This month’s spotlight is on CLEBC contributor Jasmeet Wahid of Kahn Zack Ehrlich Lithwick LLP. Jasmeet’s family law practice is diverse and interesting, often involving complex financial and parenting issues. Her practice also includes unique issues in adoption, reproductive technology, child protection, and First Nations concerns.
How did you first get involved with CLEBC?
I reached out to CLEBC and indicated that I wished to volunteer my time and become involved in their continuing education of the legal profession, especially those at the beginning of their careers. Being involved with CLEBC continues to be a rewarding experience and I am grateful for the ability to contribute towards our legal profession with my colleagues.
What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
I am co-chairing the Family Law Provincial Court Practice course being held on Thursday, March 7, 2019, which will be fantastic! We have a great line up of speakers and topics for the audience. It’s always a pleasure introducing new speakers and being part of the creative process of organizing a course. This will be the third time that I have co-chaired a CLEBC course and I truly enjoy doing it.
How did you decide to focus your practice on family law?
I decided in law school that family law would be my focus and I am glad that I made this decision early in my career. This area provides excellent opportunities to problem solve challenging situations. It’s interesting from the human and academic perspective. I enjoy this balance. It is never boring! As counsel, your skills grow in so many ways. Just as importantly, this area broadens your experience as a human being. Guiding clients through their challenging times is a privilege and it is often a humbling experience.
Your family law practice includes assisting clients with unique issues in the areas of adoption and reproductive technology. What are some trends you see in these areas?
I believe this area of practice will grow tremendously in the near future given our social reality. Reproductive technology continues to advance and become a reality for so many families. Our laws simply can’t keep up with the dynamic and unique legal problems that unfold with often no clear legal remedies. This is very exciting work.
What is your advice for a young lawyer interested in practising family law?
Practising family law is challenging on many levels but it provides great rewards. In addition to understanding the substantive and procedural principles of a family law case, it is necessary to understand the perspectives of your client and other family members. Being a good listener is essential. Learn from each case that comes your way and do what you can to effectively problem solve. If litigation is required, then be prepared and relish the opportunity as counsel to expand your skill set. Mentorship and having support from your colleagues is important.
You speak Punjabi in addition to English. Has your second language ability benefitted your law practice?
Punjabi is my first language as my parents immigrated from Punjab, India. I believe this fact has been a real gift to my practice because it has underscored the necessity to listen to clients and understand their perspective. As lawyers, we provide services to a diverse public with different life stories. Understanding cultural nuances is important and I find it fascinating.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
Travel! A colleague and good friend recently described me as having a world compass. To date, that is one of my favorite compliments! I am curious about our world and it’s a delight to jump on a flight and explore a corner of it. I was recently in Mexico City. This was a spontaneous trip, as a trial was adjourned, and I decided to return to one of my favorite cities.