2018 Precedent Setter Award Winner: Marianne Salih

Meet the criminal-defence lawyer with an intimidating courtroom record

Marianne Salih

Associate, Edward H. Royle & Partners LLP
Called to the bar in 2015

It’s because of defence counsel like Marianne Salih that the poor have any representation in the criminal-justice system at all. As an associate at Edward H. Royle & Partners, Salih works primarily on legal-aid cases. But since the number of hours she can bill on each case is capped, she has to take on a large volume of files. And, on top of that, she has to work fast: that’s the only way for the business model to work.

Marianne Salih“I genuinely believe in what I’m doing,” says the 28-year-old. “By making sure the system works properly, I hope to contribute to the betterment of society.”

Her courtroom record is intimidating. Out of 14 trials, Salih has won 12. This spring, she took charge of her firm’s appeals department — an impressive appointment for a lawyer so junior.

Salih was born in Sudan. When she was one year old, her family moved to Ireland. And when she was 16, the family arrived in Toronto. After completing her undergrad in political science, she enrolled in law school at the University of Toronto. After her first year, she went to Geneva to summer at the International Bridges to Justice, where she helped train criminal-defence counsel in developing countries. That marked a significant turning point. “I decided to become a defence lawyer,” she recalls. “And since then, I’ve never wanted to do anything else.”

In her free time, she’s trying to master vegan cooking. And she’s recently taken up bowling. But her main concern is her clients. “I firmly believe in every case I do,” she says, “either for the individual or for the system.”

Don’t forget to read about our other amazing winners.

This story is from our Summer 2018 Issue.

Photography by Kayla Rocca, hair and makeup by Michelle Calleja, shot on location at the Assembly Chef’s Hall