Happy law: A unique Notary practice

April 06, 2022

Roman Svirshchevs’kyy, Notary Public, recalls a specific moment in his first semester of the Master of Arts in Applied Legal Studies (MA ALS) program at Simon Fraser University, the prerequisite program to becoming a Notary in British Columbia. He recalls a professor describing the uniqueness of the Notary profession because it encompasses “happy law.”

Since Notaries in B.C. only address non-contentious issues, their clients are rarely in a win-or-lose situation. Instead, “everyone gets what they expected to get,” says Svirshchevs’kyy. “Normally, when a real estate transaction goes through, you are acting for the buyer or the seller and everybody is happy and excited,” explains Svirshchevs’kyy. “I think that part is amazing.”

Svirshchevs’kyy enjoys notarizing real estate transactions and has aptly tailored his Langley Notary practice to meet the demand of the B.C. housing market. “Last year was extremely busy for real estate,” says Svirshchevs’kyy, “The market is crazy right now!” Svirshchevs’kyy estimates 75 to 80 per cent of his practice involves real estate transactions including purchases, sales, refinancing, and private mortgages. The remaining portion of his services includes wills, estates, and general notarizations.

Originally a customs officer from Ukraine, Svirshchevs’kyy moved to Canada in 2009 but had long been interested in the Notary practice. “Even back in Ukraine, I saw Notary as a great profession,” he says.

While completing the challenging MA ALS course load in his second language, Svirshchevs’kyy worked full time as a Notary assistant to enhance his practical knowledge. He also became a father and managed life with a newborn at home. Svirshchevs’kyy laughs when he looks back at this defining period of his life, admitting he had apprehensions about whether he could do it all. 

At graduation, Svirshchevs’kyy’s determination to succeed was evident. He won the Professor Reid Award, the Do Process Award, and the Real Estate Institute of B.C. Award for the highest marks in property, conveyancing, and contract examinations. He also won the prestigious Dr. Bernard W. Hoeter award for highest marks on all Notarial statutory examinations. Svirshchevs’kyy describes his receipt of these awards with humility. “Maybe I just got lucky. I didn’t expect that at all,” he says with a laugh.  

Svirshchevs’kyy recommends a career as a Notary in B.C. and indicates there is ample work available, particularly in smaller communities outside of the Lower Mainland.

Svirshchevs’kyy celebrates the cultural diversity and equity of opportunity within B.C.’s current Notary practice. Prior to 2008, Notaries in B.C. were governed by a seal system that limited the number of practicing Notaries. When a Notary retired, they would pass their existing seal to a new Notary of their choice. “Now you need to take the Master of Arts in Applied Legal Studies program, which is a much more professional and educational approach, similar to becoming a lawyer,” says Svirshchevs’kyy. He champions the current qualification system as it ensures the Notary practice is open to anyone willing to put in the effort.

“I think it is an amazing opportunity to get into something huge, especially for someone like myself who is an immigrant,” says Svirshchevs’kyy. “You are a professional, it’s your own business, and as long as you work hard, the achievement is great.”

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