Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 48 of 59 47 immigration lawyer. "I have been around long enough and dealt with enough cases that a lot of my referrals come from previous clients." He has also published several books on immigration law, including Definition of Convention Refugee and Canadian Immigration and Refugee Practice. Says Waldman: "I've always said that it's a privilege to and blessing that I have an opportunity to work on these complex immi- gration files, because there's nothing more satisfying than taking on a difficult case and guiding it through to a satisfactory conclu- sion and knowing that you made a difference in somebody's life." Zaifman Law Winnipeg There is a photo on Ken Zaifman's desk that symbolizes what he loves about immigration law. It's from a newspaper article almost 30 years ago about a large Iraqi family from Kuwait that was able to immigrate to Canada — via Romania and Hungary — and plant roots in Manitoba, thanks to Zaifman's work. "It's just a compelling story with a successful ending," Zaifman says, a daily reminder of how an immigration lawyer's work can help change lives. The large Iraqi family was living in Kuwait at the time of the first Gulf War and was due to be sent back to Iraq, where everyone likely would have suffered a great deal, Zaifman says. The family managed to get to Romania, one of the only countries that would accept Iraqis at the time, and from there, made its way to Hungary and then Canada. Zaifman says he still hears from family members, including a recent call from one of the children, now all grown up. "He was going through some family photos and just wanted to tell me that he's done well, has a business degree and now works for an auto- motive company. "I am able to look at his family's picture on my desk and it reminds me why I am in this particular area of law." Graduating from law school in 1975 and called to the bar in 1976, Zaifman started as a criminal lawyer but was drawn into immigration law in 1979 when a U.S. citizen came to his office needing help on being deported. Zaifman managed to prevent his client from testifying at his immigration proceeding, something that was standard practice in those days, and even though his case won in Provincial Court and made it to the Manitoba Court of Appeal, the man was eventually deported. Still, it gave Zaifman a taste for immigra- tion law and how the process itself involves a lot of discretion among the many individ- uals who have decision-making powers along the way. "There are many knowledgeable and competent immigration officers who also have compassion and can use their judgment by examining the details of each case," he says. "And that is how it should be, because immigration is all about human beings and understanding the human condition. And it's up to a good lawyer to help tell that story." Zaifman started his firm in 1986, with two employees and no associates. The firm now has a staff of 12, including three other lawyers. It deals with all aspects of immigra- tion law for individuals and businesses, and Zaifman has been extensively involved in the recruitment of workers to Manitoba in indus- tries such as food processing, hospitality and transportation. He points to a pork-pro- cessing plant in Neepawa that has given the town's economy new life, in part due to the immigrants he has helped bring in. While many types of immigration-re- lated cases have slowed down during the pandemic, other types have taken on more importance — for example, in situations involving helping foreign workers cross the border into Canada for critical industries. While much of the work has been done remotely, Zaifman says, the firm has had clients come to the office, when it was appro- priate, and under proper precautions for staff and clients. "We've managed to provide service to clients and not have them compromised in any way and keep our office staff feeling that they are not at risk."

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