SPOTLIGHT

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  • 15 Jul 2022 2:56 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)


    Spotlight: James Hsu

    Happy Wednesday! This month’s second spotlight is James Hsu. James is a lawyer at PortaLaw, a former FACL BC board member, and a former co-chair of the Mentorship Committee. 

    1. What is something not many people know about you? 

    I don’t like fruit (not even in pies!).

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL? 

    Initially by attending the Annual Gala.  A friend then encouraged me to become more involved.  This led to me serving on the Board, Co-Chairing the Membership Committee and participating as a mentor in the mentorship program.

    3. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time? 

    As lawyers, we are service providers.  Our role is to provide value for others, whether clients, senior lawyers within a firm, or the community at large.  This value is often “measured” in billable rates, salary, bonuses, awards, and recognition from clients, senior lawyers and our peers.

    Do not confuse these measurements, or how effectively you provide value for others, with your self-worth.  That gives others the responsibility and power to determine your worth.  You get to define that. 

    4. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    Those who know me will confirm I love to eat and I love to talk.  It’s no surprise then that the dim sum lunch and dumpling making class were two of my favourite events.  I am also a big fan of the FACL podcast.  I especially enjoyed the opportunity to guest host one of the early episodes (although I haven’t been asked back…).  

  • 6 Jul 2022 12:09 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)


    Spotlight: Zool Suleman

    This month’s first spotlight is Zool Suleman, Q.C. Zool is the principal of Suleman & Co., Canadian Immigration Lawyers, and a FACL BC member.

    1. What is something not many people know about you? 

    In addition to my law practice, I edit and manage a national online arts and culture magazine named Rungh (www.rungh.org) which focuses on Indigenous, Black and racialized (IBPOC) artists. 

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL? 

    I joined because of the great community that FACL BC is creating.

    3. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time? 

    In my practice, it has been important to build communities outside the practice of law. These communities can help inform and ground your legal practice.

    4. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    "But I Look Like a Lawyer" documentary. The experiences of being subjected to racism, exclusion and unfairness are those which I could relate to. The profession of law, even today, embodies power relations which deny the impacts of exclusionary practices. 

  • 15 Jun 2022 12:25 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    Spotlight: Sonya Sabet-Rasekh

    Sonya is a staff representative and lawyer at the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU).

    1. What is something that not many people know about you?

    Many people's first impression of me is that I am quiet. But, they would be shocked if they attend any sporting events with me. I have a piercing cheer that turns heads.

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL BC?

    I heard great things about FACL from fellow colleagues and members, so I joined as a member and spoke at one of its events, the Mentorship Roundtable and Mixer.

    3. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    I really enjoyed speaking to law students at the Mentorship Roundtable and Mixer. It's a fantastic way to build a supportive network in the community. I am also a huge fan of the documentary, "But I Look Like a Lawyer." Having stories of discrimination in the legal community shared in such a forum validated my own experiences. It is crucial to highlight these stories in order to start the necessary conversation on dismantling systemic discrimination in the legal community.

    4. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time?

    Be your authentic self. When you stay true to yourself and your values, both professionally and personally, you will gain the confidence and fortitude to withstand the challenges that come your way.

  • 1 Jun 2022 10:27 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    Spotlight: Lawrence Chan 

    This month's first spotlight is Lawrence Chan. Lawrence is senior counsel at Oyen Wiggs Green & Mutala LLP. He is a current FACL BC member.

    1. What is something that not many people know about you?

    I have a scar on my forehead from a childhood playground accident. It required a number of stitches to fix, but it is (hopefully) not too visible now.

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL BC?

    I volunteered as a mentor with FACL many years ago.

    3. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    The Mentorship Roundtable and Mixer. I enjoyed meeting and talking with law students with different interests and backgrounds.

    4. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time?

    Don't beat yourself up over every little mistake. Try to always keep moving forward.

  • 18 May 2022 2:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Spotlight: Maryka Omatsu

    This month’s second spotlight is Judge Maryka Omatsu. Judge Omatsu is Canada’s first East Asian woman judge.  She has been on the Ontario bench for 29 years and is now semi-retired. She co-founded FACL and remains a FACL BC member.

    1. What is something not many people know about you? 

    When I was an undergraduate student, I took a year off and backpacked aroence made me want to make a difference. So in 1972, I enrolled in law school, despite my father saying:  “Who would go to a woman lawyer?”

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL? 

    I started FACL Ontario 15 years ago, with Judge Avvy Go.  We wanted an Asian Canadian activist legal organization that would fight for justice and against racism; support our communities and one another.  Ten years ago, I helped get FACL BC off the ground.

    3. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time? 

    I was raised as a typical third generation Japanese Canadian girl to be quiet, polite, and unassuming.  It has taken a lifetime for me to try and overcome this socialization. Today, I would advise myself to be more assertive and bolder, aim higher and be fearless.

    4. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    In Ontario, it’s been the annual FACL conferences, for their energy and exchange of ideas.  In B.C., I have enjoyed the dim sum lunches, barbeques, and family suppers for the feelings of comradeship. 

  • 12 May 2022 10:50 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    Spotlight: Nicco Bautista

    This month’s first spotlight is Nicco BautistaNicco is the Director of Estate Planning at BMO Wealth Management and a current FACL BC member.

    1. What is something not many people know about you? 

    While I was rehabbing from a knee injury in high school, I was the football team's water boy.  You do not want to know what goes into the water cooler. 

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL? 

    My first event was one of the inaugural networking events when I was a 1L student.  To (finally!) be in a room with people that resembled me, not just physically, but also my cultural lens through which I perceived what it meant to be "successful" or "worthy" was not just career altering;  it was life changing.  Since then, I am one of FACL's biggest fans, witnessing with great pride the growth and development of its programs under its leadership, including during Maria Kim-Bautista's stint as President. In furtherance of FACL's goal of supporting and uplifting Asian Canadian lawyers and students, we have since established the Kim-Bautista Award in Law, which is an endowment at Allard Law School providing financial support to law students of colour, with a preference for those who would be the first person in their family to join the legal community.    

    3. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time? 

    You belong. Keep proving them wrong.

    4. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    There are too many to name, but by far, the Galas (and the stops after the Gala) have always been a personal favourite.  I have always told my wife, Maria, that I circle the Gala on my calendar - when you have so many of your favourite people in the city in one room, it's hard not to get excited!

  • 27 Apr 2022 11:24 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)


    Spotlight: Tanuja Basera

    Tanuja is a senior associate and Canadian immigration lawyer at Vialto Partners LLP. She is a current FACL BC member.

    1. What is something that not many people know about you?

    I want to eventually buy a huge farm and live with rescued animals.

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL BC?

    My first involvement with FACL BC was in June of last year when I attended the Annual Women's Social. It was a lot of fun speaking and connecting with senior lawyers and colleagues, and hearing stories of their early days in law. I loved how the event was divided into the fun ice-breakers in the beginning, and then segued to a more serious discussion in the breakout rooms later. It was a great evening.

    3. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    FACL BC's “But I Look Like a Lawyer” documentary.

    4. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time?

    Your cultural background is a strength, not a weakness. Don't be too hard on yourself and have faith in the ways of the universe – wherever you are in life right now, it is to prepare for the next chapter.

  • 6 Apr 2022 10:55 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    Spotlight: Joseph Cuenca

    Joseph is a partner and litigator at Cohen Buchan Edwards LLP.

    1. What is something that not many people know about you?

    I speak Swiss-German fluently.

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL BC?

    In or around 2016 when I was volunteering with CBA's Equality & Diversity Committee, I learned about FACL BC and signed up as a member.

    3. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    The Annual Gala/Conference has always been well organized and well attended. I enjoyed attending them for a great mix of socialising and education.

    4. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time?

    Always put in the hard work. Intelligence is meaningless without diligence. Above all, integrity is crucial.


  • 16 Mar 2022 11:46 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)


    Spotlight: Jayde Wood

    This month’s second spotlight is Jayde Wood. Jayde is a lawyer at Gowling WLG and a current FACL BC member.

    1. What is something not many people know about you?

    School can be daunting and stressful. Many people may not know or believe me when I say that I really enjoyed my experience in university. So much so, that after spending a few years in private practice, I happily went back to the classroom to complete an LLM degree from UC Berkeley.

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL?

    My first encounter with FACL BC was when I attended the 2013 Gala featuring Judge Chen as the keynote speaker. Judge Chen’s speech was engaging, inspirational, and humorous. Later, when I clerked at the Provincial Courts, I had the privilege to work with him and having remembered parts of his keynote speech (especially the part about strollers) helped me to break the ice and form a connection. A few years later, I joined FACL BC in a more formal position as Gala Chair and a board member.

    3. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time?

    I find that progress through education is largely linear. For example, from kindergarten to 12th grade to university, from 1L to OCI to articling to hire-backs, it seems that everyone is climbing some sort of a (linear) ladder. Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis’ “The Squiggly Career” is a great read and suggests that career progress may not be linear or straightforward. I wholeheartedly agree. If I were to go back in time, I would tell Jayde 1.0 to embrace the journey of self-discovery and that there is more than one path to achieve one’s goals.

    4. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    FACL BC has had many great events and initiatives. Through these events and initiatives, FACL BC has cultivated a tight-knit community where we lift each other up (e.g. through events organized by the Mentorship Committee) and celebrate our collective accomplishments (e.g. through the Annual Gala). I particularly appreciate that FACL BC has established a platform and gained recognition as an effective advocate to advance equity and diversity issues. One such example is the Advocacy Committee’s “But I Look Like a Lawyer” Documentary Project.


  • 2 Mar 2022 11:48 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)


    Spotlight: Winston Sayson, Q.C.

    This month’s first spotlight is Winston Sayson, Q.C. Winston was a trial Crown counsel at the BC Prosecution Service before his retirement. He is a current FACL BC member.

    1. What is something not many people know about you?

    I enjoy Filipino Martial Arts. Arnis sticks, knives, and sharp-edged weapons thrill me! :-)

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL?

    I recall joining the first FACL BC dinner when Judge Maryka Omatsu spoke to our new group. This eventually led to me being the speaker for FACL's third annual gala in 2014.

    3. What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time?

    I would be kinder to myself and look after my mental health. I would learn to stop working non-stop and find a better work-life balance.

    4. What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?

    The annual galas of FACL BC are my favourite events. I think the mini-documentary, "But I Look Like a Lawyer", is one of the most impactful and significant initiatives of FACL BC.


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