Canadian Lawyer

September 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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26 www.canadianlawyermag.com TOP 25 MOST INFLUENTIAL LAWYERS 2021 K ene Ilochonwu's guiding principles go beyond the precepts of law. "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry," which comes from the Bible; "It always seems impossible until it is done," a quote from Nelson Mandela; and "One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you're going through now, and it will become part of someone else's survival guide," which he learned from Brené Brown, an American professor and author. In February 2021, Ilochonwu become the first black Bencher for the Law Society of Alberta. Born and raised in Nigeria, he now serves as a mentor to law students through the Black Law Student's Association of the University of Calgary, the Canadian Bar Association mentor program and mentors inter- nationally trained lawyers in Calgary through Global Lawyers of Canada. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Pro Bono Law Alberta, Calgary Black Chambers, Global Lawyers of Canada and Our Saviour Anglican Church Calgary. "When I started the race to be a Bencher, I just felt there was not enough representation of my demographic at the Bencher table," explained Ilochonwu. "Being the first black Bencher is a journey — it's not your destination. The work actually starts now. The euphoria is gone, and this is where the rubber hits the road." A fter years of witnessing the struggles of self-represented litigants in the justice system, Marcus M. Sixta launched Coach My Case in the spring of 2021. "We came up with the concept of creating a legal coaching firm that's totally remote, that people can access wherever they want, whenever they want," explained Sixta, a family lawyer, mediator, and former social worker. Through Coach My Case, people who are self-represented can access legal assistance anywhere in B.C. or Alberta. They can choose between a paralegal or a lawyer who provides assis- tance so that they can represent themselves better in court. Sixta also founded family law firm, Crossroads Law in 2017 and sits on the Canadian Bar Association B.C. committee for unbundled legal services and has presented legal coaching topics for the Canadian Bar Association. He is also a supervising lawyer for Pro Bono Students Canada and a contributor to the Law Society of Alberta's Family Law Practice Manual. Sixta said his background in social work informs his approach to law. "I have experience working with individuals in crisis and I take great pride in helping people navigate challenging circum- stances. That's why I got into family law, because helping people has been the focus of my career path." Phone: 1-800-466-1838 • 1-800-338-5037 Email: info@crossroadslaw.ca • info@coachmycase.ca Website: www.crossroadslaw.ca • www.coachmycase.ca Phone: 403-567-2500 Website: www.parkland.ca KENE ILOCHONWU Legal Counsel Law Society of Alberta/ Parkland Corporation MARCUS M. SIXTA Founder, Family Lawyer, Mediator, Collaborative Lawyer Crossroads Law and Coach My Case SPECIAL REPORT

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