at that young age?
Jung-Kay: Like many parents, I miss the early days of when they are just starting to learn new skills. I do wish I was able to see more of those incremental advances as they develop, which we missed when they were at daycare.
Part 4 - Achieving Equilawbrium: how to survive & rise from the “Dual 10” Challenges
"It is easy to get lost in the stresses of everyday and our responsibilities, so regularly take a step back and reflect on what is truly important and what we are thankful for." – Jung-Kay Chiu
Equilawbrium: What was your biggest challenge going through the Dual 10 phase? Any advice for our readers who are living and breathing this phase and trying to survive and excel?
Jung-Kay: The biggest challenge would have to be prioritizing and dividing up everything that needs to be done. This takes a ton of communication between parents and playing to each other’s strengths. These days, that includes having a line of sight into homework and carving out time to help if they need it.
Equilawbrium: What is your take-home message for our readers who are trying to find their “equilawbrium”?
Jung-Kay: Every family has different priorities and goals, so perhaps I will take a page from my professional life and suggest assessing what is important to you and put energy into that. For us, that is having a good measure of activities for the girls outside of school, but also carving out just family hang-out time at home.
Equilawbrium: What is the one-word encouragement/support that you would want us to remember?
Jung-Kay: “Perspective”. It is easy to get lost in the stresses of everyday and our responsibilities, so regularly take a step back and reflect on what is truly important and what we are thankful for.
<<End of Fireside Chat with Jung-Kay Chiu>>
**A MILLION THANKS TO JUNG-KAY!!**
Jung-Kay Chiu is an intellectual property lawyer based in Toronto and the Canadian national chair of the intellectual property group at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP. His practices focuses on intellectual property acquisition, protection and exploitation in the field of biotechnology and medical devices. He has worked extensively in the life sciences innovation sector with many research institutions, large corporate innovators, clusters, startups and scaling bioscience companies, helping them formulate their innovation strategy, drive acceleration, and increase valuation. Prior to law, he conducted post-graduate research in molecular biology at the University of Toronto.
Disclaimer: Any views, information, and personal opinions expressed by the authors or guests are entirely their own and do not reflect or represent those of their employers or clients.