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FACL 12th Annual
Conference and Gala

Join Us!

This year we are merging the FACL conference with the Asian Canadian Law Students Conference into one unique event. The conference theme is Practicing Law and Humanity.

  • Luncheon keynote speaker: The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada
  • Gala keynote speaker: Arif Virani, MP for Parkdale-High Park, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Saturday, February 23, 2019

8:00am – 9:00pm


Toronto Region Board of Trade

First Canadian Place

77 Adelaide St W

Toronto, ON M5X 1C1

Tickets and Other Information

The gala is sold out. We now have additional conference-only tickets for sale. To purchase a conference-only ticket (or be on the waitlist if we sell out of these tickets), email stating (i) whether you are a FACL member and (ii) your ticket category (Private Practice, Government or Student). Allocated sponsor tickets may be redeemed below.

Please note that the schedule below is subject to change.

Ticket Type Price Cart

Event Schedule

8:00am to 9:00am


9:00am to 9:20am

Welcome Remarks

9:20am to 10:30am

Beyond the Law in the Court System: Making a Difference in the Real World

This program contains 45 minutes of Professionalism content and 20 minutes of Substantive content

  • Avvy Go, Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
  • Omar Ha-Redeye, Fleet Street Law
  • Wennie Lee, Lee and Company
  • Tae Mee Park, Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP
  • Moderated by: Leonard Kim, MAG North Region – Office of the Director of Crown Operations

While the practice of law is so vastly diverse, the Law Society of Ontario’s motto remains consistent, “Let Right Prevail.” With each case file, and beyond the case law and statutory interpretation, comes an opportunity; a chance to use the law and our privilege of being a lawyer as mechanisms to advocate for change and make a true impact on someone’s life. From human rights, to media law, poverty law and immigration, this panel of lawyers will take us down their respective paths to advocacy and share with us real experiences where their knowledge and skills as lawyers in their respective areas of expertise has made a real difference in our world today.

10:30am to 10:45am

Morning Break

10:45am to 12:00pm

Gender, Diversity and Equality

This program contains 75 minutes of EDI Professionalism content

  • The Honourable Justice Sandra Nishikawa
  • Ari Blicker, Aird & Berlis LLP
  • Sumeet (Sonu) Dhanju-Dhillon, Torkin Manes LLP
  • Monique Jilesen, Lenczner Slaght
  • Farah Malik, MAG Civil – Education / Training, Colleges and Universities Branch
  • Moderated by: Eva Chan, Lawyer

There’s a lot of talk these days about the importance of equality/diversity in the legal profession, both because equality in the profession is a noble end in itself and because diversity is an essential means of ensuring that the profession serves the public. But how can the legal profession not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk? How can we achieve a better diversity and equality in all areas of our profession—be it government or private practice—especially for racialized women? What is the value of some of the specific concrete measures that have been proposed (e.g., name-blind hiring)?


Demystifying the Recruitment Process: Tips and Insights for Students

This program is collaboratively presented by Osgoode’s Asian Law Students Association and U of T’s Asia Law Society

  • Vanessa A. Ibe, Rosenbaum & Ibe LLP
  • Chres Lee, Stikeman Elliott LLP
  • Rachael Lee, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
  • Terry Wong, Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Moderated by: Ryan Chan (UofT 1L) and Willa Lin (Osgoode 1L)

The recruitment process has been one of the most mysterious part of law school life. How do the Bay Street firms select candidates? What are the factors contributing to a successful application for government jobs? How is the application process different with regard to medium or small firms? This panel strives to demystify questions like these, providing law students a clearer and bigger picture of the recruitment process. Topics of this panel include the OCI recruitment process, government recruitment, articling students hire-back, and medium or small firm recruitment.

12:00pm to 1:15pm

Lunch - Luncheon Keynote Address by The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada

1:15pm to 2:25pm

Breakout Panels

Session A: The Race Factor: The Intersection of Racism and Criminal Law

This program contains 45 minutes of EDI Professionalism content and 30 minutes of Substantive content

  • Leonard Kim, MAG North Region – Office of the Director of Crown Operations
  • Emily Lam, Kastner Law
  • Richard Miller, MAG Civil / MCSCS – Anti-Racism Directorate
  • Moderated by: Leonard Kim, MAG North Region – Office of the Director of Crown Operations

The over incarceration of Indigenous and Black Canadians in our criminal justice system should cause any criminal lawyer to pause and reflect. Adding to this is the tumultuous relationship of mistrust between these communities and the police in Ontario. From downtown Toronto to Northern Ontario, this panel of lawyers will tackle the issue of why race matters when it comes to assessing the moral blameworthiness of an offender in the sentencing context to considering how perspective can impact state conduct. A candid discussion on the realities of racism in Ontario today and its resulting influence on how the law is applied for Indigenous and racialized offenders/victims will be discussed. This session will force us, as lawyers in our free and democratic society, to consider the difficult question of whether or not the race of an offender, or a victim, plays any part of the legal analysis in criminal litigation.

Session B: Insights from In-house

This program contains 60 minutes of Professionalism content and 10 minutes of Substantive content

  • Maryann Besharat, Intact Financial Corporation
  • Rustam Juma, Eckler Ltd.
  • Leola Pon, Toronto District School Board
  • Tony Wong, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission
  • Moderated by: Maneesha Gupta, Associate, TD Bank

Have dreams of moving in-house, but aren’t sure how to prepare for an interview, assess whether an organization is right for you, or whether there really are career advancement and development opportunities? Or, if you’re external counsel, are you wondering how to stand out from a service perspective? Get insights on these questions from in-house lawyers practising in various industries and areas.

This panel will include:

  • Introduction – Panelists’ paths to in-house: each sharing their personalized career journey and how and why they made certain decisions/moves in their career.
  • How to Transition & Excel – How to set yourself up for success, what lawyers from niche practice areas / litigation can expect when transitioning in-house, best practices and advice for communicating with senior management and business units, how external counsel can engage in-house lawyers and how in-house lawyers can manage external counsel, unique in-house challenges in leadership and management.
  • Putting Out Fires. The Role of In-House in Crisis Management & Social Media – The level-headed lawyer in unusual crises and circumstances, understanding your client, lawyer as a quarterback and how to deal with business organizational risk and develop strategy in times of crisis

Session C: Rebels With a Cause: Using the Law as a Tool for Social Justice

This program is collaboratively presented by Osgoode’s Asian Law Students Association and U of T’s Asia Law Society

  • Elizabeth Long, Long Mangalji LLP
  • Faisal Mirza, Mirza Kwok Defence Lawyers
  • John No, Parkdale Community Legal Services
  • Vino Shanmuganathan, Vino Shan Law
  • Moderated by: Tiffany Guo (Osgoode 1L) and Baiqing Luo (Osgoode 1L)

“Our ultimate objective in learning about anything is to try to create and develop a more just society.” — Yuri Kochiyama
From the indefinite detention of immigrants to the displacement of poor, racialized communities due to intensifying gentrification, we are evidently at a juncture in which the work of public interest lawyers will be critical to systemic change. This panel attempts to facilitate a critical discussion on the law’s role in addressing various forms of systemic inequality. Drawing on the experiences and reflections of lawyers in labour, immigration and refugee, and criminal law, the panel offers critical insights and guidance to students, legal professionals, and members of the public looking to pursue social justice work through the law.

The following topics will be covered:

  • How lawyers can merge activism with legal work
  • Challenges to starting your own practice in public interest law
  • How to make a decent living while practicing public interest law
  • What social justice work looks like in the context of the legal profession
  • What does “social justice work” actually mean?
  • How to access/work toward a legal career dedicated to social justice
  • How to pursue social justice work in a learning environment that may not be conducive to a social justice-oriented perspective of the law
  • Did panelists ever feel as though law school was not entirely or always conducive to social justice work? If so, how did they cope with that?
2:25pm to 2:40pm

Afternoon Break

2:40pm to 3:50pm

Breakout Panels

Session D: Top Employment and Labour Law Issues in 2018 and What’s Ahead for 2019

This program contains 70 minutes of Substantive content

  • Danielle Bisnar, Cavalluzzo LLP
  • Bonny Mak, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
  • Jonquille Pak, Whitten & Lublin
  • David Tsai, Miller Thomson LLP
  • Moderated by: Lai King Hum, Hum Law Firm

2018 will be remembered as the year that began with dizzying changes to Ontario’s employment laws in one direction, before veering back in the other direction, all in the space of a year! Add to that the bookended impact of the #metoo movement and the legalization of recreational cannabis, and no wonder employers were understandably on edge.

Panelists representing employers and employees will discuss the most significant developments of 2018, what they mean for workers and employers, and what we can look forward to in 2019.

The following topics will be covered:

  • From “Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs” to “Making Ontario Open for Business” – What happened and what are the key provisions to note?
  • Rise of the #metoo movement and sexual harassment complaints. Is it ever too late to make a complaint? Changes to Ontario’s Limitations Act, 2002 in 2016, combined with 2018’s #metoo and #timesup, make it possible for victims of workplace sexual harassment to break their silence and speak up. Panelists will discuss whether there has been an increase in complaints, and what employers and employees need to know.
  • Weed and the workplace. It is hard to believe that medical marijuana has been available since 2001 in Canada. With the legalization of recreational cannibas on October 17, 2018, what does this do to the legal landscape?
  • What issues can we anticipate in 2019?

Session E: Demystifying Solo Practice

This program contains 60 minutes of Professionalism content and 10 minutes of Substantive content

  • Karen Kwan Anderson, Barrister & Solicitor
  • Adrienne Ng, Open LLP
  • Ronald Trac, Ronald Trac Law
  • Linda Wu, WU Legal
  • Moderated by: Carissa Wong, Barrister & Solicitor

Solo practice can seem like an intimidating proposition for many. Things like setting up an office, getting clients, back office tasks, sending bills, and finally getting paid, along with a seemingly endless list of other tasks needed to keep a firm running may make “hanging your own shingle” seem impossible. Our panelists today come from varying practice backgrounds and levels of experience and are here to discuss their experiences starting out solo, and to provide tips, tricks, and advice to any who may be considering going out on their own.

Session F: Careers in Litigation: Insights on Asian-Canadian Under-Representation and Diversity in Litigation

This program is collaboratively presented by Osgoode’s Asian Law Students Association and U of T’s Asia Law Society

  • Connie Cheung, Sherrard Kuzz LLP
  • Kenneth Jim, Legal Aid Ontario – Criminal Litigation Services
  • Mabel Lai, MAG – Crown Law Office – Criminal
  • Brendan Wong, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
  • Moderated by: Andrew Gong (UofT 1L) and Ian Lee (UofT 1L)

This panel will reflect deeper into the lack of Asian Canadian representation in litigation. Currently, Asian Canadian students in Ontario law schools are predominantly choosing a career dealing with transactional work in major corporate law firms. This panel will assess this trend through a discussion of three major questions. First, what are the possible reasons that deter Asian Canadian law students from pursuing careers in litigation? Second, what are the potential implications of underrepresentation of Asian Canadians in litigation departments? And third, what steps could be taken to remedy the issue if remedy is necessary and/or desirable? The panelists will provide insight on the aforementioned issues and also give opportunity to the attendants to ask questions regarding their careers as litigation lawyers.

3:50pm to 4:50pm

Mental Fitness to Support a Successful Practice

This program is presented by FACL Ontario’s Women’s Committee

This program contains 30 minutes of Professionalism content

  • Jennifer Taylor Chan, Lawyer, Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic, and Writer
  • Ashleigh Frankel, Lawyer, Leadership Coach, Mindfulness Meditation Teacher
  • Professor Thomas Telfer, Professor of Law, University of Western Ontario
  • Moderated by: Alycia Shaw, Lawyer, Jewitt McLuckie & Associates LLP

Lawyers often work in high-pressure situations, faced with hard and stressful deadlines, all on behalf of their clients. In advocating for our clients, we can easily forget to practice self-care and check in with ourselves. Numerous scientific studies support the benefits of practising mindfulness, for personal and professional well-being and success. How can we incorporate mindfulness and self-care into our daily lives to support a successful practice? Three panelists will offer personal stories, helpful tips, and practical tools on these topics and related topics.

The main topics this panel will cover are:

  • mindfulness (what it is, the importance of it for lawyers), including guided meditation
  • intentionally maintaining boundaries for well-being and career success
  • creating space for stillness and disconnecting from technology
  • caring for ourselves to be the best advocates for our clients
  • power of positive emotions to nourish a healthy mindset
4:50pm to 5:00pm

Closing Remarks

5:00pm to 6:30pm

Cocktail Reception

Cash Bar

6:30pm to 9:00pm

Dinner and Awards Ceremony – Gala Keynote Address by Arif Virani, MP for Parkdale-High Park, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Business Attire


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