After a few labs gone wrong in CEGEP, Zachary knew he would be a liability if he continued to pursue engineering and looked to his parents for guidance. Zach trusted his parents' advice, as they were free spirits like him. His mom and dad pursued careers in the film industry in the 70’s. Like his parents, Zach loved the arts and was the lead singer of a band since he was 13 years old. Surprisingly, Zach’s parents urged him to stay away from the risky entertainment industry and instead encouraged him to join a more admirable and respected profession.
An outgoing social butterfly with the gift of gab, Zach’s parents thought he would make a great lawyer. A self-proclaimed mama’s boy, Zach followed their advice and hoped that his acceptance to law school would give him mom bragging rights.
Zach’s only knowledge about what lawyers did have come from watching actors play lawyers in films, and he discovered that performance really can be part of the job.
It took a lot of commitment but being a student did not stop Zach from being a musician. Throughout law school, Zach would drive back and forth on weekends from Sherbrooke to Montreal for weekly jam sessions with his band. That was until, after completing his civil law degree, Zach went on to enroll in a common law degree program at the University of Montreal
and a Master of Laws in Boston. While in Boston, it became impossible to make the weekly trips to his jam space and the band took a hiatus.
With all that legal education under his belt, Zach was still trying to find himself. He ended up living in LA for a year answering phones and delivering mail at a talent agency. After putting his legal dreams aside for a while in interest of his entertainment dreams, Zach eventually moved back to Canada to focus on law. It was at his articling position at Nelligan O'Brien Payne
where he reconnected with the legal profession and discovered his love for litigation. Embracing the opportunities of small claims court, Zach gained experience while prepping and cross-examining witnesses. Following his articles, Zach jumped around gaining as much experience as he could as a litigator. With all this experience he was able to finally make it into big law at Robinson Sheppard Shapiro
, where he focused on commercial civil insurance litigation.
By 2016, Zach was feeling more comfortable in his lawyer role, so he decided to give music another try. He started the country duo Five Roses
after meeting Jade Godin at a barbershop. Zach began spending every moment outside of work on his music. He would spend the day in court litigating and end up loosening his tie after a long day recording some harmonies in a music studio.
Music and Law have more in common than you might think.
When Zach is on stage signing, he gets the same adrenaline rush that he experiences arguing his position in court. The only difference? His audience. Entertaining a crowd of fans can be just as difficult as convincing a judge of his stance, but the positive results of one is cheers and the positive results of the other is a quiet smile between lawyer and client in court.
In 2021, mid-pandemic, Five Roses took a trip to Nashville where they recorded music and eventually signed a record deal. Their growing fanbase has led them to share a stage with many successful Canadian country artists including Brett Kissel, Meghan Patrick and The Reklaws.
A lot of lawyers spent time reflecting and re-envisioning their careers during the pandemic. Zach’s friends started a boutique litigation firm called BCA AVOCATS | LAWYERS
. Zach joined the firm where he now finds support as an insurance litigation lawyer and a musician. The firm’s open concept dog friendly workspace is just as conducive to doing good work as an ivory tower, if not more.
“Studies have shown that people consistently perform better the next day at work after spending an evening or weekend on their side gigs.”
The summer of 2022 was full of gigs close to home and on the road for Zach and his band. After each one, he came back to work feeling invigorated and motivated to succeed in his litigation practice.
Since his law firm supports his playing in a band, Zach is able to meet his targets at work while continuing to grow his musical career. Country music is a summer-centric genre and litigation work generally dies down in the summer. This allows Zach the time and ability to devote himself to both careers without compromising. After securing a record deal, he also has a team that helps him with the behind-the-scenes work involved in booking shows, so he can focus more on playing.
“It wouldn't be possible without the support of my colleagues who understand the importance of work/life balance and being the best version of yourself.”
The biggest challenge Zach faces in both careers is creating online marketing content, tailored to his two audiences. Part of this challenge was Zach’s fear of losing credibility with both audiences if they found out about the two worlds he lived and worked in.
Hiding his true character was frustrating, so Zach recently openly revealed his lawyer-by-day and singer-by-night identity on LinkedIn
. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Since posting about his unconventional mix of careers, people across the legal and music industries have reached out to learn his story and get advice on pursuing both passions.
During the day you can find Zach in court or at the office, with dogs running down the hall. On evenings and weekends, he will most likely be glued to a microphone belting out a modern country song.