The Circuit: Precedent Setter Awards 2017

Precedent Setter Awards 2017


What: Precedent Setter Awards 2017
Where: The Spoke Club, 600 King St. W.
When: June 13, 2017


No event brings us as much pleasure as our annual celebration of the winners of the Precedent Setter Awards.

More than 120 lawyers and guests came out to the Spoke Club in downtown Toronto to honour this year’s winners. It’s a chance for the legal community in Toronto to congratulate and mingle with all six winners, who, in their first 10 years of practice, are doing cutting-edge legal work and improving the profession.

And this year’s celebration was particularly special, as 2017 marks an important milestone for the magazine: its 10th anniversary. “When I look back on the past decade, I’m most proud of nights like this,” said Precedent’s publisher and editor Melissa Kluger, in her remarks at the event, “when we celebrate law’s true trailblazers, who reflect the diverse fabric of the profession.”

Congratulations again to all our winners:

Konata Lake

Konata Lake
Associate, Torys LLP
Read Konata’s profile

Clara Pham

Clara Pham
Director of Tax, Restaurant Brands International Corporation
Read Clara’s profile

Justin Safeyeni

Justin Safayeni
Associate, Stockwoods LLP
Read Justin’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaneka Taylor

Shaneka Taylor
Associate, Boghosian + Allen LLP
Read Shaneka’s profile

Glenford Jameson

Glenford Jameson
Principal, G. S. Jameson & Company
Read Glenford’s profile

Emily Lam

Emily Lam
Partner, Greenwood Lam LLP
Read Emily’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We’d also like to thank the sponsors of the 2017 Precedent Setter Awards.

Presenting sponsor
:
RainMaker Group

 

 

Event sponsors:

5ive15ifteen Photo Irwin LawLaurel HillRyerson LPPLawyers Financial Osgoode Professional Development

 

 

 

 


Event photography by 5ive15ifteen Studio

Winners’ portraits by Lorne Bridgman

Editor’s Note: Make way for Moana

Moana is a new kind of fairy tale. In this Disney movie, there’s no princess in need of rescue; no character faces a crippling hardship. In fact, the heroine of this legend has it pretty good: she’s next in line to become the chief of her people. Her father thinks she is perfect for the job. Everyone else on the island seems to agree. And absolutely no one questions whether a woman should be chief. Moana is destined to be the leader of a peaceful, happy people. She’s got it made.

If Moana isn’t on a constant loop at your house like it is at mine (I swear, it’s my six-year-old requesting it), here’s the story’s central conflict: although Moana is the heir to the throne, she feels a pull to something greater — the sea. Her father forbids her to leave the island, but Moana defies him. Risking her life and that of her pet rooster, Heihei, she embarks on a dangerous journey. And in the end, she saves her people in a way she never could have as chief.

This issue of Precedent is full of Moanas. No, they’re not teenage warriors, but they’re heroes nonetheless. In law, it can be easy to settle into a preordained role. Once you land that law-firm job or move in-house, it’s easy to stay put.

But some lawyers feel drawn to a greater challenge. Consider the career of Saron Gebresellassi. After articling at a personal injury firm, she had a clear path to working in the lucrative practice area. Instead, she launched an activist law practice that’s now dedicated to defending clients against injustice and discrimination.

In this issue, you’ll also meet the winners of this year’s Precedent Setter Awards. Many of them have careers that would make Moana proud. Emily Lam is one example. In her experience, our profession doesn’t offer much support to racialized women. And so, rather than retreating into the relative safety of a large firm or company, she took a risk and started a criminal-law shop with her friend Jessyca Greenwood. By doing so, she makes it just a bit easier for the next crop of racialized women starting out as lawyers.

Our profession could use a few more Moanas right now. If everyone sits back and enjoys the comfort of their jobs, who will confront the challenges our profession faces? If you’re thinking of taking a risk, I encourage you to channel your inner Disney warrior princess and set sail on that adventure.

Signature

 

 

Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor
@melissakluger


Post Script: They like us!

In our Winter 2016 issue, we published an exclusive profile of Ontario’s controversial former attorney general, Michael Bryant. Seven years after his involvement in a car accident that left a cyclist dead, we found him in a surprising place: conducting bail hearings as a criminal lawyer. The piece digs into his past as a recovering alcoholic and explores how he intends to build a practice that serves, in part, those who struggle with substance abuse. And this spring, that piece, written by Precedent’s senior editor Daniel Fish, received nominations for two National Magazine Awards, for best profile and best professional article. You can check out the prize-worthy story here.

UPDATE: Since this issue went to press, our piece on Michael Bryant won the gold medal for professional article.


More from the Summer Issue:

Saron GebresellassiStairsMount VinsonSearching for answersRick Visca

 

 

 

 

 


Precedent Summer 2017 IssueThis story is from our Summer 2017 issue.

 

 

 


Photo of Melisa by Mckenzie James

The 2017 Precedent Setter Awards

 

Staircase at the Aga Khan MuseumWant to know how to spot a first-rate lawyer? Well, there are three easy giveaways. One, they’ve mastered their field of law, with a track record to prove it. Two, they offer time to organizations that help the community. And three, they can’t help but look fierce against the crisp, awe-inspiring backdrop of the Aga Khan Museum.

Okay, so maybe the judges of this year’s Precedent Setter Awards didn’t consider that last one in their deliberations. But the first two were definitely on their minds. See below to meet six outstanding lawyers, all in their first 10 years of practice, looking pretty damn determined at one of Toronto’s architectural wonders.

 

 

 


The Winners

Konata Lake

Konata Lake
Associate, Torys LLP
Read Konata’s profile

Clara Pham

Clara Pham
Director of Tax, Restaurant Brands International Corporation
Read Clara’s profile

Justin Safeyeni

Justin Safayeni
Associate, Stockwoods LLP
Read Justin’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaneka Taylor

Shaneka Taylor
Associate, Boghosian + Allen LLP
Read Shaneka’s profile

Glenford Jameson

Glenford Jameson
Principal, G. S. Jameson & Company
Read Glenford’s profile

Emily Lam

Emily Lam
Partner, Greenwood Lam LLP
Read Emily’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Judges

Katherine Hensel, Founder, Hensel Barristers

Leila Rafi, Partner, McMillan LLP

Paul Jonathan Saguil, Associate VP, TD Bank

Brendan Wong, Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP


Behind-the-scenes photos

Check out the behind-the-scenes photos from the photo shoot with the winners!

017 Precedent Setter Awards - Behind-the-scenes photo shoot


Precedent Summer 2017 IssueThis story is from our Summer 2017 issue.

 

 

 


Photography by Lorne Bridgman, hair and makeup by Shawna Lee, shot on location at the Aga Khan Museum.

Precedent Setter Awards 2017: Emily Lam

Emily Lam

Partner, Greenwood Lam LLP
Called to the bar in 2008

Emily Lam was facing one of the hardest cases of her career. It was 2014, and a young man had been charged with sexual assault. He had lost his job and become a pariah in his community. But Lam believed he was innocent. At the time, she was working as a defence lawyer at Rosen Naster LLP. It took Lam three years of tireless work to bring the case before the Ontario Superior Court. But it paid off: her client was acquitted and got his life back.

Emily LamOne of her greatest assets as a defence lawyer is the ability to empathize with her clients. “There were periods in my life when even I could have ended up with a criminal record,” reflects the 37-year-old, a daughter of Hong Kong immigrants, who went to school in Tuxedo Court, a low-income area in Scarborough. Though she never turned to crime, others in her neighbourhood did out of desperation. To Lam, the fact that she never fell in with the wrong crowd is simply a matter of luck.

Last year, Lam teamed up with her close friend, criminal lawyer Jessyca Greenwood, to launch Greenwood Lam LLP. “Emily gives so much thought to every case,” says Greenwood. “She’s skilled at dealing with the Crown. If there’s common ground, she’ll find it.”

Lam is always busy. She recently had a second child with her husband, Christian Vernon, an in-house lawyer with the grocery chain Metro, and still kept in touch with Greenwood about certain cases while on mat leave. She also volunteers at the Massey Centre for Women and mentors lawyers. “Young women in this profession, especially racialized women, generally don’t feel they have support from women. I want to be a guiding pillar.”


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


Photography by Lorne Bridgman, hair and makeup by Shawna Lee, shot on location at the Aga Khan Museum.