Associate, Torys LLP
Called to the bar in 2009
If Konata Lake is being honest, part of what drew him to law was air conditioning. As a child growing up in baking hot Jamaica, he’d finish school and wait for his mom, a legal secretary, as she finished work in her cool office. “Not knowing anything substantive about the law, it was still nice,” he says, laughing. “My mom worked with lawyers, so I thought, Okay, I want to be one. It was very linear.”
When Lake was 12, his mom, Alrica Gordon, moved him and his sister to Toronto. They settled in the Jane and Finch community and his mother got a job with Legal Aid Ontario. Lake went on to earn a dual JD-MBA from Osgoode Hall and Schulich. He launched his career in New York at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. Within a year, he moved to Torys LLP’s New York office. Soon after, he transferred to the firm’s Toronto office to be with his now-wife, ear-nose-and-throat surgeon Dupe Oyewumi. He now works on some of the most complex mergers and acquisitions in the country.
Last year, for example, he was one of the lead lawyers representing the province in a deal that saw it enter into an agreement in principle to sell shares in Hydro One to the First Nations of Ontario. The case was extremely complicated, but the deal went through. “One of the reasons I went into corporate work is I like that everyone wins,” says the 36-year-old. “Or maybe I just tell myself that.”
Lake’s mother died last year, after a six-year fight with cancer. Since 2009, he’s sponsored a scholarship in her name to help send a high-school student in the Jane and Finch area to university. “For the longest time, I wanted to learn from her. Then I wanted to make her proud. Now I want to continue her story.”
This story is from our Summer 2017 issue.