Lawyer profile : Bernardine Tyl-Gaillard
31 March 2023
1. What attracted you to the legal field? How did you start your career in this field?
Although there are lawyers in my family (but several generations above), I have never been directly immersed in this world and have had very little awareness or influence. When I was a teenager, around the age of 13, my father advised me to read Gilbert Cesbron, an author who is somewhat forgotten today, and I was very marked, even if the context was out of step with our time, by one of his novels which made me aware of the world of justice. Little by little, things progressed and while I saw myself as a surgeon, I totally changed my mind about my future profession.
Afterwards, the internships that I was able to do, definitely convinced me to choose the profession of Lawyer. After a master’s degree (Master I) and a DEA (Master II), I entered the CRFPA of Versailles (now HEDAC). I started my career in a law firm specialized in insolvency proceedings and I was more particularly in charge of labor litigation related to insolvency proceedings. This is what led me to practice employment law.
2. What motivates you the most in your daily life?
In my daily professional life, what motivates me is to go to the end of my cases, to prepare them, to plead them, the adrenaline rush at the time of the reading of the device, the execution, the return of the clients. But also the diversity of this profession. Each file is unique.
My professional day-to-day life is coupled with my personal day-to-day life and my “second day” taking care of my children, a day-to-day life that takes up a significant part of my day.
Besides that, I try to keep some time for volunteer activities.
3. Last March 8, it was the international day of the women’s rights. Do you have a female role model?
I don’t particularly have a female role model. I admire a certain number of people, whether they are men or women, known or little known, but above all who allow
to believe that one day we won’t need Women’s Day anymore.
I admire women who for me embody courage, tenacity, willpower, which are values that are dear to me, I think of a woman like Simone Veil whose life I was able to immerse myself in recently, I admire her great determination to fight her battles, her relentless will, which allowed her to lead the life she lived and the extraordinary destiny that was hers. But I can just as easily refer to my grandmother, who never questioned whether or not her status as a woman should be a problem in her life in general.
4. As a woman lawyer, what challenges have you had to overcome in your career, and how did you overcome them?
I don’t think I’ve had any specific challenges due to the fact that I’m a woman and a lawyer.
The profession has been undergoing a significant feminization for many years now. Being a woman lawyer is therefore perfectly conceivable in my opinion. The profession and its feminization allows the installation of a parity at the head of the firms.
On the other hand, being a woman in this or any other profession implies taking on a certain number of challenges in order to succeed in reconciling professional and private life.
As a mother of 4 children, I have always tried to combine the two, which is obviously not always easy and requires a well-honed organization, which means making compromises and sacrifices on a number of things. You have to prioritize and find the right balance. It takes a lot of work but in no way did I want to sacrifice any aspect of my life.
5. Since employment law is a constantly evolving field, how do you keep up to date with changes in laws and regulations?
The legal watch makes it possible to be informed of legal news in general and social news in particular, as far as I am concerned.
This makes it possible to keep abreast of legislative and regulatory changes, as well as changes in case law.
6. What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Trust yourself, believe in your possibilities, don’t doubt and seize the opportunities that come your way.
7. If you could no longer practice your profession, what would you do?
I think I’ll be able to do a lot of things. But above all a creative activity, even if the law can be creative, but in a different sense, an activity that allows me to give free rein to my imagination, to create. I could start studying architecture for example. But also and above all, to devote more time to voluntary activities, to which I now devote as much time as I can, but there are so many opportunities to offer one’s services, one’s skills, which is very enriching and gives meaning to one’s life.