SPOTLIGHT

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  • 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 | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous


    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 | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous


    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 | Anonymous


    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.


  • 16 Feb 2022 11:48 AM | Anonymous


    Spotlight: Stephanie Wong

    Stephanie is an associate at Lawson Lundell LLP.  

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

    I'm an open book so there's not a lot that people don't know about me, but I think the most important thing to know is I believe Halloween is the best day of the year and I love my cats to an unhealthy degree.

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

    I’ve been a member since its early days, since Serene Chow, a mentor, was President!

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

    I love the FACL Galas! FACL does such a great job with their keynote speakers and it's a great place to see a lot of my favourite people!

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

    If I were to go back in time, I think I'd tell myself that it all shakes out in the end. There's no right answer to life so just do the right-est thing.


  • 2 Feb 2022 11:37 AM | Anonymous


    Spotlight: Ellen S. Hong

    Ellen is a partner and litigator at Hamilton Duncan Armstrong + Stewart Law Corporation.  

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

    I raised funds for an overseas development project by hosting a 24-hr Rock-A-Thon where I rocked on a rocking chair for 24 hours in a cafe in Montreal. Ultimately, I raised enough funds to go to Ghana for 7 weeks.

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

    I joined as a member several years ago. I have volunteered as a mentor.

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

    The premiere of the "But I Look Like a Lawyer" documentary.

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

    You don't always have to be conciliatory or smooth over ruffled feathers.


  • 21 Jan 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous


    Spotlight: Dr. Ruby Dhand

    This month’s second spotlight is Dr. Ruby Dhand.Ruby is an Associate Professor at the TRU Faculty of Law and a current FACL BC member.

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

    I played high school basketball. 

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL? 

    I first became involved with FACL as a member and I learned so much attending a number of really interesting events about EDI in the legal profession. I was also excited and honoured to support FACL as the Area Representative for Kamloops, BC. 

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

    I would have advised myself that "what matters most is how you see yourself."  

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

    My favourite FACL event was the "BIPOC Women in Law: Navigating Race, Gender and Equity in the Profession." This event featured lawyers who highlighted the impact of racial, gender-based and intersectional barriers to equity in the legal profession. It was inspiring to hear what practical strategies and resilience tools lawyers can use to navigate systemic barriers and advance equity in the legal profession.

  • 5 Jan 2022 1:21 PM | Anonymous


    Spotlight: Baljinder Kaur Girn

    Baljinder is Senior Crown Counsel at the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and a current FACL BC member.

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

    My backup plan if I was not accepted to law school was to go to France to train as a chef.

    2. How did you first get involved with FACL? 

    I have followed FACL BC on social media platforms for a number of years. However, I first became involved when I was asked to participate as a panelist for the launch of the documentary "But I Look Like a Lawyer." I was very honored to participate.

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

    Get involved early on in your career with organizations that promote diversity and inclusion and don't be afraid to share your lived experiences to highlight inequities in the legal profession.

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

    The documentary launch has definitely been my favourite event.



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