Associate, Boghosian + Allen LLP
Called to the bar in 2011
Shaneka Taylor remembers the first time she felt like a successful lawyer. It took place a few years ago, early in her career as a busy insurance-defence litigator. Taylor was in court, about to begin a motion, when the opposing counsel walked over. He said that, as he researched for the case, he saw Taylor’s name all over the relevant caselaw. Every time, she’d won. And she won that day, too.
Taylor, a sixth-year associate at Boghosian + Allen LLP, is a rare breed in insurance defence. Most lawyers in the field work toward settlements, but she takes complex cases to trial. So she’s in court a lot. Recently, she’s become a go-to lawyer when municipalities are hit with lawsuits. (This happens when someone alleges that faulty infrastructure — roads, sewers and so on — led to an injury.) “I don’t want to sound arrogant,” says the 33-year-old, with a smile. “But I’ve added to that area of law quite a bit. If someone is researching a case, they’ll come across cases I’ve argued and won.”
Her firm’s managing partner, David Boghosian, sees in Taylor a preternatural courtroom presence. “She has incredible charisma,” he says. “She is going to be a winner in the practice of law.”
Outside the courtroom, Taylor, who’s married to downtown banker Patrick Taylor, is a community leader. As vice-president of the Black Female Lawyers Network, she spearheaded, with the Ontario Justice Education Network, a program called Lil Sistahs.
At the BFLN annual retreat, she invites 10 to 15 black high-school girls to spend the day with a member. The goal is to show them that a legal career could be in their future. “Throughout the day, we see the transformation. They see that it’s possible.”
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Photography by Lorne Bridgman, hair and makeup by Shawna Lee, shot on location at the Aga Khan Museum.