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FACL Conference 2023: Change the Narrative

Join Us In Person

Join FACL Ontario at our 16th Annual Conference and Gala.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Change the Narrative”.


March 4, 2023

8:00 am – 9:00 pm


Toronto Region Board of Trade

First Canadian Place

77 Adelaide Street West

Toronto, ON M5X 1C1



All Conference and Gala Tickets are now SOLD OUT! If you would still like to attend the conference or gala, please add your name to the wait list here.

Member Pricing

Don’t forget to ensure that your membership has been renewed for 2023

Ticket Type

Early Bird


Conference Only

Gala Only


Conference Only

Gala Only


Practice (Non-Sole Practitioner)





Non-Member Pricing

Click here to register as a member today!

Ticket Type

Early Bird


Conference Only

Gala Only


Conference Only

Gala Only


Private Practice (Non-Sole Practitioner)

Government/Not-for-Profit/Sole Practitioner

Articling Student

Law Student

The event schedule is subject to change.

Event Schedule

8:00am – 9:00am


9:00am – 9:10am

Welcome Remarks

Co-Chairs Justin P’ng, FACL Ontario President, and Eva Chan

9:10am – 10:15am

Breaking the Mold: Reclaiming Our Asian Canadian Narratives

This program contains 60 minutes of EDI Professionalism content

  • Austin Wong, Head of Legal & Business Affairs, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios Inc.

  • Fariya Walji, Incoming Senior Director, Law Practice Program, Toronto Metropolitan University

  • Samantha Lui, Radio Producer and Freelance Culture Writer, CBC Radio

  • Moderated by: Selena Kim, Partner, Gowling WLG

Model minorities and worker bees, but not leadership material. Sound uncomfortably familiar? Join us for a panel discussion on changing perspectives of Asian Canadian narratives, both within ourselves and in the public eye. Our panelists will share their personal journeys of change, both inside and outside of law, and discuss how we can share our stories and act as catalysts for change.

10:15am – 10:25am

Networking Break

10:25am – 11:30am

Breakout Panels

Driving Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – Views from In-House Counsel


This program contains 60 minutes of EDI Professionalism content


  • Anuradha Iyer, Managing Counsel, Credit Cards, TD Bank Group

  • Roger Tam, VP Legal, Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd

  • Andrew Tam, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Wajax Corporation 

  • Moderated by: Daniel Wong, Partner & Chair – Employment Law, WeirFoulds LLP

In-house counsel have been pivotal in changing the narrative to achieve equity, diversity and inclusion objectives. Hear seasoned in-house lawyers share their views and experience with EDI in the legal profession and expectations for their external legal service providers. They will provide examples of initiatives or activities that can drive EDI, identify obstacles to an organization achieving their EDI objectives, and share what in-house counsel can do to champion EDI in their organization.



Fostering Retention: Beyond Short-term Diversity into Long-term Inclusivity


This program is collaboratively presented by U of T’s Asia Law Society and FACL Ontario


This program contains 60 minutes of EDI Professionalism content

  • Dal Bhathal, Partner, Caldwell

  • Amy Lee, Senior Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

  • Carissa Wong, Lawyer, Mediator, Adjudicator/Member of TLAB, Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB)

  • Moderated by: Linda Tu, Partner, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

The 2022 report “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law 2.0” notes a trend of attrition among Asian Americans in the top ranks of the legal profession, a trend that was already observed in the 2017 report published five years prior. Although Asian Americans make up the largest minority group at major law firms, they leave their firms at the highest rates among all races. Asian Americans also have the lowest ratio of partners to associates among any racial or ethnic group. What reasons drive Asian Americans to leave major law firms, especially when they seem to have such initial success in the junior levels?

One potential explanation is a lack of real perceived inclusivity at work. In the report, survey participants identified several obstacles to career advancement: a lack of formal leadership training programs and a lack of recognition for work, both overt and implicit racial discrimination in the workplace, and work-related mental health issues. Our panel explores and unpacks these cited obstacles and suggests that although diversity in law firms helps increase representation, diversity and representation alone are not sufficient for long-term systemic change towards a genuinely inclusive work setting.


Click here to complete the survey on Navigating Leave, New Parenthood and Return to Work by the FACL Women’s Committee and Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.


11:30am – 11:40am

Networking Break

11:40am – 12:20pm (Keynote)

12:20pm – 1:15pm (Lunch)

Luncheon Keynote – Chris Hope

Senior Counsel, 9 Story Media Group | President and Board Chair, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) | Filmmaker, Hatsumi and The Wrecking Crew

1:15pm – 2:20pm

Breakout Panels

Privacy and Technology Law: Hot Topics and Trends

This program contains 65 minutes of Substantive content


  • Shreya Gupta, Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada
  • Kuljit Bhogal, Associate, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt
  • Shan Arora, Associate, Fasken

  • Moderated by: Ira Parghi, Partner, INQ Law

Not a day goes by without some excitement in the world of technology and privacy law. Ransomware attacks! Major legislative amendments! Big enforcement decisions! State-sponsored cyber attacks! Are you trying to keep on top of it all, and not sure where to start? Join our expert panelists as they unpack some of the current hot topics in this space.




The Law and Social Justice: Writing a Joint Narrative

This program contains 60 minutes of EDI Professionalism content

  • Kristyn Wong-Tam, MPP, Toronto Centre, Ontario NDP – Official Opposition

  • Mohammed Hashim, Executive Director, Canadian Race Relations Foundation

  • Glenn Wheeler, Legal Counsel, Canadian Office & Professional Employees Union

  • Moderated by: Melissa Chan, Counsel, Castle Law Professional Corporation; and Ryan W. O. Chan, Associate, Corman Feiner LLP

Efficacy in combating racism and discrimination requires collaboration from all facets of society. The traumatic events of recent years have shed light on widespread discriminatory attitudes, as well as institutional racism and galvanized communities to take a stand.

However, social justice movements continue to operate independently and at times, disjointedly. The panelists will discuss how to foster collaboration between communities, public bodies and the government in order to effect societal change.


Asians in Sole Practice and Serving Your Community

This program is collaboratively presented by Osgoode’s Asian Law Students Association and FACL Ontario


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

  • Boo Yon Won, Partner, Choi & Won LLP

  • Rachel A. Sachs, Lawyer & Business Owner, Sachs Law Professional Corporation

  • Ronald Trac, Principal and Lawyer, Ronald Trac Law

  • Moderated by: Ruonan Pei, Student, Osgoode Hall Law School

Through this panel, we aim to demonstrate how Asian sole practitioners can build thriving practices and firms while navigating within a profession that is predominantly governed by non-racialized lawyers. We also want to address the barriers and challenges with respect to opening a solo practice entail and subsequently, how to overcome them and build a sustainable and thriving practice. Finally, we envision having a discussion on how being a sole practitioner has provided you with opportunities to serve your cultural community and how you engage with clientele and the community as a whole.


2:20pm – 2:30pm

Networking Break

2:30pm – 3:35pm

Breakout Panels

Intergenerational and Intercultural Wisdom in the Workplace – Finding Harmony in the Age of Division

This program contains 30 minutes of professionalism content and 30 minutes of EDI professionalism content

  • Cathay Qi, Head of M&A Canada, AIG

  • Sean Yang, Senior Legal Counsel, Scotiabank

  • Wendy Ngai, Commercial and Construction Litigation Associate, Loopstra Nixon LLP

  • Moderated by: Jack Yu, Partner, Fasken

A lack of common lived experiences among lawyers from different generations and cultural backgrounds will necessarily lead to certain degree of barriers to make connections and develop human capital in the workplace, which are critical in advancing one’s career.  When should you try to ‘fit in’, and when should you ‘be yourself’? This simple question can manifest in many dichotomies – back to the office v.s. remote work; ‘lifers’ v.s. ‘jumpers’; those that ‘put their heads down and work’ v.s. those that ‘are part of the conversation’.  With their wide ranging career spans and experiences, the panelists will touch on these nuanced topics, and share their thoughts on how to find the right path across intergenerational and intercultural gaps.

Building a Book of Business as an Asian Lawyer

This program is collaboratively presented by the University of Ottawa’s Asian Law Students’ Society and FACL Ontario

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

  • Justin J. Lee, Lawyer, McCarthy Hansen & Company LLP

  • Jasmine Daya, Lawyer, Jasmine Daya & Co.

  • Ran He, Lawyer, THC Lawyers, Tan, He & Co. LLP

  • Moderated by: Nicholas Cheung, 2L Student, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law

We are all aware of the model minority fallacy that Asian lawyers will “crank out the work, not make any waves, and be a good do-bee.” How does this stereotype impact our ability to build a book of business as an Asian lawyer? And how do you build a book of business without the multi-generational business and legal connections enjoyed by some of our non-Asian Canadians colleagues? This panel will explore ways to successfully combat (and change) the narrative around Asian lawyers with a focus on better marketing one’s abilities to their firm, to senior lawyers, and to clients.


Litigating Identity: On Being Asian in the Courts

This program is presented by FACL Ottawa


This program contains 65 minutes of EDI Professionalism content

  • Sakina Babwani, Associate – Litigation, Bennett Jones LLP

  • Susannah Chung-Alvares, Criminal Defence Lawyer, Susannah Chung-Alvares, Barrister and Solicitor

  • Tammy Law, Lawyer, Tammy Law Professional Corporation

  • Moderated by: David Lu, Associate, Davidson Houle Allen LLP

We know that the diversity in the legal profession in Ontario is not reflective of the diversity in our society as a whole. This disparity in representation can be even more pronounced in the litigation world, where Asian lawyers are often the only Asian in the courtroom. What are the experiences of Asian litigators in this sphere? What are the challenges that Asian litigators face, and how do we deal with these challenges? How has racial identity affected the way Asian litigators conduct themselves?


3:35pm – 3:45pm

Networking Break

3:45pm – 4:50pm

Feeling Better: Wellness in the Legal Profession

This program contains 60 minutes of Professionalism content

  • Teresa Donnelly, Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General 

  • Henna Choi, Lawyer, Karoly Law

  • Imran Kamal, Crown Counsel, Ministry of the Attorney General

  • Moderated by: Maneesha Gupta, Counsel – Banking

High rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout exist amongst lawyers. The issue of mental health, however, has long been stigmatized – in Asian communities, in the legal profession, and in Canadian culture as a whole. Particularly given the findings of The National Study on the Psychological Health Determinants of Legal Professionals in Canada, the first national study on wellness in the legal profession, it is even more pivotal that racialized minorities come together and transform this conversation. Panelists will discuss issues surrounding wellness and mental health for legal professionals and how we can move forward in addressing them.

4:50pm – 5:00pm

Closing Remarks

5:00pm – 6:30pm

Cocktail Reception 

Cash bar.

6:30pm – 9:00pm

Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Emcees Tracy Tong, Global News Anchor and Producer, and Annecy Pang, FACL Ontario Director


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