Secret Life: This tennis-playing litigator nearly turned pro before university

As a teenager, Lidiya Yermakova faced a life-defining choice: leverage years of intensive training as a tennis player and take a crack at going pro, or leave it all behind and go to university in the hopes of getting into law school.

“It was a big decision,” she says. Yermakova had been playing since she was a toddler growing up in the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih. (Both her dad and her older brother were also serious tennis players.) “But ultimately, I really wanted to be in court.” And here she is now, an Osgoode Hall alum nearly two years into her health-law practice at Lerners LLP.

Lidiya YermakovaThough she chose a career in law, Yermakova has not let go of tennis. “After my undergrad, I took a break,” she says. “I probably didn’t play at all for four months. But I missed the competition.” So she picked it up again during law school, even getting named a York University all-star. And she still plays about once a week. “I have a lot of competitive drive. And that’s the same reason I like litigation: it takes hours of prep to be able to stand up and feel good about the argument you’re making. It takes a lot of work, but the days I get to do that are the greatest.”

Lidiya Yermakova

Lerners LLP







This story is from our Spring 2016 issue.




Photography by Daniel Ehrenworth. Hair and makeup by Shelbie Vermette.

The Circuit: Law Slam 2014 Tennis Challenge

What: 3rd Annual Law Slam Tennis Challenge
Where: Timberlane Athletic Club, Aurora
When: June 1, 2014

This past June, lawyers left their big-city offices to hit the tennis court.

Co-hosted by Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP and Paliare Roland Barristers, the 2014 Law Slam Tennis Challenge took place at the Timberlane Athletic Club in Aurora.

“Lawyers are all too familiar with the charity golf scramble where you play with your foursome and never see anyone else for 6 hours,” says Howard Blitstein, event organizer and HSH partner. “What’s different about this tennis tournament is that we compete against each other and watch each other’s matches which really provides for a fun and competitive event and a great opportunity for networking.” 

Lawyers faced off in doubles teams for a preliminary round robin, followed by a final and consolation final. The tournament was divided into two divisions: one for advanced players and another for intermediate. The competition was stiff but the following players came out on top: 

A division champions: Mixed doubles team of Jennifer Bishop and Jonathan Kay 
A division finalists: Jason Katz and Patrick O’Brien 

B division champions: Father and son team of Joel Freedman and Eric Freedman
B division finalists: Irwin Isenstein and Andrew Prenick 

The annual event has raised over $40,000 in the past three years with proceeds from this year’s tournament going to Pro Bono Law Ontario

Have an event coming up? Invite us to your next party!

Photos courtesy of Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP