top of page

A Canada Day Shout Out to the Pandemic Law Firms

On this Canada Day, prior to joining my husband for an outdoor bonfire, I decided to spend some time reflecting on how lucky we are to be Canadian and live in a country where it is possible to build the life of your choosing.

As I write this article, downtown Ottawa has, again, been invaded by protestors demanding "freedom". I certainly understand that the pandemic has caused financial and personal pain to many but we, as a country, have by and large weathered the storm successfully.

I do not believe that temporary restrictions on individual activities for the greater good of the health and survival of our society is an infringement on our freedoms. My very conservative grandmothers who have lived through true tyranny find the whole freedom convoy movement childish and embarrassing. I find the participation in this "movement" by noteworthy politicians terrifying. Part of living with others in a society includes, by necessity, certain sacrifices. Making minor sacrifices so that others do not die seems like a no-brainer, but not for some of those marching the streets of Ottawa today.

The pandemic has also offered opportunities to many. We have all heard of the "Great Resignation" and know friends, family and acquaintances who have used the pandemic to take stock in their lives, their values and the changes that they want to make. Personally, I do not know that I would have ever found the time, space, and motivation to launch Durant Barristers if not for the pandemic. It seems that I am not alone.

I wanted to take a moment today to recognize the large number of lawyers who have launched new law firms, sole practices and consultancy businesses over the course of the pandemic. I am sure that all of these businesses have launched for diverse reasons but many have a few things in common:

  • they are committed to building businesses that operate differently than the status quo;

  • they are (in large part) operated by women, BIPOC lawyers, and members of the LGBTQ+ community; and

  • they are already competing with well-established regional and national firms for both clients and legal talent.

I am proud to live in a country where this is possible. While many of us continue to push for, and make, equality gains within established businesses, it is beyond inspiring that so many individuals are just as able (and successful) when they decide to build a business in their own image.

Congratulations to the firms below (and for those I have no-doubt missed)!

Founded by Faren Bogach

Construct legal provides legal advice for construction and infrastructure projects including drafting and negotiating contracts, navigating claims, resolving disputes and more.

Construct Legal was featured in Canadian Lawyer Magazine for its focus on authenticity and clients over perfection and billable targets.

Prior to founding Construct Legal, Faren was a partner at a well-established Bay Street firm.

Founded by Bhuvana Rai

Mors & Tribute P.C. (which loosely translates in to Death & Taxes) provides tax dispute resolution, tax planning and estates advice to clients and other law firms. Bhuvana practiced previously at an international accounting firm, a national law firm, the Department of Justice litigating tax cases and has clerked with the Tax Court of Canada. She now provides legal services both directly to clients as well as consults with other law firms on tax matters.

On her website, Bhuvana emphasizes her ability to provide high-quality legal advice without the overhead expense of a large firm. Like Faren, she also promises a client-centred approach. Bhuvana is a well-known commentator on tax law issues and has been featured by CTV news, the Globe and Mail and MacLean's magazine.

Founded by Katharine Brack

Osprey Law is a remote law firm founded by lawyer Katharine (Katie) Brack. She started the firm during the pandemic after working at an established full-service Ottawa law firm.

Katie and her team have extensive experience working for Indigenous Governments, both large and small, including First Nations and self-governing nations under modern treaties.

Katie also works for a number of organizations, individuals, and small businesses providing employment advice and conducting civil litigation.

Founded by Caroline V. (Nini) Jones and Lauren Pearce

This fierce, two-woman, labour law firm launched at the height of the Omicron outbreak. Caroline and Lauren banded together to form their own firm after working together for a number of years at an established and prestigious Toronto litigation boutique.

Labour law has, historically, been a bit of a "boys club" and I am personally excited to see this firm arrive and compete with the major, established, predominately male players.

Founded by Amanda Dimilta

Amanda is a human rights lawyer who has a focus on education law. The majority of Amanda's clients are students who require disability-based accommodations at school. She has acted for clients at all levels of education - from pre-school to PhD candidates.

While Amanda prefers to work collaboratively to achieve results, she also has experience with litigation including applications to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Interestingly, Amanda has embraced staged or unbundled legal services arrangements. She appears committed to being able to represent clients in a cost-effective manner through her cutting edge billing practices.

Founded by Katie Black

Katie Black founded Black & Associates in June of 2020 after practicing as a partner at other Ottawa-based law firms.

Katie has a tremendous reputation in the Ottawa legal community as a volunteer, advocate, confidant and strategist. Her team advises on all aspects of civil litigation.

I personally have great respect for Katie. She and I have worked together on pro bono initiatives, legal aid funding and are both members of the County of Carleton Law Association's External Relations Committee. Black & Associates runs an informative Blog where Katie's personality and commitment to justice and equality really shines through. In it, Katie has recently commented on important matters such as women in the legal profession, how to retain talent, and sexual harassment in the workplace. She has also shared the journey of her law firm so that the rest of us can learn from her experience.

Founded by Jonathan Richardson and Amanda Hall

Richardson Hall LLP was established in January of 2021.

This motivated team of two partners and six associates prides itself for providing exceptional and tenacious services to its clients. On top of that, Jon and Amanda are well known in the legal community for their service, compassion towards other lawyers and their relentless pursuit of bringing down the patriarchy.

Richardson Hall LLP has notably embraced remote work, flexible hours and has become a popular destination for young lawyers looking for flexibility and mentorship in their practice. The firm has also embraced social media as a means of communicating their message both with clients and members of the legal profession. Jon and Amanda have also regularly worked with other small firms in co-counsel arrangements for the benefit of various clients.

Founded by Ruben Goulart

Goulart Workplace Lawyers was founded in June of 2020. It is a labour and employment law boutique which has already grown to having six lawyers, including Jennifer Philpott who I have met through social media.

The firm touts its diversity as a distinguishing factor when providing services to clients. Mr. Goulart is considerably outnumbered as all of the other lawyers at the firm are women - including women of colour.

Founded by Erin O'Rourke

I am not the only Erin who launched a law firm in Ontario during the pandemic. Erin O'Rourke launched her firm in July of 2020. Erin provides employment law and immigration law services to clients and also offers legal coaching and unbundled legal services to individuals who cannot afford (or who do not wish to hire) a lawyer full time to handle their legal issues. Erin offers a number of flexible payment arrangements, including monthly installment payments. If you think that small firms do not attract interesting work, ask Erin about her policy work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees!

Erin has already made a name for herself in the legal profession despite being new to the scene. She has been featured on the Yunusov Question and has been an invited speaker to a number of legal conferences. She is also a co-host (with Piper Riley Thompson) of the popular "Off the Tracks" podcast.

Founded by Webnesh Haile

Webnesh and her Traction Legal firm is the newest firm on this list. Launched very recently, Traction Legal has a very interesting business model. Webnesh provides on-demand, integrated legal support for construction projects and teams. They provide legal services on an as-needed and often in-house basis across the construction project lifecycle. Webnesh describes the services as being "fractional in-house counsel" support.

Webnesh launched the firm after working at both a national law firm and with a construction boutique firm with an exceptional reputation. Webnesh (or "Web") is no push over. She has been ranged in Best Lawyers in Canada since 2021, she is an active member of the legal community and an active commentator on social media. Any construction client would be very lucky to have her temporarily provide in-house services to their team.

Founded by Michael Hershkop

Michael Hershop founded MH Legal in April of 2021.

Michael describes himself as a medical malpractice & disability lawyer. Before law, Michael worked at a group home for individuals with special needs. This experience impressed on him the importance of diligent and tenacious advocacy on behalf of those who cannot do so themselves. He has represented clients across Canada - from New Brunswick to Vancouver. His reported case history is impressive as he has acted as counsel and co-counsel on a number of successful medical malpractice trials and appeals.

Michael's commitment to providing legal services to plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions is impressive and notable. These cases require a tremendous amount of effort and investment from legal counsel to bring them to a point where settlement - or trial - occurs. I am personally pleased to see a new firm willing to take on this difficult yet necessary work.

Founded by Nancy Mehrad

Registrant Law was launched in January of 2021. It is among the most innovative new firms featured in this blog.

Nancy provides securities law and regulatory compliance advice to portfolio managers, dealers and investment fund managers throughout Canada. She offers her services both on a fee-per-service rate and also as in-house legal counsel rate (which she describes in detail in her LinkedIn blog).

Nancy's legal experience is exceptional. She has worked both at high-profile securities law firms, as legal and policy counsel to an industry association and as in-house counsel to large institutions. She also is a member of the Ontario Securities Commission Securities Advisory Committee.

Founded by Sunira Chaudhri

Sunira founded Workly after building her expertise as a partner at one of the most well-known employment law firm in Canada. The firm represents both employers and employees on terminations, discrimination cases, matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic, contract reviews, policy drafting and more.

Sunira is well-known in the legal community and in the general public. She is a frequent media commentator on issues related to labour, employment and human rights law.

Founded by John McIntyre

John founded McIntyre Health law in early 2022 and practices in association with me at Durant Barristers. Prior to founding his own firm, John was a member of the health law group at one of Canada's largest law firms. He also clerked at the Ontario Court of Appeal with Justices MacPherson, Pepall, Benotto and Miller.

John has taken his health law expertise to the next level by completing a Masters Degree in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where he concentrated on Health Leadership and Management and earned a certificate in LGBTQ Public Health. John provides both external legal counsel work and acts as in-house counsel for clients on an as-needed basis.

John is an expert relationship-builder. He has grown his law firm while continuing his education and while preparing for a prestigious internship. He has done so by working closely with his clients, our law firm, and other connections to ensure that his legal practice continued to thrive while pursuing his educational endeavors which will, no doubt, benefit his clients.

John recently gained attention on LinkedIn by openly talking about his experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Founded by Ellen Brohm

Ellen founded Ellen's Estates Advocacy after practicing for over eleven years at two full-service law firms. Ellen also practices in association with Durant Barristers and provides our clients with estates law expertise on an as-needed basis. Our lawyers and staff also provide assistance to Ellen should she require extra resources for large or complex files.

Ellen has largely grown her legal practice through word of mouth and connections in the legal community. When I was a young lawyer in Barrie, I remember that Ellen had already become the go-to lawyer for complex estates matter despite her comparative youth. By focusing on a niche practice area early in her career and making connections with mentors throughout Ontario, she was able to develop a lucrative practice even as a young lawyer. Ellen is based in Richmond Hill but now takes on clients and files throughout Ontario.

Founded by Andrew Moss and Erika Hachey

Partners Erika Hachey and Andrew Moss launched their new law firm, Moss Hachey Law, in January of 2021. Having worked together for eight years at an established law firm, the two partners decided to start their own personal injury and insurance law firm. They represent clients throughout the Maritimes in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland.

Founded by Nikki Gershbain

Last but not least, I want to recognize Nikki Gershbain's new consulting firm - IDEA Consulting. Nikki is known to most of us through her work as Chief Inclusion Officer at McCarthy Tétrault LLP and her development of the successful Inclusion Now EDI program. Among her many awards and recognitions, she is a recipient of the Canadian Bar Association's LGBTQ Hero Award in recognition of her ground-breaking work on transgender workplace inclusion.

Nikki is recognized as a leading expert in the inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility space. I am personally very excited to see that Nikki is now a free agent who can be hired by organizations of all sizes to build an impactful IDEA strategy. Perhaps Nikki will have some of her own ideas about why so many of the lawyers featured on this list have opted to start up their own successful businesses rather than build their business within existing firms and power structures. But that is a discussion for another day.

1,173 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page