2013 Precedent Setter Award Winner: Shantona Chaudhury

Meet 2013 Precedent Setter Shantona Chaudhury

Shantona Chaudhury
Associate, Pape Barristers PC
Called to the bar in 2007

• Co-executive director of the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute
•Played Phebe in As You Like It and Praxagora in Assembly of Women in amateur productions
• Took a hilarious swipe at boss Paul Pape in “A Year With Pape” in The Advocates’ Journal

If all the world’s a stage, Shantona Chaudhury has already played many key roles. After earning a master’s in French literature, clerking for former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie and doing graduate work at Oxford, Chaudhury now practices at Pape Barristers, a Toronto-based firm that specializes in commercial litigation and appeals. “I’ve been intimately involved in some complicated, highstakes cases where the pressure is really intense.”

Any jitters about appearing in appeals court in her current role were allayed, in part, by her amateur acting experience. “It helped me to learn to communicate and express things in a public setting. And it helped control nerves,” says Chaudhury.

Writing seems to be a stress-free experience for Chaudhury, with her skill in drafting clear, concise factums earning praise. “Outstanding,” is the word used by Justice James MacPherson of the Ontario Court of Appeal. Roger Oatley, a personal injury lawyer that Chaudhury has assisted, lauds her ability to “slice through an apparently complex matter and express the issues in a clear, straightforward and elegant way.” She’s also known for being able to sort through the complexities of causation, and presented at the Law Society on the topic.

Chaudhury does admit to some nerves while waiting for a court decision, comparing winning a case to taking home a Grand Slam. She feels a kinship with tennis pros: “They’re out there alone in this high-pressure situation.” Spanish champ Rafael Nadal is one of her three heroes. The other two: Binnie and comedienne Tina Fey. Now that’s an interesting cast of characters.