Precedent Setter Awards 2022: Devin Persaud

At a young age, Persaud identified the law as a tool to fight injustice
Portrait of Devin Persaud
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Devin Persaud feels lucky to have grown up in Malvern, one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in Toronto. He came of age, in his words, “surrounded by people of different cultures.” But the community struggled to overcome poverty, discrimination and racial bias. At a young age, Persaud identified a tool that he could use to fight injustice: the law.

Portrait of Devin Persaud

Devin Persaud

Senior associate, Goodmans LLP
Year of call: 2015

The kid from Malvern is now an associate at Goodmans LLP. At 33, Persaud has built an impressive competition, antitrust, marketing and compliance practice. When companies are hit with allegations of monopolistic behaviour or unfair business practices, he often takes a leading role in the case. He regularly oversees teams of junior lawyers and advocates on behalf of clients in front of regulators and tribunals. “It’s just such a wide and fascinating area,” he says, “and relevant today as we look at large tech companies expanding their footprints.”

Back in 2018, Persaud ended up on a headline-grabbing case. As an associate at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, he became a core member of the legal team that represented Loblaws after it was accused of participating in a scheme that artificially raised the price of bread. He’s particularly proud to have helped the grocery chain implement a new compliance program that minimizes the risk of wrongdoing in the future. “Working with clients like this is amazing,” he says, “where you get to be embedded in their fabric for months.”

Persaud is also a leader in the broader profession. Since August 2021, he’s been president of the Toronto chapter of the South Asian Bar Association. “This is a really challenging job,” says Ranjan Agarwal, a past president of the organization and a partner at Bennett Jones LLP. “The South Asian bar in Toronto is diverse. You’ve got people like me and Devin practising in big firms. You’ve got lawyers running small practices in strip malls. Devin needs to be president of all of us. And he’s doing that incredibly well.”

In Malvern, Persaud remains an active member of the community. He helped found an organization for local youth, and he provides pro bono legal advice to community groups. “It’s really important for those of us who’ve achieved something,” he says, “to do what we can to send the elevator back down.” 

This story is from our Summer 2022 Issue.

Photography by Kayla Rocca. Hair and makeup by Aniya Nandy.