Canadian Lawyer

November 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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FEATURE 8 CROSS EXAMINED Mithoowani says she sought advice from senior members of the immigration bar, who told her they had all seen cycles in the past that altered the landscape, but that the work always came back. "Hearing that from people who had been in this for a lot longer than me helped calm those fears," she says. Mithoowani applied to be a part-time adjudicator on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and was appointed in May 2021. In addition to supplementing her uncertain income as she started her new firm, the position allowed her to develop new skills. She now leads mediations and has learned case management and how to write decisions. "These are all new and very interesting aspects of the law that I'm getting to explore with this appointment." Mithoowani also sits on the boards of Islamic Relief Canada and Crescent Town Club and volunteers with the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society and the University of Toronto's National Security Student Helpline. Her immigration practice also gives her many opportunities to push for systemic change. However, she says all her files are important in their own way. "There's no file in this area of law where the stakes aren't high for the individual. "There's something about immigration work that is addictive. It's because it's social science, it's the law, and it's very human-focused. It's such an intellectually stimulating and satisfying area of law" And I see my job as important because it ensures that the rights of people who otherwise aren't top of mind, necessarily, for policymakers and for governments are respected." Mithoowani says some clients are inter- ested in having her push for broader change, such as improving immigration detention conditions. She will also be inter- vening at the Supreme Court regarding the fall on cases that deal with rights of refugee and immigration claimants, including a case challenging the Safe Third Country Agreement. Mithoowani also co-teaches immigration law at Osgoode Hall Law School, which she says provides her "yearly shot of optimism about the profession" when she sees students becoming passionate about these issues. "Immigration is one of those things that everybody has an opinion on." Mithoowani also realizes how fulfilling her practice is when she speaks to other lawyers who are tired of the law and are at a similar stage in their career. "I think there's something about immi- gration work that is addictive. It's because it's social science, it's the law, and it's very human-focused. It's such an intellectu- ally stimulating and satisfying area of law. I love it." GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY In addition to her practice and role on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Naseem Mithoowani is a volunteer with: Islamic Relief Canada Member of board of directors Crescent Town Club Member of board of directors Jewish Immigrant Aid Society Member of equity and diversity advisory committee University of Toronto National Security Student Helpline Immigration co-chairwoman

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