SPOTLIGHT

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  • 19 Jan 2021 11:43 PM | Anonymous


    Spotlight: Aleem Bharmal, QC

    Aleem Bharmal, QC is a human rights lawyer at the Community Legal Assistance Society and is a member of FACL BC. 

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

    I'm still living in the 80s in my mind.

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

    Through my work with the Legal Equity and Diversity Roundtable (LEADR).

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

    The seminar on unconscious bias.

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

    Follow your passions and instincts and don't worry so much about outside pressures and expectations.

  • 5 Jan 2021 10:43 PM | Anonymous


    Spotlight: Candace Cho Banville

    Candace Cho Banville is the principal lawyer at Onyx Law Group and was one of the founding Board members.

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

    I co-founded an educational not-for-profit called Uno a Uno in Cotacachi, Ecuador in 2015 with my husband after a year's sabbatical.  I really believe in innovating the legal industry to keep good talent practicing law, especially women.

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

    The annual banquet that brings together members is a fun community event.

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

    Don't take yourself too seriously - work hard, do your best, and plan well but have faith it will all work out.

  • 23 Dec 2020 7:32 AM | Anonymous


    Spotlight: Julian Ho

    Julian Ho is the Director of Legal Affairs and Intellectual Property at Clarius Mobile Health and was a past board member.

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

    I lost a lot of weight once, like 60 pounds. It was a gradual process over several years, where I improved my relationship with food and exercise. Fortunately, I’ve generally been able to keep it off.

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

    I was attending law school in Toronto when FACL began in 2008, before the BC chapter started. I attended the FACL Ontario conferences throughout my years as an associate on Bay Street, and appreciated the perspectives I learned about diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. FACL helped me understand the unconscious biases I faced, and that I myself held. It was inspiring to see individuals who looked like me and had similar upbringings hold senior positions in the legal field. When I moved back to Vancouver in 2016, I naturally wanted to get involved with FACL BC.

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

    I appreciate FACL’s advocacy efforts. During my tenure as a FACL BC Board member, I helped coordinate activities that furthered the dialogue on issues of diversity on the Bench and at the Law Society. These are important issues. Change is happening, but it takes time and it’s encouraging to see this work continue. I’ve also been impressed with how the FACL BC leadership has been able to pivot during the pandemic. Out of the gate, FACL BC recognized the challenges the pandemic presented with in-person gatherings, but astutely also saw opportunity to build connection with individuals who may not otherwise have availability. The breadth and frequency of the programming from a volunteer-run organization such as FACL BC is incredible.

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

    Take more time to reflect. Life can feel like an endless barrage of tasks, whether they are files at work or responsibilities in your personal life. It’s important to occasionally check in with yourself to see if the path you’re on is still the right one, and course correct if not. 

  • 9 Dec 2020 9:05 AM | Anonymous


    Spotlight: Jennifer Lau

    Jennifer Lau is the Director of Career Services at the Peter A. Allard School of Law and was a past President of FACL BC. 

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

    Before starting law school, I lived and worked in Washington, DC in the early 2000s. I worked at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History on Asian Pacific American initiatives, and then in university student services at the University of Maryland-College Park, where I advised Asian Pacific American student groups. As the daughter of Hong Kong and Chinese immigrants to Canada, I was born and raised on the west coast of Canada, and those years that I spent as a young adult on the East Coast of the US were some of my most formative experiences. I decided to go to law school (in Canada) because my time in the US instilled in me a desire to be a better citizen, and understand how the "system" worked. I've never regretted the decision to go to law school!

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

    I've been involved with FACL BC from the very beginning! Serene Chow, our founding President, invited me to a dinner at Kirin in downtown Vancouver with Judge Maryka Omatsu to discuss the founding of a BC chapter of FACL. 29 of us gathered on August 29, 2011, and from there, a movement grew. It feels like ages ago, but also just like yesterday since I am still in touch with so many of the folks who were at that original dinner. Since then, I have been President, a board member, and Gala chair, and I am so delighted to be "just" a member now and see that FACL BC continues to thrive and lead the conversation on the need for diversity in the legal profession.

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

    Every single one of the FACL BC Galas that I've attended. It is always so inspiring to be in a room with hundreds of Asian-Canadian judges, lawyers, and law students, and our allies. 

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

    Self-care is an investment in Future You.

  • 25 Nov 2020 12:11 AM | Anonymous



    Spotlight: Jim Alam

    Jim Alam is a partner at Koffman Kalef LLP and was a founding member and director.

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

    I'm an honorary O-G of the Singapore Wakeboarding Community (even though I only was there for less than a year and only learned to board while there).

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

    My favourite FACL event is FACL BC’s annual gala in November.  

    (In place of an in-person gala this year, FACL BC has their first-ever virtual conference! For more information, please visit: http://faclbc.ca/gala/)

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

    Enjoy the present rather than focusing so much on the future or the past.

  • 9 Nov 2020 11:59 PM | Anonymous


    Spotlight: Philip Huynh

    Philip Huynh is the City Solicitor and Director of Legal Services for the City of Surrey and was a past board member.

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

    I published a collection of short stories in 2019 called The Forbidden Purple City that was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. The stories are about the Vietnamese diaspora after the war, living in Canada and elsewhere.

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

    I was the first president of FACL when it was founded in Ontario back in 2007. By acclamation! I remember being at a volunteer dinner during the early days and no one took the job. Then someone just pointed at me, saying we need a president. Maybe it was because I was sitting at the center table. 

    Back then, FACL was still trying to define itself as both a professional networking organization and a forum for advocacy and activism on social causes. I think it’s a balance that FACL nationally is still striking. I enjoyed so much working with the early board and executives, including Judge Maryka Omatsu, Elaine Hua, Jason Leung, and others.

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

    I really enjoyed (and miss) the annual galas and keynote speakers. It has always been a highlight in my calendar, a chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues and to meet the future of the Asian Canadian legal bar. One of my favorite speakers was the Honourable Justice Patrick Chen of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, who gave us a funny, wise, and heartfelt story about his life. He has done everything from working in Jamaica as a cartographer, to being a high school teacher and a lecturer in Economic Geography, to being a pioneering lawyer at a law firm in Vancouver’s Chinatown before becoming a judge. He is a lesson in being open to the possibilities of life and treating it as a great adventure.

    (In place of an in-person gala this year, FACL BC has their first-ever virtual conference! For more information, please visit: http://faclbc.ca/gala/)

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

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be open to the possibilities of life (see above). Be comfortable with uncertainty. During my career, I made a series of huge leaps – moving from Vancouver to practice commercial litigation in New York, then moving to Toronto, then becoming a municipal lawyer at the City of Surrey. All big, scary moves – and at the time impossible to tell if they were the right ones. You can analyze all you want, but ultimately you have to trust your gut, and that everything will turn out fine. Also, stop and smell the flowers. Enjoy the moment.

  • 20 Oct 2020 11:58 PM | Anonymous

                

    Spotlight: Maria Kim-Bautista 

    Maria Kim-Bautista is a Senior Legal Advisor for Population Data BC at UBC and was a past President as well as one of the founding members of FACL BC.  

    What is something that not many people know about you?

    I speak Japanese. One of my undergrad majors was in Japanese Language & Culture and I spent my 3rd year undergrad on an exchange program at Waseda University in Tokyo, living with a Japanese host family (who didn't speak any English). It was the best time of my life!

    How did you first get involved with FACL? 

    I first got involved with FACL BC in my 2nd year of law school in 2011. I was new to UBC / Allard Law, being a transfer student from the University of Alberta, and wanted to connect with other lawyers and legal professionals in Vancouver. I was one of the founding members of FACL BC, and stayed on the board for about 9 years, including my time serving as the President in 2017-18. Having been part of the FACL family for so long and wishing to further support its cause, my husband, Nicco, and I were motivated to recently create an award for first-generation law students at Allard Law. 

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

    Don't be afraid to seek out what you want. You will enter law school with preconceived notions about what path you ought to take in your career. Over time, your perception of your ideal career might be influenced by your desire to satisfy expectations from your community or financial commitments. Instead, try and remain true to your values, what you find interesting, and what you want out of your career, as in the long run, it will make your journey more rewarding.

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

    Mentorship events and initiatives for sure. One of the reasons why I jumped at the opportunity to join FACL BC was that I felt that there was a lack of support and a sense of community for Asian law students navigating the legal world. I found that many Asian law students who I spoke with are the first in their families to pursue law and may therefore lack the exposure, insights and connections in the legal community enjoyed by some of their peers (note: my first encounter with a real-life lawyer was at my 1L wine and cheese event!) I am proud that FACL BC, from day 1, has placed a strong emphasis on its mentorship program so that the law students who join FACL BC can continue to be supported in law school and throughout their respective legal careers.

  • 29 Sep 2020 12:57 AM | Anonymous

    Spotlight: Mark Leung

    Mark Leung is the Director of Legal at BroadbandTV and was a previous board member for FACL BC.

    What is something not many people know about you? 

    For a couple of years during my undergrad, I volunteered as a radio show host for the campus radio station. The show was called "The Sandbox Theatre", where I played radio/audio theatre on the air (think today's digital audio books).  

    How did you first get involved with FACL? 

    I first got involved in FACL back in 2015 when I reached out to FACL's then current (and first) president, Serene Chow, and attended their AGM. Back then, FACL wasn't as "shiny" as it is now, so the AGM was actually held in the basement floor of a downtown brew pub. But despite its grassroots look-and-feel, it was clear, even then, that the organization was becoming a true champion for diversity in the local Legal community. So that year, I volunteered on a Mentorship committee, and then in the following year, I became a Director-at-Large, where I had the privilege of helping the Executive team come up with FACL's mission statements, some of which is still communicated to the public by the organization today.  

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

    In terms of my career, it sounds awfully cliche, but I would tell myself not to worry about the big picture, and instead, be present with each step of the journey. And to just enjoy the ride, knowing that everything will work out just fine. 

    What is something you would like FACL BC to achieve this year? 

    Being a media lawyer myself, I am very excited to know that FACL will be focusing on growing its digital presence this year. Lawyers and law firms are only starting to scratch the surface at how social media will transform the practice of law and the delivery of legal services to the public. So to see FACL becoming more active on these new platforms is very encouraging.

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