2011 Precedent Setter Award Winner: Karima Kanani

Introducing Karima Kanani, a lawyer who stands out
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Karima Kanani
The Collaborator

  • Partner, Health Industry Group at Miller Thomson LLP
  • Called to the bar in 2004
  • Co-author of popular textbook Essential Law for Social Work Practice in Canada
  • Prolific public speaker addressing the healthcare industry
  • Organized Celebrating Women on the Rise in 2010, a networking event for senior female members of the healthcare industry
  • Member, International Strategic Partnership Committee of the Aga Khan Council of Canada, which partners with hospitals in developing countries like Afghanistan


Karima Kanani is used to being in the hot seat. She recently served as lead corporate counsel to James Bay General Hospital in its highly politicized merger with Weeneebayko Health Ahtuskaywin. As she does in so many of her cases, Kanani demonstrated social and cultural sensitivity in what was a complicated integration involving First Nations and two levels of government.

As a partner and corporate/commercial lead of Miller Thomson LLP’s heath industry group, Kanani’s formidable negotiation skills have resulted in numerous health care initiatives and mergers that create better outcomes for countless patients, health care workers and administrators across the province.

Kanani, 34, completed a joint program in law and social work at the University of Toronto — a choice that her Bay Street colleagues find interesting. “But social work is really just a degree in people,” says Kanani. “You’re learning about human interaction, mediation, working with people and being able to empathize and understand where individuals are coming from.”

Her passion extends to her life outside work, whether it’s public speaking or forging partnerships to improve health care abroad. Luckily her husband Arif Harji, an entrepreneur who runs a global foreign exchange company, shares her values.

“You can’t manage a busy legal practice, write books and be an active community volunteer without a very understanding partner!” says Kanani.