Renée Saddler graduated from Bishop’s in 2018, with BAs in Economics and Political Economy. Since then, she has earned an LLB at Leicester Law School in England, an LLM from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, and most recently, a J.D. from Leicester Law.
Success did not come easy to Saddler, however. “I really struggled my first two years [at Bishop’s] to adjust to that [university] lifestyle and I didn’t really perform well.” She explains that she had trouble balancing her studies with her social life, which took a toll on her grades and mental health. Although Saddler knew she wanted to go on to law school, when the time for application arrived, she could not find a professor to write her a letter of recommendation. “I’m pretty sure my average was below a 50 … to get into law school, you’d had to have a GPA of like a 75. So, my last two years, I had to get all 90s to bring that 50 up … Sometimes I look back and I’m like, ‘holy crap, I can’t believe I did it!’”
Secretary General and Vice-Principal Government Relations & Planning Dr. Trygve Ugland, then professor of Political Science, was the one to support her. “He was the only one who was like, ‘Sure, I’ll do it.’ And he really helped me look at schools. He was one that suggested going to the UK. Because of him, I continued, so I really owe him a lot.” Saddler also adds that Dr. Don Dombowsky was also incredibly helpful by writing her recommendation letters for both her Masters and Law School.
About her time at Bishop’s, she asserts that she had a great experience. “Everyone’s super nice and friendly. It’s a very small community, so I enjoyed being there, and safe. I think that’s the one place in the world where I felt safe walking home by myself at four in the morning after being at The Gait, you know. I would never do that anywhere else in the world.”
Although she loved her time at university, she says she wished she had learned to give herself a break. “I wish I would have told myself is that it would have been okay to take a year off, and figure myself out, because … going to school and forcing yourself to go through it when you’re not ready for it isn’t right.”
Saddler is now working as a Knowledge Manager for the legal recruiting firm Macrae in New York City. She was found by a recruiter on LinkedIn and things simply fell into place. “It’s a lot of data entry and research on the legal market. So, it is legal recruiting, but I am myself not recruiting; I’m researching the market … I really like it. Everyone’s been super nice and welcoming.”
She explains that “networking is key,” which is also something she wished to have learned earlier in life. In the big city, “you get to meet a lot of people, it’s a lot of phone calls, a lot of random lunches that you have to go on.” She adds with a chuckle that everyone somehow seems to know each other. “I think it kind of gives me [Sex and the City] vibes. There’s just always something to do!”
Saddler is currently studying to take the bar exams for both the state of New York and the province of Ontario with the goal to practice law. It is a lengthy process that takes a lot of her time, but when she’s not studying, she likes to work out, figure skate and enjoy the various events in the city.
But more than anything, Saddler says she is now looking forward to having a sense of security and stability. “I’m kind of trying to figure out how to bask in the moment and be secure.” Concretely, she is hoping to find her own place in New York. “That’s a big goal of mine, especially in New York, that’s a very hard thing to accomplish. Rent is not cheap!”