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Date: Friday, November 27, 2020

Time: 12:00 - 6:30 PM
Where: Zoom
Registration: FREE (Registration is required)
CPD credits available: CPD credits in lawyering skills, practice management, and professional responsibility & ethics are available for each breakout session. Please see below for full event details.

Join us for FACL BC’s 9th annual gala / conference!   The theme of the conference is Enacting Change: Your Seat at the Table. We all have a voice, we just need to feel empowered to use it. Empowering every voice creates inclusive spaces where we can be authentic, share our stories, and build understanding and belonging – both within the legal profession and wider community. We will drive this message through a half-day/afternoon program of engaging guest speakers and meaningful breakout sessions.

We hope you will join us to make FACL BC’s first virtual conference a memorable event!


Opening Keynote: 12:00 - 1:00PM

  • Keynote: The Honourable Justice Shirzad S. Ahmed, Federal Court of Canada (Join here)

First Breakout Sessions: 1:00 - 2:30PM

  • 1A: Advocating for Yourself in the Workplace and Beyond (Join here)
  • 1B: Fostering a Strong Mentorship Relationship (Join here)

Second Breakout Sessions: 3:00 - 4:30PM

  • 2A: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in the Asian Community (Join here)
  • 2B: Thriving Beyond Imposter Syndrome (Join here)

Evening Keynote, Awards and Networking Mixer: 5:00 - 6:30PM

  • Keynote: Raji Mangat, Executive Director of West Coast Leaf (Join here)


Opening Keynote: 12:00 - 1:00 PM


Speech on the Importance of Judicial Diversity by Arif Virani

Member of Parliament, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Arif Virani was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Parkdale—High Park in 2015 and was re-elected in the 2019 election. Arif has also served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada since 2018.

Previously, he served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (2015-2017) helping welcome the first wave of over 25,000 Syrian refugees in 2015. From 2017 to 2018, he served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Heritage overseeing the Multiculturalism portfolio and helping co-develop Canada’s first-ever Indigenous languages legislation.

Arif came to Canada as a Ugandan Asian refugee and has spent his career as a constitutional litigator, advocating for human rights and access to justice. Arif has worked as an analyst with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa, an investigator at la Commission des droits de la personne et droits de la jeunesse in Montréal, and as an assistant trial attorney prosecuting genocide at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Opening Keynote: The Honourable Justice Shirzad S. Ahmed, Federal Court of Canada

Justice Shirzad S. Ahmed was appointed to the Federal Court on September 14, 2017. He was born in Kirkuk, Southern Kurdistan and lived in the Middle East and Europe before coming to Canada as a refugee in 1984. He attended University College of the Fraser Valley (now University of the Fraser Valley) and Simon Fraser University, from which he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1996. In 2000, Justice Ahmed obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Calgary.

Prior to his appointment, Justice Ahmed was a sole practitioner in Calgary, practiced exclusively in the areas of immigration, refugee, human rights and civil liberties.

Justice Ahmed is dedicated to the pursuit of social justice. He is a strong advocate for the protection of human rights internationally, and is invested in mentoring students and junior members of the legal profession in the areas of immigration, refugee, human rights and civil liberties such that Canada will continue to set the standard for global human rights practices. Justice Ahmed equally believes in the importance of community service. He acted as a student advocate for students in need at both the University of the Fraser Valley and Simon Fraser University; he served as a member of the Board of Governors at the University of the Fraser Valley, appointed as community representative by the Province of British Columbia; and served as a member of the Board of Directors for Fig Tree Foundation, a Calgary-based non-profit organization seeking to assist and coordinate international humanitarian relief.

In 2009, Justice Ahmed was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence, Alberta’s highest award. In 2008, he received the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of Alberta Distinguished Service Award for Pro Bono Legal Service. He is the recipient of several honours from the University of the Fraser Valley, including the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011, Top 40 Alumni Award in 2014, and a Doctor of Laws Degree (honoris causa) for his dedication in defence of human rights in 2015. Justice Ahmed is fluent in several languages.

First Breakout Sessions: 1:00 - 2:30 PM

1A: Advocating for Yourself in the Workplace and Beyond

Presented by: FACL BC’s Membership Committee

Sponsored by: Koffman Kalef LLP
CPD credits: 1.5 hours (Lawyering Skills)


Want to advance your career? It takes more than just hard work. Self-advocating in the workplace is necessary for progressing in your career. Whether it’s speaking up in a meeting or initiating a conversation, learning to always advocate for yourself is integral to solidifying your identity in the workplace and fulfilling your professional development goals. Join us in a panel of senior associates and partners who have walked the path as they share tangible tips and stories from their journeys and provide you with takeaways that you can apply right away.

Speaker Profiles

Serene Chow, Boughton Law

Serene is a shareholder at Boughton Law with a focus on real estate with an emphasis on commercial real estate transactions and commercial leasing, acquisitions and sales, financing and property development. Her clients range from individuals and privately-held companies to major investors and real estate developers.

Serene's commercial leasing practice involves all aspects of commercial leasing, representing both landlords and tenants, in negotiating lease transactions of office, retail, industrial and mixed-use projects. Her practice involves extensive work with several major landlords and asset/property management companies of office towers and industrial and retail properties.

In addition to legal work, Serene is also very active in her community and is a mentor to many Chinese law students and associates. In 2011, she formed the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC chapter and regularly speaks on various aspects of the local Asian Canadian legal landscape to a broad range of professional groups.

Brian Cheng, Owen Bird Law Corporation

Brian Cheng is a senior associate at Owen Bird with a focus on commercial litigation and insurance defence.

Brian has appeared in the Provincial Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Appeal. He is also licensed to practice in Washington where he has appeared before the District Court, Superior Court, and the Court of Appeals. Previously, as a law student, Brian summered at the King County Superior Court in Seattle and externed at the Washington State Court of Appeals, and he was an Assistant Editor of the UBC Law Review during his LL.M. studies.

In addition to his practice, Brian volunteers as a supervising lawyer through UBC’s Law Students’ Legal Advice Program and as a clinician lawyer with Access Pro Bono. He is a member of the boards of the Lawyers Inn Society (the Law Courts Inn) and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers of BC.

Brian’s personal interests include snowboarding, skiing, biking, and hiking. In his spare time, he volunteers as a swiftwater rescue technician and ground search member of South Fraser Search and Rescue.

Chilwin Cheng, Ascendion Law

Chilwin Cheng is the managing partner of Ascendion Law. He’s a skillful business litigator with deep experience in white collar defence, regulatory defence, and corporate and commercial litigation. He’s a leader in his field, having been Chief Counsel of the regulator of Canada’s public equities markets and trading systems, a prosecutor with the BC securities commission, and a former Crown Counsel. Chilwin protects and advances the interests of clients in all forms of litigation. He defends clients facing criminal prosecution in income and excise tax, fraud, environmental spills, and alleged non-compliance with regulatory requirements in forestry, mining, securities, real estate, and many other sectors.

He is also active in shareholder disputes involving private and public companies, partnerships, and joint ventures, including oppression proceedings, derivative actions against directors, proxy fights, take-over bids, rectification disputes, and other corporate disputes. In British Columbia, his work in corporate disputes often involves large-scale real estate assets, industrial operations, and financial instruments.

Chilwin is an industry thought leader in the adoption and implementation of technology and business systems in legal practice. He frequently teaches in the area of business automation, artificial intelligence, and workflow design to other lawyers. By combining his experience in law, management, technology, and operations, he has created innovative business solutions to legal problems that affect businesses.

Chilwin spends most of his non-legal time with his family, enjoying being the “best dad ever” in his kids’ eyes and being a considerate partner to his wife. He is an amateur boxer registered with Boxing BC and regularly trains for and competes in amateur bouts.

1B: Fostering a Strong Mentorship Relationship

Presented by: FACL BC’s Mentorship Committee

Sponsored by: DLD Financial Group Ltd.
CPD credits: 1.5 hours (Practice Management)


Mentorship is extremely important in building a career. The right relationship can benefit both the mentee and mentor. However, finding a suitable match and building a mutually beneficial relationship can be overwhelming. Where do you begin? How do you take advantage of this opportunity? Join us for a panel of mentor and mentee pairs as they share their experience and tips on fostering meaningful mentorship relationships.

Speaker Profiles

Alex Chang, Lesperance Mendes Lawyers

Alex Chang is an associate at Lesperance Mendes Lawyers. He maintains a civil litigation and administrative law practice with a particular focus on strata governance, residential and commercial tenancy law, and construction deficiency litigation.

Alex has represented clients before the BC Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the Civil Resolution Tribunal, Residential Tenancy Branch, Human Rights Tribunal, Provincial (Small Claims) Court, and before arbitrators and other administrative tribunals.

Alex is the author of the CLE BC Strata Property Practice Manual – Chapter 14 Recourse to the Courts and also regularly writes articles, gives interviews and does presentations about strata and tenancy law issues.

Alex has been a director at large on FACLBC’s board since 2018 and served as chair of its mentorship committee from 2018-2020.

Sarah Sohn, Crease Harman LLP

Sarah practises immigration and citizenship law at Crease Harman LLP in Victoria. She is the Victoria Area Representative for FACL BC and the quality of the mentorship program was the driving reason in her decision to take an active role within FACL BC.

She has a law degree from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University. She articled at another law firm in Victoria before joining her current firm.

Stephanie Hu, Whitelaw Twining

Stephanie is an associate in the construction and commercial litigation groups at Whitelaw Twining. Prior to joining Whitelaw Twining, she was a litigator at a mid-sized business law firm in Vancouver, BC. Outside of work, she enjoys running and hiking, and is an active volunteer for the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society.

Joannie Fu, University of Victoria

Joannie was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada when she was three. She is currently a third-year law student at the University of Victoria. As a law student, Joannie served as Co-President of the UVic Pan-Asian Law Society and as the Equity and Diversity Student Representative. This year, she is on the Board of Directors for Appeal and works part-time as a research assistant for one of the faculty’s professors. After graduation, Joannie will be articling with McCarthy Tétrault. In her spare time, Joannie enjoys reading YA fantasy fiction and hanging out with her cats Mango and Yo-yo.

Samson Chan, London Drugs

Samson is currently the Advisor Director and last year's President of FACL BC. An Allard Law alumnus with a previous career as a public health researcher, Samson practices as the corporate counsel for London Drugs with particular interest in technology, e-commerce, social media, privacy and healthcare. Samson is also the Managing Editor of a media platform and advisor to several start-ups and ecommerce businesses, including being a privacy advisor to a clinical communication technology company and a strategic advisor for an online fashion brand.

Crystal Szeto, Peter A. Allard School of Law

Crystal is a 3L student at Allard Law. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UBC in 2018. Crystal is actively involved in the Allard Law community. Crystal is currently participating in the UBC Judicial Externship, where she assists judges of the BC Provincial Court with legal research on topics including criminal law, family law, child protection, sentencing, and youth justice. Crystal is also the Executive Coordinator for FACL BC, Research Assistant to Dr. Jie Cheng, and Director of Communications for Legal Education Outreach, and she previously held leadership positions in the UBC Asia Pacific Law Club and the Allard Law Women’s Caucus. Crystal recently completed her summer articles at Lawson Lundell LLP, where she will return to article upon graduation.

Second Breakout Sessions: 3:00 - 4:30 PM

2A: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in the Asian Community

Presented by: FACL BC’s Advocacy Committee

Sponsored by:  BMC Networks
CPD credits: 1.5 hours (Practice Management)


Join us for a panel discussion on anti-Black racism within the Asian community, how to address it and how Asian Canadians can be better allies in the struggle against anti-Black racism. With our friends at the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) and the Hua Foundation, we hope this opportunity for dialogue will help people confront their biases and learn how to make our profession and wider communities a more inclusive space.

Speaker Profiles

Kevin Huang, Hua Foundation

Kevin Huang 黃儀軒 (he/him) is the co-founder and executive director of hua foundation, an organization – based in Vancouver - with the mission of empowering youth in the Asian diaspora to fully participate in advancing social change through exploring racialized identities and building resilience in communities. His work has ranged from scaling culturally sensitive consumer-based conservation strategies through a project called Shark Truth, advancing municipal food policy to address inclusion and racial equity, to providing supports for youth from ethnocultural communities to reclaim their cultural identity on their own terms. Kevin organizes in Vancouver’s Chinatown and serves on committees with Vancity Credit Union, Vancouver Foundation, the City of Vancouver, and the Province of British Columbia. Most recently, Kevin has been spending his time directing community based COVID-19 response projects that address language and cultural gaps. He is currently working remotely from Taiwan.

Raphael Tachie, TD Bank Group

Raphael is Senior Counsel with TD Financial Bank Group ("TD") in Canada where he leads a team of legal professional staff in providing legal advice relating to older and vulnerable customers, incapacity, estate planning, estate administration, trusts and registered products to the enterprise and our business partners as it relates to our products, services and market conduct. We work closely with our business and other control partners in developing, implementing and maintaining best-in-class advice and sales practices and processes that are compliant with applicable laws and regulations.

Raphael earned his law degree from the University of Victoria, and his Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Simon Fraser University. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and the Law Society of British Columbia.

Raphael is also a long-time volunteer with the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the Canadian Bar Association and Simon Fraser University Alumni Association. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the Canadian Bar Association's National Estates and Trust Section and the Ontario branch of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association. Raphael also previously served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Simon Fraser University Alumni Association.

Hasan Alam, BC Government and Service Employees’ Union

Hasan is a labour and employment lawyer who lives and works on the unceded indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples. He is a staff lawyer at the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), a union that represents over 80,000 employees throughout the province in the private sector and public services. He is also a Supervising Lawyer at the Abbotsford Community Service Legal Advocacy Program, a legal clinic funded by the Law Foundation that aims to protect the rights of temporary foreign workers.

Hasan sits on the executive of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (BC) as the VP of External Affairs and previously chaired the FACL BC advocacy committee. He is also an executive board member of the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Vice-President of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers (CALL). Hasan holds a B.A from Simon Fraser University and a J.D. from the University of Calgary.

Jacqueline Louie, University of Victoria

Jacqueline is a second-year law student at the University of Victoria and a FACL BC Student Director. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of British Columbia. Jacqueline is passionate about bringing an intersectional, anti-oppressive lens to government, public policy, and law. She is actively involved in the UVic Racialized Law Students Collective and the faculty’s Equity and Diversity Committee. Jacqueline has professional experience at all three levels of government, most recently as Ministerial Assistant to the Minister of State for Trade of British Columbia. Jacqueline volunteers with the Access Pro Bono Residential Tenancy Program offering advice and oral advocacy to those who cannot afford legal services for tenancy issues. Jacqueline is also a passionate amateur film photographer in her spare time.

2B: Thriving Beyond Imposter Syndrome

Presented by: FACL BC’s Gala Committee

Sponsored by: Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
CPD credits: 1.5 hours (Professional Responsibility & Ethics)


Ever worry that you’ll be discovered as a fraud? Do you attribute your success to pure luck? Maybe you’ve felt undeserving of recognition or praise for your accomplishments? You’re not alone. Research shows that 70% of people experience imposter syndrome at one point in their lives, and the prevalence of those in the legal profession is no secret. Join us for a workshop on imposter syndrome and how we can tackle that inner bully and voice of self-doubt.

Speaker Profiles

Steven Ngo, Visier

Steven is the Senior Counsel for Visier where he advises on technology and corporate/commercial transactions. Previously, Steven practised at Linklaters in Ho Chi Minh City with a focus on private equity transactions and is a named lawyer in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific (Corporate and M&A). Prior to that, Steven practised at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Calgary and also served on the firm's diversity committee and student committee. Steven obtained his law degree from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC. He sits on the executive for the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (BC) as its Vice President (Marketing) and co-chair of the in-house committee. He is also the founder of Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (Western) and Beyond the A, an organization dedicated to de-stigmatizing anxiety and providing lawyers and students with the tools and resources to excel in their career.

Karen Chow, Smiths IP

Karen is an associate at SMITHS IP, a boutique IP firm in Vancouver. She received her law degree from the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. Prior to law school, she studied chemistry and sociology at McGill University. While in law school, Karen ran the uOttawa Chapter of the Women’s Legal Mentorship Program (WLMP), and served on the FACL Ontario board. She continues to support the WLMP on its Advisory Group, and volunteers with the CBABC Women Lawyers Forum’s Mentoring Program.

Evening Keynote, Awards and Networking Mixer: 5:00 - 6:30 PM


Evening Keynote: Raji Mangat, Executive Director of West Coast Leaf

Raji Mangat is the Executive Director of West Coast LEAF, a Vancouver-based non-profit organization working to achieve gender justice through law reform, litigation and public legal education. She served as the organization’s Director of Litigation for several years before moving into her current role. Her recent work has focused on securing access to family law legal aid, the gendered impacts of coercive control and detention, and tech-facilitated gender-based violence.

Raji’s legal career path has taken many twists and turns. After completing her J.D. at the University of Victoria in 2003, Raji served as a law clerk to the Hon. Justice Frank Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada. She began her litigation career as an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York City, where along with working on securities fraud class actions and anti-trust files, she worked on a range of pro bono files, from death penalty appeals to supporting the development of an interim constitution in Nepal. After leaving private practice in 2009, Raji worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. Upon returning to the West Coast, Raji worked for several years as counsel at the BC Civil Liberties Association.

Along with her work at West Coast LEAF, Raji is an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law where she teaches an upper-year course on civil liberties and the Charter. She is also connected to Rise Women’s Legal Centre, where she co-teaches the seminar component of the student legal clinic program. Raji currently serves on the boards of Health Justice and the Vancouver Public Library. She is also serving a second term on the Judicial Advisory Committee for British Columbia as a representative of the Canadian Bar Association. In 2019, she received the Law Society’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award.

In her downtime, Raji is an aspiring potter, an avid reader and a frequent attendee at webinars.

FACL BC Student Scholarship 2020 Presentation

Sponsored by our Gold Sponsor:

Application deadline has closed. Click here for details.

Virtual Networking Mixer

Come meet with your fellow peers and conference attendees afterwards and let's celebrate nine years of FACL BC together.

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Preferred Partner in Diversity

Gold Sponsor & Sponsor of the FACL BC 2020 Student Scholarship

Silver Sponsors



Breakout Session Sponsors

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