Wearing a smart blue suit with an inconspicuous floral pin on his lapel Ryan Schindel, owner of Schindel Law, greets clients with a firm handshake and a smile.
He’s professional without the corporate uniform, his neatly trimmed beard and ponytail signaling that he’s not in a Calgary office tower anymore.
Schindel started his law career as an articling student in 2005 at a 150-person Calgary law firm, in the heart of Canada’s energy industry. Working in that environment gave him exposure and experience in corporate law, however, Schindel saw value in running his own practice.
“In Medicine Hat there is a lot of good work to do and it is relatively easy to build your professional network,” says Schindel.
Seasoned lawyers are beginning to retire and leaving opportunities for young lawyers who are willing to leave large cities. It’s an issue covered by Maclean’s magazine , which notes that without new professionals to take over the business, many firms merge or close.
In 2011, Schindel moved to Medicine Hat to continue his career and took over Schindel LLP from his father. He now works with four paralegals and practices corporate, real estate, and estate law.
“Having my own practice gives me the flexibility to put the time in to grow my career,” he says, noting how local professionals are keen to network, which adds to the ease of doing business in the city.
Even with a small staff, there’s no shortage of business. Phones are ringing and paralegals are conversing with clients from the Medicine Hat region.
“There is a lot of work in Medicine Hat and it is an awesome experience to live here,” says Schindel.
He’s not blowing hot air when talking about quality of life. With over 2,500 hours of sun a year, Medicine Hat is Canada’s sunniest city. And with chinooks often melting snow in the winter months, it’s not unheard of for golfers like Schindel to hit the links as early as January. Not to mention, Medicine Hat’s non-existent commute times make it easy to accommodate extracurricular activities, which for Schindel include basketball, coaching little league, and taking his three kids to their activities.
Over the past few years, Schindel has noticed that young professionals such as himself are choosing Medicine Hat as a place to advance their careers without sacrificing lifestyle.
Invest Medicine Hat CEO Ryan Jackson confirms Schindel’s observation. “Young, talented professionals who move to Medicine Hat can find quickly find themselves on a partner track or in an ownership position that would take far longer to achieve elsewhere.”
Indeed, young professionals in Medicine Hat have the opportunity to advance their careers while making the most of life in Canada’s sunniest city.