Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 17 of 59

16 FEATURE CROSS EXAMINED FOR A young lawyer, deciding what area of law to pursue can be daunting. Not only do you have to determine what interests you despite little work experience, you also want to know what it is "really like" to practise day to day. Corporate law, unlike litigation, is also often shrouded in mystery for new lawyers, and visions of grinding it out in a boardroom for endless hours may be the only image that comes to mind. Despite having "no clue or perception about what corporate lawyers did," Konata Lake says that image never matched his experience. "I'm from a single-parent household [and an] immigrant kid [who] grew up in Jane and Finch in west-end Toronto. I was so excited to be in that world that the work I was doing, I don't think I ever thought of it as grunt work. "One person said to me one, where the rest of us with a new deal see a minefield, you see candy." His enthusiasm is a sure sign he found the right practice area when he chose to pursue corporate law. But his attitude may also be a sign of perspective, where other obstacles he the Department of Finance in Ottawa, but he chose instead to work at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP in New York. Lake was drawn to corporate law and also to living in New York. "My heart was probably [drawn] toward the idea of going to the government, but the life experience won out." While Lake did love New York, his heart eventually drew him to Torys, where he could be closer to his mother, who was suffering from cancer, and his now wife, both of whom were in Toronto. "The goal was to come back to Toronto and Torys was fantastic in that I think they prob- ably saw that I still love New York but had family obligations that was taking me back and so they allowed me to work part out of overcame seem much more significant than a mountain of paperwork. Lake grew up in Jamaica and moved to Canada when he was 10 with his mother and sister. In his family, Lake jokes, "there are certain professions that you are told that you should be. The law was the one that kind of fit my personality when I was younger, so I was always encouraged/instructed to pursue law." Reluctant to stray from the strict instruc- tions, Lake completed a joint JD/MBA degree at Osgoode Hall Law School after completing his undergraduate in business. Lake was always drawn to business and economics, but he also toyed with working in public policy and government. Lake had an opportunity to work with "I've accepted that there are times when I will miss [bed] time with my son. And there are times when I will miss a client event." WHAT CORPORATE LAWYERS REALLY DO Konata Lake loves the high-profile deals on which he advises, but he is also honest about the struggles he faces, writes Tim Wilbur

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