Canadian Lawyer

November 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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6 www.canadianlawyermag.com FEATURE CROSS EXAMINED IMMIGRATION IS HER PERFECT PRACTICE AREA Naseem Mithoowani loves the combination of human-focused and intellectually stimulating issues she encounters in her chosen field "What was really special about Lerners is that in my first year of being an associate, the partner that I worked closely with wanted to explore an immigration practice" MITHOOWANI WALDMAN Immigration Law Group co-founder Naseem Mithoowani grew up in a small town outside London, Ontario. Back then, she and her Muslim family were among the few people of colour in the community. Mithoowani's father came to Canada as a refugee from Uganda, so politics was always something her family discussed, but she says she did not often experience overt racism. However, there was always a feeling that you should downplay your differences. Mithoowani says she hadn't considered what that meant until she learned about the Charter in a high school class. The idea of minority rights was a brand-new concept to her then, but it lit something up in her and meant she knew she was bound for law school when she started her under- graduate degree. After completing an undergraduate degree in French literature at McMaster University, Mithoowani entered Osgoode Hall Law School in 2004. After her first year, she returned home to London, Ontario, to work at Lerners LLP, a full-service firm. That is where she articled and began working as an associate after graduating from law school. "What was really special about Lerners is that in my first year of being an associate, the partner that I worked closely with wanted to explore an immigration prac- tice," she says. Mithoowani is still in touch with that partner, Faisal Joseph. Her time at Lerners was her first expe- rience with immigration, but she never looked back. Mithoowani was learning to set up a practice from the ground up. "It was learning the admin side, the marketing side, the client communication, all of those sorts of soft skills, plus putting together and filing applications that I had never previously done and didn't have a precedent bank to rely on." Mithoowani recalls successfully helping a client with a permanent residency appli- cation and seeing him in the commu- nity weeks later. When she realized how important her work had been to him and his family, she says she knew she wanted to practise immigration law full-time. Once Mithoowani decided to specialize in immigration, she joined Waldman & Associates in Toronto. "This was the place to learn immigration law," she says. "I couldn't have asked for a better, more varied experience." Mithoowani says she was still very inter- ested in building her client base and main- taining links to the London and Muslim communities. The firm's founding partner,

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