How did you first get involved with CLEBC?
It’s been so long I can’t recall! That’s a good thing right?
What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
I recently co-chaired Civil Litigation Basics with my former partner, now The Honourable Mr. Justice Ward K. Branch (we used to do a fair bit of conferences together) and upcoming is the Western Canada Class Actions Conference on May 28, which we put together every couple of years or so, and which I will co-chair with Mike Eizenga of Bennett Jones LLP, Toronto. Having been distant from everyone this past year, I can’t wait to reconnect with all our panelists to put together these two conferences.
What inspired you to become a lawyer?
Growing up riding competitively in Brazil, I actually wanted to be a horse vet but after going on one day of rounds with our vet, I realized that seeing blood was a bit of an impediment to that and had to look into something else. Although my initial plan B was becoming a career diplomat, I was discouraged from doing that by my equestrian coach, who suggested I become a lawyer. And the rest is history.
How did you decide to focus your practice on class actions?
“Decide to focus” gives me far too much credit. I literally fell into it as a four year call, when I had the opportunity to become the fourth lawyer to join Branch MacMaster LLP. I did a little bit of insurance work at the beginning, but naturally gravitated to the class actions practice. I love that it is a practice that involves a set of procedural rules and fairly well-established jurisprudence that allow you to gain experience and feel comfortable with the practice, but at the same time this set of procedures can be invoked in virtually any type of case, which gives us a healthy dose of variety. I also really enjoy the social nature of the practice, as it often involves working with many other lawyers (whether acting for plaintiffs or defendants), and allows us to see lots of different approaches and strategies which we can then use to improve our own skills.
You are very active in the legal community both as a contributor to publications and as a speaker. What motivates you to give back to the profession?
I wish I was publishing a bit more. I do have a few ideas for articles, usually on things that bug me, but it is hard to find the time for that. Conferences are a great way to keep in touch with colleagues and find out about recent developments, and I really enjoy seeing the new faces and getting questions from people coming into the practice with a fresh and eager perspective.
So, you’re originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil?
Yes, born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I lived until graduating from law school (I also have a civil law degree), but have now been in Canada for longer than I have lived in Brazil. For those of you who are sneakily doing the age math, we don’t have undergraduate studies in Brazil 😉 I often get the “so you are Brasil from Brazil?!?!” question, but it always amazes me as I think it would be far weirder to be “Brasil from France”. Right?
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
Those of you who have spent any time with me will have heard me talk about my 9-year-old daughter, but I imagine that is not unusual for parents, and so the question must be interpreted as requiring something other than your child (you asked a lawyer!). I have never lost the horse bug, and remain keenly connected to the local equestrian community, and my weekends typically involve a trip or two to the barn with my daughter (who appears to have inherited the equestrian gene). My other passion is travelling and I just can’t wait to continue exploring this beautiful world of ours. My last trip (other than to Brazil, which does not really count) was Antarctica, and I was planning on going to Sable Island and Namibia next, but these two became COVID casualties.
We understand you have a daughter. Does she want to be a lawyer? What advice do you have for girls who are considering a career in law? Any advice for their Moms and Dads?
My daughter does NOT want to be a lawyer, as she thinks it involves far too much reading and “boring” clothes and binders. Right now, with a pre-tween kid who is starting to test what she can do, my advice for parents whose kids are considering a career in law is to discourage them! For now I can argue my way into convincing my daughter to do what I want, but if she had legal training I am not convinced I could do that…