SABA Spotlight Series – Aaron Bains

Aaron Bains is a South Asian lawyer and partner at Aird & Berlis LLP.  He has a business law practice, which includes mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financings and advising high net worth individuals and family offices. Aaron is from Surrey, British Columbia, where he grew up in a Punjabi family.  

Aaron initially began working with SABA Toronto several years ago as a volunteer, eventually being appointed to the Board and thereafter holding the roles of Treasurer, Vice President and President.  He is currently the Past President of SABA Toronto and Secretary of SABA North America.

Aaron spends his free time cooking and training as a classical Indian vocalist who also plays the harmonium. In addition to English, Aaron speaks Punjabi, intermediate French, and a little Italian.

1. What do you enjoy about your practice?

I enjoy problem solving and helping our clients effect their transactions.  A significant amount of my work is in the venture capital area.  As such, I am often asked to come up with creative solutions to overcome small and large barriers during a deal.  This can mean finding creative ways to provide security and assurance to a lender or investor in an otherwise risky and early stage investment to helping warring parties agree on middle ground solutions where their interests differ.

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

In the context of my professional work, I am most proud of how much I have learned and continue to learn on a daily basis and the positive impact that our work can have for clients.  Although I work in the area of corporate law, it is not all dollars and cents only.  I often help clients transition their businesses to the next generation, build and grow those businesses and one day sell them to see the profits of their decades of labour.  Outside of work, I am proud of the time that I have been able to dedicate to giving back to my community – through SABA and as a volunteer at several non-profit organizations in Toronto.  This year I was named the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man of the Year after my team and I fundraised over $115,000 for blood cancer research.

3. What is your favourite moment from serving as SABA’s president?

I love attending the SABA Gala – it takes a lot of work to put that event together.  The gala committee is always working very hard up to the last minute.  However, there is nothing better than seeing our diverse and exceptional bar present and having a good time at the best legal gala in the city.  Recently, I was also exceptionally proud of our conference on Anti-Black Racism.  We touched on important topics and, we were later told that the conference sparked discussions at attendees’ workplaces on issues of racism. 

4. What is your favourite South Asian snack?

This is very hard but I would probably say sirnee (it is a fried noodle that is broken up for munching on – ideally with a cold beer).

5. What’s something unique that you have learned from your own practice that you can share with other lawyers?

Although we think that our practices are very different, the common theme is that two parties failed to communicate their expectations and as a result they have now come to a conflict.  If we can start thinking from the perspective of our client and the other party and each of their expectations, then we will start to be able to effectively communicate, draft documents and complete transactions with a goal to meeting those expectations and often with less cost to the client.