The 2018 SABA Toronto Gala // The Circuit

South Asian Bar Association of Toronto 2018 Gala
The keynote speaker, Neil Pasricha, delivered a simple message: it is possible to be happier

By Christina Gonzales

On Wednesday December 5th, 2018

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South Asian Bar Association of Toronto - 2018 Gala


What: The 2018 South Asian Bar Association of Toronto Gala and Awards Night
Where: The Liberty Grand, Toronto
When: Thursday, November 28, 2018


On the evening of Thursday, November 28, close to 600 lawyers gathered at The Liberty Grand in Toronto for the annual South Asian Bar Association (SABA) gala. “Our bar association began as a gathering space for a small group of South Asian lawyers over 13 years ago,” said Aarondeep Bains, the president of SABA and an associate at Aird & Berlis LLP, in his address. “Today, SABA Toronto has grown to be the largest organization of South Asian lawyers anywhere in North America.”

His remarks set the stage for the evening’s keynote speaker, Neil Pasricha, the author of the best-selling Book of Awesome. The core message of his speech was simple: it is possible to be happier.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he said, after declaring this thesis. “You’re thinking, If increasing my happiness was easy, I’d be doing it already. I’m a smart person — I’m a lawyer!

Pasricha went on to point out three small things that, according to academic research, can make people happier with a 20-minute-a-day time commitment. The first? “A brisk walk among trees,” he said. “Trees release chemicals called phytoncides, which lower cortisol, the stress hormone.” The second: journaling. And lastly: “reading twenty minutes of fiction — from a real book!” As he exclaimed this point, the crowd cheered.

Following the keynote came the awards portion of the night. The 2018 Legal Excellence Awards went to two lawyers: Sunny Sodhi, the chief legal officer and chief innovation officer at Meridian, and Usman Sheikh, a partner at Gowling WLG. Faisal Mirza, a criminal-defence lawyer at Mirza Kwok Defence Lawyers, received the 2018 Diversity Award.


To find out more about the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto, please visit the SABA website.


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Photography by 5ive15ifteen Studio