The Circuit: Precedent Setter Awards 2018

Precedent Setter Awards 2018


What: Precedent Setter Awards 2018
Where: The Spoke Club, 600 King St. W.
When: June 20, 2018


Our annual cocktail party to celebrate our Precedent Setter Award winners is always a memorable moment.

This June, more than 100 lawyers and guests gathered at the Spoke Club to honour this year’s winners. The event brought the legal community together to mingle with the six winners, all of whom, in their first 10 years of practice, have emerged as leaders in law.

“Every year, we receive many nominations for the Precedent Setter Awards,” said Precedent’s publisher and editor Melissa Kluger, in her remarks at the event. “We look for lawyers who’ve done outstanding legal work and been active members of their communities. This year’s winners are exceptional examples of just that.”

Congratulations again to all our winners:

Ren Bucholz-icon

Ren Bucholz
Associate, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Read Ren’s profile

Marianne Salih-icon

Marianne Salih
Associate, Edward H. Royle & Partners LLP
Read Marianne’s profile

Daniel Naymark icon

Daniel Naymark
Principal, Naymark Law
Read Daniel’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atrisha Lewis icon

Atrisha Lewis
Associate, McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Read Atrisha’s profile

Mariam Moktar-icon

Mariam Moktar
Associate, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP
Read Mariam’s profile

Ron Podolny-icon

Ron Podolny
Partner, Rochon Genova LLP
Read Ron’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We’d also like to thank the sponsors of the 2018 Precedent Setter Awards.

Presenting sponsor
:
RainMaker Group

 

 

Event sponsors:

5ive15ifteen Photo Brattle logo Laurel HillRyerson LPPLawyers Financial Osgoode Professional Development

 


Event photography by 5ive15ifteen Studio

Winners’ portraits by Kayla Rocca

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

The 2016 Precedent Setter Awards

Precedent Setter Awards 2016

One has sparked a tech revolution in tax law. Another has brought free legal help to hundreds of refugees. And one more kick-started his career by defending gun owners. The winners of this year’s Precedent Setter Awards are a varied bunch. But they all have this: wicked-smart legal minds that have thrust their careers into overdrive. And with an eye to community work, these lawyers are remaking the profession for the better. All in their first 10 years of practice.

Which is why, for their photo shoot, we took them out for brunch at Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie, perhaps the most stunning restaurant in the Distillery District. With its legit Parisian cuisine and elegant design, we could think of no better place to pamper lawyers who deserve a hard-won break.

May we proudly present the lawyers to watch in 2016.


The Winners

Lawyer Tanya Walker of Walker Law Professional Corporation

Tanya Walker
Founder, Walker Law Professional Corporation
Read Tanya’s profile

Lawyer Solomon Friedman of Edelson Clifford D'Angelo Friedman Barristers LLP

Solomon Friedman
Partner, Edelson Clifford D’Angelo Friedman Barristers LLP
Read Solomon’s profile

Lawyer Peter Aprile of Counter Tax Law

Peter Aprile
Founder, Counter Tax Lawyers
Read Peter’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lawyer Jacqueline Swaisland of Lorne Waldman Professional Corporation

Jacqueline Swaisland
Associate, Lorne Waldman Professional Corporation
Read Jacqueline’s profile

Lawyer Suhuyini Abudalai of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Suhuyini Abudulai Associate, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
Read Suhuyini’s profile

Lawyer Sunil Gurmukh of the Ontario Human Rights Commission

Sunil Gurmukh
Counsel, Ontario Human Rights Commission
Read Sunil’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Judges

Scott Hutchison, Partner, Henein Hutchison LLP

Lena Koke, Co-Founder, Axess Law

Isfahan Merali, Counsel, Consent and Capacity Board and Bencher, The Law Society of Upper Canada

Jason Woycheshyn, Partner, Bennett Jones LLP


Behind-the-scenes photos

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

Precedent Setter Awards 2016 - photo shoot


Photography Ian Patterson, hair and makeup by Jessica Haisinger, shot on location at Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

Editor’s Note: The Precedent team tries to attend that trial you may have heard of

A certain trial has gotten a fair amount of media attention. It involved a fallen-from-grace radio host, allegations of sexual assault, and a badass criminal lawyer. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

I’ve read and heard everything anyone could say about this trial — from how the legal system treats sexual-assault complainants, down to the minutiae of how relatives of both the judge and defence counsel work at the same firm. We’re in on the conversation, too. See our profile of Danielle Robitaille.

The exhaustive discussion, however, has overlooked one topic: Old City Hall. Have you been there lately? Have you flashed your Law Society card, skipped security and marched up the imposing central stairs? As a field trip, I took some of the Precedent staff there to watch that trial. After a two-hour wait in the general-public line, we didn’t get into the courtroom — nor the packed overflow room. So we gave up and watched the drama on Twitter.

Precedent staff, Old City Hall

After a failed attempt to see the trial of the decade, Precedent staff took a selfie on the courthouse steps

But the trip was eye-opening: Old City Hall is kind of terrible. There are no signs, no easy-to-find list of cases being heard and no one to ask for help. Keep in mind: I’m a lawyer. And a journalist. And I was on a “field trip” with colleagues. Most people visit court when facing charges, their futures in the balance. That’s already terrifying. Going to Old City Hall shouldn’t make it worse.

And I’m not alone in wishing the law worked better. In this issue, I’m thrilled to announce this year’s winners of the Precedent Setter Awards — six outstanding lawyers in their first 10 years of practice. Whether it’s jazzing up tax law, fighting racial profiling or running for bencher,
 they’re improving law with passion and
 new ideas.

***

Just so you know, I went back to court with my senior editor, Daniel Fish,
on another day of the famous trial.
 That time, we went as accredited media. We flashed our business cards and got preferred access to the courtroom. I know, you probably want to ask me all about it. But all I want to talk about is Old City Hall.

Sincerely,

Signature

 

 

Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor

 


Post Script: We’re on Instagram!

We love paper as much as you, but we’re also just as smartphone-addicted. And that means we can’t stop eyeballing the endless stream of photos on Instagram. But we’ve noticed pop stars and athletes vastly outnumber super-awesome lawyers. To correct the imbalance, we’ve joined the photo-sharing app. Follow us at @precedentmag for our latest updates and to see some of our favourite photos.


More from the Summer Issue:

Brian Temins, Lawyer

Law Practice Program Illustration

Danielle Robitaille, Lawyer, Henein Hutchison

How to cook faster

Tanya Walker, Lawyer

Editor’s Note: The lawyers driving change in 2015

You’ve probably seen the old footage by now: our new Justice Minister Jody Wilson- Raybould’s father addressing Pierre Trudeau at a 1983 constitutional conference on Aboriginal issues in Ottawa. Recorded 32 years ago, the footage shows Bill Wilson, then the vice president of the Native Council of Canada, telling the prime minister that he has two daughters. Both want to be lawyers (chuckles from the conference attendees). Both want to be prime minister (more chuckles).

It seemed like a joke then. But Wilson-Raybould, of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, is arguably getting closer than any Aboriginal woman before her to having a shot at Canada’s top job. And no one is joking. After all, it is 2015.

And so, I consider it excellent timing to share this issue of Precedent with you. Our cover story profiles three outstanding Aboriginal lawyers and the demanding, sometimes overwhelming work they do for Aboriginal peoples, each in a very different sphere of the law. You’ll find out what brought them to this point in their careers and you’ll see the optimism and resilience that keeps them going.

As we researched and edited this story, I was surprised by how much I learned. Among other things, I learned about Gladue reports — biographical documents generated on behalf of Aboriginal offenders in the criminal justice system — and also about a Toronto law firm, founded by non-Aboriginal lawyers, that works exclusively for Aboriginal clients.

It did not surprise me that the lawyers we met for this story are incredibly passionate, dedicated and generally amazing. To capture that energy, we hired Canada’s top portrait photographer Christopher Wahl to take their photos.

This issue is also filled with other incredibly passionate, dedicated and generally amazing lawyers. Did you know that Marie Henein is as passionate about interior design as she is about criminal law? Go take a peek at the newly renovated Henein Hutchison LLP offices to see proof. As for dedication, it’s hard to beat that of Jonathan Hood, who finds the time (and energy) to be a competition lawyer, a dad and an Ironman. And the phrase “generally amazing” only begins to describe Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP partner Patricia Olasker, founder of the annual AIDSbeat fundraiser. Since 1996, Olasker’s passion and dedication to the cause has helped raise $4 million for AIDS research.

By all counts, 2015 was a year marked by change — much of that driven by Toronto lawyers, whose stories I’m always proud to tell. And I, for one, am excited to see what big changes you all have in store for 2016.

Sincerely,

Signature

 

 

Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor


Post Script: Calling all amazing lawyers

Speaking of passionate, dedicated and generally amazing lawyers — we’re looking for more! We’re accepting applications for the seventh annual Precedent Setter Awards. Now’s the time to nominate lawyers in their first 10 years of practice who excel at work and in the community: leaders, innovators, envelope-pushers and badasses. Winners will be featured in our 2016 summer issue.

Nominations close January 29, 2016.


More from the winter issue:

Renatta Austin in Precedent magazineAdobo pork recipeJonathan Hood Secret LifeHenein Hutchison officeFallon Melander


 

 

 

 


Photo of Melissa by Mckenzie James.

The Circuit: Precedent Setter Awards 2015


What: Precedent Setter Awards 2015
Where: Spin Toronto, 461 King St. W.
When: June 9, 2015


Last week, more than 150 lawyers and guests gathered to recognize this year’s Precedent Setter Award winners. Held at downtown ping-pong bar Spin Toronto (the same place where we held this year’s photo shoot), our annual event brought guests together to mingle and meet our winners, who, in their first 10 years of practice, are at the top of their game.

During the evening, Melissa Kluger, publisher and editor of Precedent, presented the winners with their award. This year, we decided to put a spin (no pun intended) on traditional awards and presented each winner with a ping-pong paddle featuring their photo from the magazine.

We’d like to extend a big thank-you to our presenting sponsor RainMaker Group and our event sponsors Laurel Hill Advisory Group, Alexa Translations, Flex Legal Network and the Project Gallery.

Congratulations once again to all our winners:

Aida Shahbazi

Aida Shahbazi
Senior Counsel, BMO Financial Group
Read Aida’s profile

Patric Senson

Patric Senson
Associate, Phillips Gill LLP
Read Patric’s profile

Omo Akintan

Omo Akintan
Counsel, City of Toronto
Read Omo’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Jonathan Saguil

Paul Jonathan Saguil
Counsel, TD Bank Financial Group
Read Paul’s profile

Jason Woycheshyn

Jason Woycheshyn
Partner, Bennett Jones LLP
Read Jason’s profile

Lisa Feldstein

Lisa Feldstein
Founder, Lisa Feldstein Law Office
Read Lisa’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Event photography by Yvonne Bambrick

Winners’ portraits by Jaime Hogge

The Precedent Setter Awards 2015

Every year, Precedent seeks out and celebrates the most outstanding lawyers in their first 10 years of practice who are excelling in their careers and contributing to our community with their ideas, work and achievements.

From a record number of nominations, six winners have risen to the top — six hardworking, trailblazing, communityminded lawyers who, in their first 10 years of practice, are already proving themselves to be the next leaders of the profession.

With all that trailblazing and hard work, we thought our winners deserved to have a little fun. So, for their victory photoshoot, we took them to play a few rounds at Toronto ping-pong bar Spin. Turns out, they are not only winners, but good sports as well.

May we proudly present the lawyers to watch in 2015.


The Winners

Aida Shahbazi

Aida Shahbazi
Senior Counsel, BMO Financial Group
Read Aida’s profile

Patric Senson

Patric Senson
Associate, Phillips Gill LLP
Read Patric’s profile

Omo Akintan

Omo Akintan
Counsel, City of Toronto
Read Omo’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Jonathan Saguil

Paul Jonathan Saguil
Counsel, TD Bank Financial Group
Read Paul’s profile

Jason Woycheshyn

Jason Woycheshyn
Partner, Bennett Jones LLP
Read Jason’s profile

Lisa Feldstein

Lisa Feldstein
Founder, Lisa Feldstein Law Office
Read Lisa’s profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Judges

Afshan Ali, Senior Counsel, CIBC

David Bronskill, Partner, Goodmans LLP

Shantona Chaudhury, Associate, Pape Barristers

Ryan Edmonds, Owner, Ryan Edmonds Workplace Counsel


Web bonus

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


Party photos

On June 9, lawyers and guests gathered to celebrate this year’s winners. Check out our party photos.


Photography by Jaime Hogge, Hair and makeup by Shawna Lee, Shot on location at Spin Toronto

Precedent Setter Awards 2015: Jason Woycheshyn

Jason Woycheshyn

Partner, Bennett Jones LLP
Called to the bar in 2007
Law school: University of Calgary

Former elite decathlete and, by his own admission, a “jock.” Co-founder of the Ukrainian Canadian Bar Association. Awesome commercial litigator at Bennett Jones. Ten or so associates under his wing at any given time. So he’s a Harvey Specter-esque hotshot with a metric ton of swagger, right? Nope. Despite every reason to be cocky as hell, Jason Woycheshyn, 37, is a mildly spoken Albertan mensch.

Woycheshyn grew up in Vegreville, Alberta, a proudly Ukrainian-Canadian town (he’s fifth-generation on both sides), and speaks fluent Ukrainian. This connection to his heritage compelled him to spend part of May 2014 in Ukraine as a volunteer international election observer. “This was a legitimate grassroots revolution,” Woycheshyn says of the movement that saw Petro Poroshenko voted into power.

His wife Melanie and their two small children (a third was born in May) stayed home while he made the journey. “Being a father, I knew I had to contribute and preserve the Ukrainian identity.” By the time he travelled home to Oakville, “I felt an obligation to help preserve the culture here in Canada,” he says, in his quiet way. That was the catalyst to spearhead the Ukrainian Canadian Bar Association in October, now 200 members strong.

Jason WoycheshynAt work, he’s an innovator in alternate fee arrangements (AFAs). “Jason is a great lawyer, and a great partner in rethinking the way we approach litigation,” says Adrian Lang, associate general counsel at BMO Financial Group, with whom Woycheshyn negotiated an AFA for small claims. “Jason provides us with great service, at a low cost, with effective results.”

“The billable hour isn’t going to disappear anytime soon,” Woycheshyn says. “But AFAs force you to work with the client. It’s risk-sharing. Historically, there has been almost no risk to the lawyer.”

His greatest professional pride is mentoring the associates and students he oversees, helping with not just legal but work-life balance issues and career guidance. There’s no one single file he’s most proud of. “It’s helping young lawyers develop,” he says. “This profession is one of mentorship. Clients come and go.”

 

 

 


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

 

 


Photography by Jaime Hogge; Hair and makeup by Shawna Lee; Shot on location at Spin Toronto

Precedent Setter Awards 2015: Omo Akintan

Omo Akintan

Counsel, City of Toronto
Called to the bar in 2005
Law school: University of Toronto

Omo Akintan moved to Toronto from Nigeria almost two decades ago — and she can still remember how hard it was to be an outsider in Canada. In time, though, Akintan found her place. At 36, she is a top labour lawyer at the City of Toronto and, alongside her partner Jean Carter, has two young children. But she knows it’s still hard for people on the margins to find a sense of belonging. Which is why, in the past 20 years, Akintan has worked tirelessly to build communities for people who sit on the fringes of the social fabric.

Omo AkintanIn law school at the University of Toronto, for instance, Akintan co-founded Students of Law for the Advancement of Minorities. A few years later, she launched a running group for members of the black gay community — a demographic she found to be notably absent from running events across the city. (Now in its 10th year, the group attracts close to 40 runners every spring.) And, this February, she organized a Family Day event — featuring steel-pan drums and board games — that drew more than 50 families of colour, affording young black children an occasion to see families that look like their own. “If something is keeping me up at night,” says Akintan, “and I can do something about it, then I will.”

In conversation, Akintan is warm and deeply solicitous, smiling constantly and listening intently. Today, she works out of a paper-strewn office in Metro Hall, where she represents the City — including bureaucrats, the police and the fire department — when it faces internal complaints.

“I can be really frank,” she says of her in-house role and the close relationship she has with the City. “When I think we’ve done something wrong, I can say, ‘You know what? We’ve dropped the ball here.’” She also gets to be an activist at work. Last year, she helped overhaul the City’s human- rights policy, and this summer she’ll organize events for Pride Week. Looking back on almost a decade in the public sector, Akintan remarks: “It’s been a great fit.”


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

 

 


Photography by Jaime Hogge; Hair and makeup by Shawna Lee; Shot on location at Spin Toronto

The Circuit: Photos from the Precedent Setter Awards 2014

Precedent was on the scene at the Precedent Setter Awards 2014 

Where: Stratus Restaurant
When: June 11, 2014
Question: If you were headed back to school this fall, what would you study? 


Anne Benedetti and Renee Maria Tremblay 

“I have the good fortune to be married to a professor, so I’d study whatever she is teaching.” 
Anne Benedetti, Goodmans LLP 

“I would study law, again.”
Renée Maria Tremblay, Supreme Court of Canada 

 


Bronwyn Roe and Julia Croome

 

“I’d do a doctorate in English literature.”
Bronwyn Roe, WeirFoulds LLP 

 

“I’d study municipal law — I love city-building.”
Julia Croome, WeirFoulds LLP  

 


Paul Saguil and Joseph Cheng 

“I would take a joint degree in law and a master’s of public administration.”
Paul Jonathan Saguil, TD Bank Group 

 

“Music. I used to play viola.”
Joseph Cheng, Department of Justice

 


Gord McGuire and Khalid Janmohamed 

“Interpretative dance.”
Gord McGuire, Adair Barristers LLP 

 

“Bicycle repair.”
Khalid Janmohamed, Adair Barristers LLP 

 


Maria Gergin and Linda Paulovicova and Jean-Alexandre De BousquetVisual art and photography.
Maria Gergin, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP 

“I’d study at the London School of Economics.”
Linda Paulovicova, Dalkia Canada 

“Pschology — so I can understand why people act the way they do.”
Jean-Alexandre De Bousquet, De Bousquet Professional Corporation