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: Clara Pham

Clara Pham

Director of Tax, Restaurant Brands International
Called to the bar in 2011

Clara Pham wants to clear up some misconceptions. First, you don’t have to be good at math to do tax law. Second, it doesn’t deserve its reputation. “You picture grey-haired men with glasses, hunched over, carrying a battered briefcase,” she says. “But it’s the opposite.”

Clara Pham

The 31-year-old is the director of tax at Restaurant Brands International, the billion-dollar company that was born when Tim Hortons merged with Burger King. Sitting in a downtown Tims — where else? — she explains why she’s so obsessed with managing the billion-dollar company’s corporate income-tax portfolio.

Her career started in Montreal, where she’s from, as a summer student at Stikeman Elliott LLP. “It was very sexy. You’ve seen the show Suits — it’s reminiscent of that.” During that summer, Pham worked on a tax file and loved the work. So she decided to specialize. After law school at McGill, she moved to Toronto with her now husband, Jacques Doan, and completed the University of Waterloo’s Master of Taxation program. Pham then got a job at KPMG. And, in 2014, she worked on the Burger King-Tim Hortons merger.

The next year, Restaurant Brands International hired her as its tax director, a role that usually goes to someone with an additional decade of experience. “Clara clearly has a tremendous amount of responsibility relative to her years in practice,” says Mark Schichtel, the senior VP of global tax at RBI.

Her enthusiasm for tax is almost palpable. “Tax is like a puzzle,” says Pham. “Someone might have a clear view of what something means, and somebody else might think the complete opposite. There’s never a clear answer, and that’s why I love it.”

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.