SABA Spotlight Series – Arun Krishnamurti

SABA Spotlight Series – Arun Krishnamurti

 

Arun Krishnamurti is an experienced technology lawyer with a track record of practical, business-oriented legal advice. After having worked at a leading law firm, and now in-house at Google Canada, Arun’s well versed in analyzing and responding to complex (and frequently cross-border) legal issues, including product launches, cloud services and other outsourcing agreements, consumer protection and many other commercial and regulatory topics. In addition to SABA, Arun currently sits on the board of Can Tech, and remains actively involved in his communities, taking active roles in mentoring, as well as supporting diversity and equity seeking groups. 

Arun has been named to Lexpert Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40 and as a Rising Star by the South Asian Bar Association of North America.

  1. What drew you to become a technology lawyer? Did you imagine doing anything else? 

It was something I sort of fell into.  I have always been interested in technology, and when I was an articling student I found myself involved in a couple of deals where I just loved the work. Being involved in ambitious, interesting projects with lofty goals and cutting edge technology really sparked something in me.

  1. What do you enjoy about being part of the SABA board? 

It’s a group of such talented people. Lots of passionate, dedicated folks involved.  I loved making these connections, and finding a community of folks I could relate to. For me it was a lot about getting involved with and helping build this community (both the organization, and the broader South Asian bar).

  1. What’s your favourite South Asian snack? 

I will forever love gulab jamun.  If I had to go savoury, then murukku.

  1. What do you like to do during your down time to relax?  It’s mostly family-focused right now.  Spending time with my kids and friends.  Wherever I can fit in a trip (especially pre-pandemic), travel was always one of my favourite ways to spend free time.

  2. What’s something unique you have learned about the practice of law that you can share with other lawyers?

Much of your legal career is based around exposure.  You have to put yourself in as many places as possible to get that “right place, right time” moment.  It can be uncomfortable, but it’s the best way to find your path.

SABA Spotlight Series – Anisha Bhardwaj

SABA Spotlight Series – Anisha Bhardwaj

Anisha Bhardwaj is a first-generation lawyer born to parents who immigrated from India to Canada. Growing up, Anisha enjoyed watching Bollywood movies on the weekends and emulating Priyanka Chopra’s dancing (when her parents were not watching). This eventually led her to compete in Miss India Worldwide Canada. Nowadays, when she is not busy litigating, she enjoys tasting different cuisines from around the world and posting food reviews on her blog (ironically named Judge Foody).

Anisha is an associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution group at Aird & Berlis LLP, where she has a general commercial litigation practice and represents clients across a number of industries, such as real estate, commercial leasing, construction, employment and municipal.

1. What drew you to litigation?

Since a very young age, I knew I wanted a career where I could advocate on behalf of my client in a courtroom. I eventually learned about the litigation process and how it actually involves so many other steps that I also enjoy, such as written advocacy (which makes me feel like a creative story writer), negotiating a settlement with the opposing party, and investigating the case. I love the challenge and excitement of the litigation process both inside and outside of the courtroom; it makes me really look forward to waking up every morning knowing that each moment of the day will be unpredictable but challenging and will bring with it an opportunity to help my clients.

2. How did you come to be involved with SABA?

My involvement began during my role as President of the South Asian Law Students’ Association (SALSA) at Windsor Law. I worked with SABA to coordinate a mentorship program for lawyers and students that provided an insight into the organization and provided mentorship from SABA members. After I graduated from law school, I volunteered with SABA and then joined the board after being called to the Bar. Having received invaluable mentorship from SABA as a student, I wanted to give back and am now actively involved in coordinating SABA Toronto’s mentorship program for lawyers.

3. Do you have a favourite memory from being part of SABA?

I had an incredible time at the 2019 SABA Toronto Gala and Awards Night, which was the last SABA Gala before the pandemic started. It was held at Liberty Grand and roughly 400 people were in attendance (which now sounds like a distant dream given the current pandemic environment). There was live music, great speakers and the food was delicious. It had all the hallmarks of a successful networking event.

4. What’s your favourite South Asian snack?

I have a few favourites, but I think that if you put a plate of South Asian snacks in front of me, the Aloo tikki would disappear the fastest.

5. What’s the best advice you have received about the practice of law?

“Practice in an area that you enjoy”. I feel incredibly fortunate to be doing what I genuinely enjoy. Sometimes it takes time to find the right practice area, but if you persevere and remain committed to the goal, you will eventually get there.

SABA Spotlight Series – Amrita Tamber

SABA Spotlight Series – Amrita Tamber

By: Vipal Jain, WeirFoulds LLP

Amrita Tamber is a South Asian lawyer of Punjabi background. She has recently joined Purolator as Legal Counsel, where she works on commercial transactional matters. Prior to joining Purolator, Amrita was a Principal Associate at Capital One Bank where she drafted and negotiated complex commercial agreements for the credit card business. Amrita received her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Wilfrid Laurier University in Political Science before attending Bond University where she completed her J.D.

Amrita is a strong advocate for equality and diversity in the legal profession and society at large. Currently, she is co-chair of SABA’s Social Media Committee and has more recently joined Can-Tech’s Women in Tech Committee as a social media volunteer as she enjoys content creation. Amrita is also a mentor for the NCA Network where she provides support and guidance to internationally trained lawyers. She was also the Director of Communications for Young Women in Law from 2016-2018.

Outside of work, Amrita enjoys various activities such as health and fitness, hiking, traveling and trying new restaurants.

 

  1. What do you enjoy about your practice?

Growing up, I always had a way with words and loved reading. I could never put my books down and would stay up late at night when I wanted to finish an exciting read. Now, being a contracts lawyer means that I have to be very detail oriented and read between the lines. I enjoy using my business mind and being able to advise on risk and incorporate ways of minimizing risk into contracts. I never deal with the “same” problem and there is always something new, which keeps me on my toes as I always need challenging work. I enjoy negotiating complex terms with opposing lawyers to obtain the best outcome for my company. It is also satisfying when I am able to see the finished product come to life after an agreement has been signed and the business starts the project.

  1. How did you come to be involved with SABA?

I moved around throughout my undergrad, JD and Articling so I was outside Toronto for a very long time. Once I was getting called to the bar in 2015, I learned about SABA and went to the Fall Social. After only one event, I made so many valuable connections that I still have to this date. The community was so friendly and supportive so I started attending more events throughout the years, gaining mentors and friends. Eventually, I applied to become a member of the Board in 2020 as I wanted to give back to the community that had been so supportive over the years.

  1. Do you have a favourite memory from being part of SABA?

I joined the SABA Board in 2020, not knowing that life would take us into a virtual environment. My favourite memory would be a more current one from this past December where some of the Board members were able to get together for an in-person dinner. It was so nice to socialize with the team and I hope that we can have more moments like that in 2022!

  1. What’s your favourite South Asian snack? 

My favourite South Asian snack is definitely aloo tikki with channa (potato patty with chickpea curry) and a bit of tamarind chutney on top. It’s not something that I have very often anymore, but it reminds me of my childhood. More recently, it’s always an appetizer served at weddings that I look forward to!

  1. What are some moments in your career that you are proud of?

Overall, I am proud of myself for being the only first generation post-grad educated professional in my family. I took a big leap going to an international law school. I had always wanted to see the world and live in a beautiful country (can’t get any better than Australia) and I was able to experience that while completing my education.

Coming back to Canada, I had gained support from mentors and joined various organizations to help break into the market. Now, I’m proud to be an integral part of various organizations in a leadership role where I can give back to the community.More recently, in only two years I have completely shifted industries from FinTech to transportation and logistics on top of working in a virtual environment. I would say that I am proud of my career leap and pat myself on the shoulder for doing it all remotely!

 

 

SABA Spotlight Series – Ashok Menen

SABA Spotlight Series – Ashok Menen 

By Vipal Jain, WeirFoulds LLP

Ashok Menen is a lawyer and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) with a background in forensic accounting.  Ashok recently joined the Financial Crime and Investigations Group at Export Development Canada (EDC) as a Senior Advisor.   Prior to joining EDC, Ashok served as Senior Investigation Counsel in the Enforcement Branch of the Ontario Securities Commission.  Before entering law, Ashok worked as a forensic accountant at a Big Four accounting firm and at a global forensic accounting boutique.  

 

Ashok has been a member of SABA since 2015.  This year marks his fourth year as a director.  He currently co-chairs SABA’s Pro Bono and Community Outreach Committee.  

 

Ashok was born in Singapore and immigrated with his family when he was 10 years old.  Ashok is passionate about issues affecting immigrants and in particular, helping newcomers integrate into the Canadian job market and fully leverage the value of the skills and experience they bring.  

 

  1. Is your current career path what you originally intended?

I am not sure I ever expected my career path to take such a circuitous route.  I did have aspirations to combine a CA and a law degree.  However, I started to have serious doubts somewhere around the second time I failed the Uniform Final Exam (UFE), which was then the final hurdle before being admitted as a Chartered Accountant. Luckily, I eventually passed and was able to go to law school in my 30s; almost a decade after I started my first full-time job in accounting. I owe my career to a supportive family and most of all, an amazing partner.  

The focus of my career has been financial misconduct and risk management.  I have been drawn to roles with a strong public interest bent. I am incredibly fortunate to have been given opportunities to do what I consider to be interesting and meaningful work in large part because I have benefited from the guidance of wonderful mentors; particularly those in the legal profession.  

  1. Do you have a favourite memory from being part of SABA? 

My favourite memory was helping organize and participate in SABA’s Pro Bono Ontario (PBO) Hotline initiative.  It was rewarding being able to assist people who may not otherwise have access to legal services. The tools that the PBO Hotline has developed for volunteers make you feel incredibly well supported.  

To that end, in March 2022, SABA is conducting a month-long drive to encourage members to volunteer for the PBO Hotline.  I urge members to please sign up by clicking here

  1. What do you like to do during your down time to relax?

I usually unwind by running a marathon or translating ancient Sanskrit texts into Latin. If I don’t have time for any of that, I am perfectly happy with a good book or a British detective series on demand and a pint of local craft beer.  That first part is a joke…my Latin is not what it once was.

  1. What’s your favourite South Asian snack? 

Growing up in Singapore, I think my favourite snacks are actually from South East Asia.  There’s a savoury pastry from that part of the world called a curry puff that I am quite fond of.  Then again, because I enjoy food so much, I am not sure whether curry puffs are truly my favourite snack or whether they are just something I am currently craving.  

  1. What’s something unique that you have learned from practicing law that you can share with other lawyers? 

One aspect that I think exists in many professions but is perhaps more pronounced in law is the willingness of lawyers to serve as mentors.   As I noted above, I have benefited immensely from mentorship throughout my career.  I have generally found people I approach for mentorship and guidance to be very generous with their time and advice.  

If I have one piece of advice for young lawyers, it would be to seek out mentorship; formal or otherwise.  If you are unable to find mentors at your current employer, organizations like SABA provide plenty of opportunities to meet and learn from senior members of the bar.  If your experience is anything like mine, these mentors will provide sage advice in various stages of your career and remain an important part of your life for years to come.  Of course, the gift of such guidance comes with an obligation to pay it forward.  There is no dearth of opportunities to serve as a mentor if you are so inclined.  In addition to mentoring through your workplace and at SABA, I would encourage members to consider serving as a mentor to a newcomer through the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).  

Canadian Law Awards 2022

The annual Canadian Law Awards is proudly returning for its third year, as a prestigious in-person gala, to celebrate the best and brightest in the legal profession. There are 20-plus prestigious categories open to law firms, in-house legal teams, individuals and dealmakers. This is the perfect opportunity to honour your firm or team after an extraordinary year, raise your company’s profile and showcase your achievements on a national stage.  We encourage SABA members to put their names forward.   

Nominations are open from Nov. 29, 2021 to Feb. 4, 2022. The shortlisted Excellence awardees will be announced in March 2022. The winners will be announced and celebrated at the highly anticipated in-person gala on May 19, 2022 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

To learn more about the process and criteria, visit https://lawawards.ca/.

SABA Spotlight Series – Melissa Krishna

SABA Spotlight Melissa Krishna

Melissa is a South Asian lawyer who moved to Canada from Bangalore, India, at the age of 11. Melissa is the Associate General Counsel at BentallGreenOak (Canada) Limited Partnership, a global real estate investment company. Her role requires her to wear many different hats including negotiator of commercial contracts to manager of real estate transactions to advisor on employment matters with respect to the company’s nearly 1,500 employees.

Melissa is a former board member of SABA. She enjoys volunteering, hiking and Bollywood dancing. In addition to English, Melissa speaks Hindi and Kannada.

1. Is your current career path what you originally intended?

Yes and No. In high school, as part of the co-op program, I did a placement at a lawyer’s office and knew after that that I wanted to be a lawyer. However, in law school, I was convinced I was going to be a tax lawyer until I got to spend some time in the tax department during articling and realized that it was not for me.

2. What are some moments in your career that you are proud of?

I led the largest M&A deal that was undertaken by the oil and gas company I was working with a few years ago. The deal involved the acquisition of a company that was listed on both the Toronto stock exchange and the Colombian stock exchange. As such, there were many regulatory challenges as well as deal complexities. The deal won the company a Dealmaker award and my work on the deal was instrumental in making me a finalist for the Tomorrow’s Leader Award.

3. What’s your favourite memory from being part of SABA?

One of the things that I cherish from being part of SABA is the fact that we instituted a mentorship program this year. Having benefited from informal mentors, I’m very passionate about mentorship and am thrilled that we are able to leverage our large membership base to create such relationships to empower and enrich young lawyers. I have generally thoroughly enjoyed my time on the SABA board because of the smart, engaged and dedicated lawyers that form the board.

4. What’s your favourite South Asian snack?

My all time favourite South Asian snack is probably my mom’s medhu vada. I’ve never had a vada that is more crispy or perfect than the ones my mom makes!

5. What was the best advice you received about the practice of law?

I was told to try to give the other side the benefit of the doubt and to understand what is motivating them to argue the point that they are making – this has helped me significantly in not only resolving negotiations amicably but quite often, in my favour.

As an articling student, I was told: “No one expects you to know any law at this point, the best thing you have to offer is your reliability”. This advice has served me well throughout my career as I try to ensure my clients (internal and external while in private practice) feel that they can depend on me.

Justice Russell Juriansz Retirement and Creation of New Award

ANNOUNCEMENT: SABA CONGRATULATES TRAILBLAZER, JUSTICE RUSSELL JURIANSZ, WITH CREATION OF NEW AWARD

TORONTO, ONTARIO – The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto (SABA Toronto) congratulates one of its most important members, the Honourable Justice Russell G. Juriansz, on his retirement from the Ontario Court of Appeal. After first being appointed to the bench in 1998, his ground-breaking and historic career included, among many other accolades, becoming the first South Asian appointed to the Ontario Superior of Justice and the first racialized person appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. Justice Juriansz was sworn out of office on August 30, 2021.

Justice Juriansz was called to the bar in 1974 and spent 24 years as a constitutional and human rights lawyer, appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada on several occasions. He and his wife Kaye Joachim worked tirelessly to protect human rights in Canada.

To commemorate and honour the career and achievements of Justice Juriansz and his wife, SABA Toronto is proud to announce the creation of the Juriansz and Joachim Award for Excellence in Human Rights. The award will recognize outstanding singular or cumulative contributions to the promotion and advancement of human rights as defined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other human rights legislation in Canada. The award will be presented annually at SABA’s Gala and Awards night, and will foster donations to the endowments currently existing in Justice Juriansz’ name at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Speaking at his swearing-out ceremony on August 30, 2021, current SABA President, Devin Persaud, thanked Justice Juriansz for his innumerable contributions to the bar and his passion for improving the law and the legal process.  Notable SABA members have also offered the following heartfelt messages:

As a lawyer, Justice Juriansz was a lion of the human rights bar. As a judge, he brought that same intelligence, thoughtfulness, and empathy to bear, which made him one of our finest. Justice Juriansz has been many “firsts” and, in just being so, South Asian lawyers across North America have stood on his shoulders. He has been a mentor to and champion for many lawyers of all backgrounds, providing sage advice and guidance on how to navigate our profession and our duties. His presence on the bench will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

Ranjan Agarwal, SABA President (2015 – 2017)

Humble, brilliant and supportive are the words that come to mind when describing The Honourable Juriansz.  His support of SABA since its onset and his model to our members has been inspiring.  His accessibility and engaging presence in the legal community has encouraged and influenced so many.  As the first South Asian Justice on the Court of Appeal, he has paved a road for many to follow and for that, we are forever grateful.

Sudevi Mukherjee-Gothi, SABA President (2010 – 2011)

Beyond the obviously tremendous intellect, Justice Juriansz carried himself with a charm and dignity that made me feel privileged to be in his company.  As I got to know him, my admiration grew as I understood what he went through being a trailblazer for the South Asians in Canadian society and our legal system.  His leadership and tenacity in pushing for greater meaningful South Asian representation in law firms and the judiciary was unwavering.  Justice Juriansz inspired many of us, including myself.  He is a reminder that we are never too old to find role models.

Bobby Sachdeva, Miller Thomson LLP

SABA Toronto congratulates Justice Juriansz on his retirement and extends heartfelt wishes to Kaye and the rest of their family on the next stage of their lives.

About SABA Toronto

The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto is Canada’s largest equity-seeking bar organization, dedicated to promoting the objectives of South Asian members of the legal profession. SABA represents South Asian legal professionals and ensures that their interests are recognized, respected and voiced with the Law Society of Ontario and various levels of provincial and federal government. SABA aims to unite its over 800 members, deliver programming for professional growth and advancement, promote access to justice and give back to South Asian communities.  Its membership is dynamic, ever-expanding and includes legal professionals from large and small law firms, sole practitioners, government agencies/ departments, non-profit organizations, and corporations. Members of the judiciary, academics and law students also form an integral part of SABA Toronto.

South Asian Bar Association of Toronto

sabatoronto@gmail.com

SABA Toronto Elects new Executive and Board Members

ANNOUNCEMENT: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS, NEW BOARD EXECUTIVE, AND STUDENT RECOGNITION AWARDS

https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/resources/practice-management/south-asian-bar-association-of-toronto-names-new-executive-and-board-members/358803

TORONTO, ONTARIO – The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto (SABA Toronto), which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, held their Annual General Meeting on July 28, 2021. During the meeting, new board members and a new executive were also elected. SABA also recognized its Student Recognition Award Winners during this meeting.

SABA Board of Directors, 2021-2022

The 2021-2022 Board of Directors of SABA in alphabetical order by last name are:

  • Anisha Bhardwaj
  • Monty Dhaliwal
  • Davin Garg
  • Maneesha Gupta
  • Ravi Jain
  • Komil Joshi
  • Arun Krishnamurti
  • Sarah Malik
  • Amrita Mann
  • Ashok Menen
  • Devin Persaud
  • Janani Shanmuganathan
  • Mohena Singh
  • Amrita Tamber
  • Annie Tayyab
Aaron Bains will continue to serve on the board as Past-President

SABA Toronto would like to thank all the outgoing Board members for their leadership and hard work.

SABA Board Executive

Devin Persaud of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP has been newly elected as the President of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto. “It is my privilege to lead this storied organization and I look forward to working with our new board on continuing SABA’s essential mandates. We will continue to support and uplift both our members and our communities as we emerge from the effects of the pandemic. We also look forward to showcasing our city in preparing to host the national SABA convention in 2024 for the first time,” said Persaud.

Annie Tayyab has been elected as Vice-President, Monty Dhaliwal elected as Secretary, and

Mohena Singh appointed as Treasurer.

SABA Student Recognition Award Winners

SABA Toronto would also like to congratulate our Student Recognition Award Winners: Farrah Kudus from Queen’s University Faculty of Law, Priyanka Bahl from the University of Ottawa, Darren Gill from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, and Shruti Ramesh from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. All award winners were selected due to their outstanding contributions to their schools, SALSA Chapters, local communities, and outstanding academic achievements.

About SABA Toronto

The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto is Canada’s largest equity-seeking bar organization, dedicated to promoting the objectives of South Asian members of the legal profession. SABA represents South Asian legal professionals and ensures that their interests are recognized, respected and voiced with the Law Society of Ontario and various levels of provincial and federal government. SABA aims to unite its over 800 members, deliver programming for professional growth and advancement, promote access to justice and give back to South Asian communities. Its membership is dynamic, ever-expanding and includes legal professionals from large and small law firms, sole practitioners, government agencies/ departments, non-profit organizations, and corporations. Members of the judiciary, academics and law students also form an integral part of SABA Toronto.

Congratulations to Justice Jamal on his Appointment to the Supreme Court

SABA MEMBER APPOINTED TO SUPREME COURT OF CANADA

SABA Toronto extends a warm congratulations to Justice Mahmud Jamal for his nomination to the Supreme Court of Canada, which was announced earlier today. We are excited to see this historic nomination of a judge with South Asian heritage to the highest court in the country.

Justice Jamal has had a distinguished legal career. Immediately before his nomination to the Supreme Court, he served as a judge on the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Before his time on the bench, he practised with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in the fields of appellate litigation, constitutional and public law, class actions, and commercial litigation. He appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in 35 appeals addressing a wide range of civil, constitutional, criminal, and regulatory issues. He also appeared before various provincial courts, the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, and Tax Court of Canada, and federal and provincial administrative tribunals. He is bilingual.

We are proud to count Justice Jamal as a long-time supporter and member of SABA Toronto. Justice Jamal was a director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, The Advocates’ Society, and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. He was a member of the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute and a trustee of the Canadian Business Law Journal. He has taught constitutional law at McGill University, administrative law at Osgoode Hall Law School, and published widely in his areas of practice. He was also chair of Osler’s pro bono program and a member of its Partnership Board.

We wish Justice Jamal the best as he goes through the formal appointment process.

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SABA Toronto félicite chaleureusement le juge Mahmud Jamal pour sa nomination à la Cour suprême du Canada, qui a été annoncée plus tôt aujourd’hui. Nous sommes ravis de voir cette nomination historique d’un juge d’origine sud-asiatique à la plus haute cour du pays.

Le juge Jamal a une carrière juridique remarquable. Avant sa nomination à la Cour suprême, il a été juge à la Cour d’appel de l’Ontario. Avant de siéger à la Cour, il a exercé le droit au sein du cabinet Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP dans les domaines du droit constitutionnel et public, du droit des recours collectifs, du droit d’appel et du litige commercial. Il a plaidé devant la Cour suprême du Canada à 35 reprises dans des causes portant sur un large éventail de questions touchant au droit civil, constitutionnel, criminel et réglementaire. Il a également plaidé devant diverses cours provinciales, la Cour fédérale, la Cour d’appel fédérale, la Cour canadienne de l’impôt, ainsi que devant plusieurs tribunaux administratifs fédéraux et provinciaux. Le juge Jamal est bilingue.

Nous sommes fières de compter le juge Jamal parmi les partisans et membres de longue date de SABA Toronto. Il a également été administrateur de l’Association canadienne des libertés civiles, de La Société des plaideurs et de la Société Osgoode pour l’histoire juridique canadienne. Il a été membre de l’Institut de plaidoirie devant la Cour suprême et fiduciaire de la Revue canadienne du droit de commerce. Il a enseigné le droit constitutionnel à l’Université McGill, le droit administratif à la Faculté de droit Osgoode Hall et a publié de nombreux articles dans ses domaines de pratique. Il a également été président du programme de pro bono du cabinet Osler et membre de son conseil de partenariat.

Nous souhaitons bonne chance au juge Jamal dans le cadre de la procédure de nomination officielle.

 

SABA SPOTLIGHT SERIES – SARAH MALIK

Sarah Malik is an Assistant Crown Attorney with the Ministry of the Attorney General. She prosecutes a variety of offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. Prior to that, she was a criminal defence lawyer with Hicks Adams LLP where she successfully represented clients facing a variety of offences in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Sarah obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Ottawa and her Honours Bachelors of Arts from York University. She has a passion for social justice and is an advocate for diversity, equity, and opportunity in the profession and society at large.

 

Sarah grew up in Canada from the age of 11 years. Sarah enjoys South Asian food, particularly Haleem, which is a savory stew consisting of meat, lentils, spices, and herbs. In addition to English, Sarah is fluent in Urdu and can understand Hindi and Punjabi.

  1. What attracted you to criminal law?

I was not always sure that I wanted to be a lawyer, let alone a criminal lawyer, but it is one of few professions I considered seriously. I wanted to work with people and advocate for them so I wanted to be in a social justice field. I learned from participating in a mock trial competition in high school and then later mooting in law school that I wanted to be in the courtroom. Hence, I ended up pursuing that passion. I have been blessed and fortunate enough to have received opportunities that have allowed me to continue on this career path. I like that as a criminal lawyer, I can advocate for people, fight for their rights, and can have a direct impact on their everyday lives.

 

  1. What are some moments in your career that you are proud of?

I find the quiet moments of the day to day work the most rewarding. Any day where I can either help a client who had their life turned upside down as a result of criminal charges or assist a complainant or the public to tell their evidence in court makes the work meaningful. If I can help any person get through a difficult day, then that day is worth it. The bigger precedent setting wins and jury trial wins do matter for sure and are a great dose of encouragement and pride we all need from time to time, but it is these quieter moments involving a lot of emotions, high stakes, and a variety of challenges that also make the career worthwhile.

 

  1. What is your favourite memory from being part of SABA?

Being a part of the SABA board has been a wonderful experience. Organizing the 2019 annual gala has been one of my favorite memories. It was the first SABA gala that I planned as a member of the board. It was rewarding to see the long nights and the efforts pay off with a wonderful event that brought so much of the legal community together. 

 

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, I was directly involved in transitioning SABA events and advocacy efforts to a greater electronic format without affecting our ability to be a voice for the membership. Being able to do this fast, effectively, and while helping the organization adjust to the change caused by the pandemic was rewarding. This laid the groundwork for SABA Toronto to continue to be a leading legal diversity organization in Canada.

  1. If you weren’t a lawyer, what else would you be? 

I may have become either an academic or a journalist. These are professions I have considered aside from law. I enjoy the process of taking the time to research a topic and present a story. I suppose, in a way, that is what lawyers do everyday, but to approach it from another angle continues to intrigue me.

  1. What is the best advice you can give about the practice of law? 

 

Be authentic and the rest will follow. Never compromise your principles, ethics, faith, and well-being for anything. There will be challenges and they will come from different angles. Hard work as well as a good support system (whether from colleagues and/or a trusted group of legal and non-legal friends and/or family) is absolutely vital in this profession. Things will unfold and happen exactly as they are meant to.