Clerkships provide a unique and valuable opportunity for law school graduates. However, cohorts of judicial clerks in Canadian courts show a lack of representation of racialized individuals, including Asian-Canadians. Creating spaces for students of colour in these clerkship programs begins with open, honest discussions - starting here.
This event is a discussion between panelists of various courts, including Asian-Canadian lawyers who have previously clerked and a trailblazing judge, speaking about topics of diversity and inclusion in clerkships:
- Do students of colour have a tendency to self-select out of the process?
- What is the role of mentorship in encouraging Asian-Canadians to consider clerking?
- Can more be done to make the application and clerking experience more inclusive and equitable?
The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session, where attendees can ask questions that they have always wondered about clerkships.
Whether you have never heard of clerkships, been curious about them, or are preparing your applications for the upcoming recruit, we hope you join us!
Jessica Park, former BC Supreme Court clerk
Jessica graduated from the Peter A. Allard School of Law in 2021. During law school, Jessica served in executive roles at the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program, the Asia-Pacific Law Club, and the Allard Law Students’ Society. She also volunteered on the advocacy committee of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers and with Pro Bono Students Canada and worked as a research assistant in immigration and tort law.
In recognition of her academic excellence and community service, Jessica received the Lawson Lundell Prize in Administrative Law, the Malcolm MacIntyre Prize in Law, and the Wayne Robertson, Q.C. Access to Justice Award. Jessica also placed first in the Dentons Negotiation Competition.
After law school, Jessica completed a clerkship with the BC Supreme Court. She is now articling with Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP.
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus, former BC Court of Appeal clerk
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus practises corporate commercial litigation with Nathanson, Schachter & Thompson LLP. Ms. Ohama-Darcus graduated with a J.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2015, graduating as a Wesbrook Scholar. Following graduation, Ms. Ohama- Darcus served as the judicial law clerk to Madam Justice Kirkpatrick and Mr. Justice Goepel of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. Ms. Ohama-Darcus has acted as counsel in a number of high profile contractual disputes, particularly concerning the law of good faith in negotiations and contracts with municipalities. She also carries on a dedicated and active pro bono practice.
Mark Iyengar, former BC Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada clerk
Mark Iyengar is an associate at Peck and Company, where his practice focuses on criminal law, administrative law, and appellate litigation. He joined Peck and Company in 2020, after serving as a judicial law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. Before clerking, Mark articled in criminal and extradition law with the federal government.
Mark received his J.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2018, where he graduated as a Wesbrook Scholar — UBC’s highest accolade. During law school, Mark co-chaired the steering committee of a tenants’ rights society, assisted with a constitutional challenge launched by a community law office, and co-founded a non-profit legal organization. He received a number of awards for his leadership, community involvement, and academic achievement, including the prize for the highest standing in criminal law, the HSBC Emerging Leader Scholarship, and the Law Foundation of British Columbia Public Interest Award.
Mark sits on the board of directors and executive of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society, serving as Vice President (External), having previously served as the chair of the advocacy committee.
Justice Avvy Yao-Yao Go, Federal Court judge
Madam Justice Avvy Yao-Yao Go has 30 years of advocacy and litigation experience on behalf of low-income racialized clients, mostly through her role as Clinic Director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic.
As a first-generation Canadian of Chinese descent, Justice Go devoted the bulk of her legal career to breaking down barriers for marginalized groups, while challenging long- standing Canadian issues including anti-Asian racism, xenophobia, structural inequalities in the labour market, as well as systemic racism and other forms of discrimination within the legal system.
She had appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, on behalf of clients and public interest litigants seeking to promote equity and racial justice. She served as a Bencher of the Law Society of Ontario for 14 years and sat on the LSO’s Access to Justice Committee, Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee, and Human Rights Monitoring Group.
Justice Go has also served as a part-time member of several administrative tribunals in Ontario. She has volunteered for many non-governmental and community-based organizations, including serving as the Vice Chair of the Court Challenges Program of Canada and President of the Chinese Canadian National Council, Toronto Chapter. She co-founded the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) and the Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change Network.
Justice Avvy Yao-Yao Go received her B.A. from University of Waterloo, her LL.B. from University of Toronto, and her LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1991.
In 2021, Justice Go became the first Chinese Canadian to be appointed to the Federal Court.
For her contributions to disadvantaged communities and to the legal profession, Justice Go has received many awards, including the Order of Ontario (2014), the FACL Lawyer of Distinction Award (2012), the City of Toronto’s William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations (2008), and the Women’s Law Association of Ontario President’s Award (2002).
This event is open to members and non-members of FACL BC.