A new meaning for teaching: The rewarding path to Notary practice
By Maureen Nicholson
An encounter with a Notary while selling her home was what sparked Franca Muraca's interest in becoming a Notary Public.
The Notary, like Muraca, had been a teacher for many years before deciding to make a career change. Asked whether she missed teaching, the Notary responded that, as a Notary, she had the opportunity to teach people every day—about the process of buying or selling their home, for example, or making a will or power of attorney. "As an educator to the core," Muraca says, ''that resonated with me—I knew that I would find meaning in this new career."
Muraca taught high school French and English for 26 years in the public school system in Kamloops, B.C., before making the decision to apply to the Master of Arts in Applied Legal Studies program (MA ALS) at Simon Fraser University (SFU) as her first step towards becoming a Notary Public (graduation from the program is a pre-requisite for practicing as a notary in B.C.). With two children to support, Muraca was able to continue working while completing the program, delivered primarily online.
"The MA ALS program is a challenging full-time program," says Muraca. "But I am proof that it can be done if you are dedicated, give yourself the time and space to do well, and prioritize your success in the program."
After graduating from the MA ALS program in 2019, Muraca returned to Kamloops where she opened her full-service Notary practice. A typical day could include drafting a variety of legal documents such as wills, powers of attorney, representation agreements, contracts, and more. She also provides services in real estate conveyancing, authenticating international documents, and notarizing a wide variety of documents for clients.
"At the core of the profession, you need to genuinely care about people,” says Muraca. “People may come to your office at times when they are vulnerable, faced with crucial decisions, and need your assistance and support. People are often intimidated by legal services of any kind, and a good Notary plays a vital role in explaining and demystifying those processes, translating knowledge to help people feel more secure and safe, and making legal knowledge accessible."
Despite the COVID crisis, Muraca describes her practice as "taking off like a meteor," earning a nomination for Emerging Business of the Year from the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce.
“We were the little engine that could, and we just kept going,” says Muraca. "People respond to the fact that we care."