“Perseverance in the Face of Adversity”–the 9th annual Asian Canadian Law Students Conference 2013

Welcome to the 9th annual Asian Canadian Law Students Conference 2013, brought to you by Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

This year’s theme is “Perseverance in the Face of Adversity”.
The keynote speaker this year is Jean Lee, President of the Asian American Bar Association of New York and currently Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for J.P. Morgan Chase.

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2013
9:15AM – 5:00PM.
Location: One King West Hotel, 1 King St. West, Toronto
(near King Subway Station)
Dress Code: Business Casual

The Asian Canadian Law Students’ Conference is an exciting forum which brings students and lawyers together, providing an opportunity to meet and discuss career paths, developments in law, and ways in which we can contribute to our communities. It is a fantastic opportunity to network with law students and legal professionals. The conference is organized by an alliance of student associations at Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Special thanks to Sandie, Rose and Anthea for taking the photos!

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“Future Unbound–Inbound and Outbound Investment”

The University of Toronto Asia Law Society is proud to organize this panel discussion on foreign investment in China and India. Stikeman Elliott LLP, one of Canada’s leading business law firms, has graciously agreed to host the event at their firm. Refreshments will be served as part of the event. The event will occur on:

Date: Friday, February 8, 2013
Time: 3:30PM – 5:00PM
Stikeman Elliot LLP
5300 Commerce Court West
199 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario

The event will be structured as a panel discussion/Q & A with three distinguished lawyers from Stikeman Elliott, William Braithwaite, Jay Kellerman, and Dee Rajpal. More information about the panelists are below.

William Braithwaite is Chair of the Firm and a member of the Partnership Board and Executive Committee. He is a senior partner in the Toronto office, and former head of its Corporate Group. Mr. Braithwaite practises primarily in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and corporate finance.

Jay Kellerman is Managing Partner of the firm’s Toronto office. He is a partner in Stikeman Elliott’s corporate-commercial section in Toronto and also leads the Global Mining Group. Mr. Kellerman has more than 20 years of experience as a corporate lawyer, primarily involved in securities related matters, including financings and mergers and acquisitions.

Dee Rajpal is a partner with Stikeman Elliott in Toronto practicing corporate and securities law. His practice focuses primarily on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, corporate governance, restructuring and compliance matters with an emphasis on cross-border and international transactions.

The discussion will be about:
Inbound and outbound investment
Roles of lawyers in cross-border transactions
Experiences of leading Canadian lawyers
Foreign investment practice in Canada
The economic political and social impact on Canada and Asia
Your academic interests and career aspirations

ALS is most fortunate for Stikeman to agree to help us with this event. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to learn more about the role lawyers play in foreign investments and to network with leading lawyers at a Seven Sister firm.

If you have any questions or comments, please email utlaw.als@gmail.com. You can also find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/utlaw.als.

Applying to be the President for the Asia Law Society 2013-2014

The Asia Law Society is seeking applications for the President for the academic year 2013-2014!

ALS President Application 2013-2014

Law students of all backgrounds at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law who will continue to be enrolled at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law for the next academic year are welcomed to apply.

The application is due on Friday March 22, 2013 by noon. Please email your completed form and your résumé to utlaw.als@gmail.com with the subject heading: President Application.

Who we are?

The Asia Law Society (ALS) provides a forum for students of all backgrounds to further their interests in legal development in Asia as well as legal issues relevant to the Asian Canadian community. This past academic year, ALS began our partnership with the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL), which provides educational, networking and mentorship opportunities to students. Next year, we will host the 9th Asian Canadian Law Students Conference in collaboration with Osgoode Asian Law Society (ALSO). For more information, please visit http://www.law.utoronto.ca/student-life/student-clubs-and-events/asia-law-society

What does the President or the Co-President(s) do?

As the President or the Co-President, you will be responsible for overseeing activities and organization of the group. Your responsibilities include but are not limited to: executive member recruitment, event planning, membership, promotion and marketing, and partnership with other student groups, firms and organizations. In February 2014, you will work with ALSO to organize the 10th Asian-Canadian Law Students Conference in February 2014. The time commitment for this position varies throughout the year.

“Raising the Bar”–The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers 6th Annual Conference 2012

On Saturday November 10, 2012, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers held the 6th Annual Conference and banquet in Toronto.

Networking Event “Networking: Too Much Net, Too Little working” featuring Kathy Conway, Advisor for Talent Development at McCarthy Tétrault.

The keynote speaker is Don Liu, who is the General Counsel and Vice President of Xerox, Inc. He was born in Seoul, Korea, immigrated to the U.S. in 1972, received his B.A. from Harverford College and J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. Mr. Liu titled his speech as “Confessional Ode of A Pussycat Father” in comparison to the image of “Tiger Mother” presented by Amy Chua, who is a Yale Law School professor. Mr. Liu raised the question whether Asian parents in North America fail to get kids to learn the people skills necessary to succeed.

Mr. Don Liu, General Counsel and Vice President of Xerox Inc., and the keynote speak for the conference

The Honourable Justice Harry Laforme posed a question to Mr. Liu about how do lawyers from minority communities make their voice heard by those in power.

Among the top 200 law firms in the U.S., only one of six Asians make partner compare to one out of four for non-minorities, one out of five for Blacks and one out of three for Hispanics. Ten years later, while the rate stays the same for other groups, only one of eight Asians make partner.  The situation is equally disappointing for Asians outside the legal profession in the U.S.

“The practice of law is an issue of reputation.–Don Liu”

Based on empirical data, the educational background of CEOs of Fortune 100 or Fortune 500 companies shows no correlation between getting into the Ivy Leagues and reaching the top of the corporate world. Mr. Liu rallied the audience to cultivate their people and leadership skills through opportunities such as networking, public speaking and mentoring.

The lunch is a buffet, “Taste of Little India”, catered by Oliver & Bonacini.

The afternoon conference held three panels for each hour ranging from history of the Asian Canadian legal profession to Disclosure issue related to Facebook IPO. One of the panels, “Breaking the Barriers: Pioneering Asian-Canadian in Law”, discussed the history and future of Asian Canadian lawyers since the early 1900s. Allison Kirk-Montgomery from the Law Society of Upper Canada spoke about her project, “Diversifying the Bar: Lawyers Make History”. The project is composed of 300 biographies and interviews recognizing “path-breakers” from more than 40 communities.

From Left to Right: Jason Tam (Moderator), Gary Yee (Chair, License Appeal Tribunal), Honourable Madam Justice Maryka Omatsu, and Allison Kirk-Montgomery (Law Society of Upper Canada)

As the first Asian woman appointed to the bench, the Honourable Madam Justice Maryka Omatsu discussed the history of Asian Canadians in the legal profession from the perspective of changes in the legislation and judiciary. Justice Omatsu graduated from Osgoode Hall law school and practised law in Toronto for 16 years before her appointment to the bench. She now retired after over 19 years on the bench but remains active in the community.

Gary Yee addressed the barriers of Asian Canadian Lawyers from a personal angle. The last names, the racial stereotypes and the accents all represent the difficulties that Asians face in the Canadian legal market. For example, in 2011, the Global & Mail publishes a study, which finds that resumes with English last names receive 30-40% higher calls for interviews than the same resumes with minority last names. Mr. Yee says, “The nature quest of belonging is the psyche of immigrants”. Comparing his experience in law and in advocacy, Mr. Yee suggested that law could provide tools to overcome the barriers.

For full program of the conference, please access the link here: FACL-TIMETABLE-for-registration-2012-conference-Nov-10-2012

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Tsinghua-Toronto Joint Conference: Frontiers of Constitutional Jurisprudence in China and Canada

Lin Cong’ 14

The University of Toronto Faculty of law in collaboration with the Tsinghua University Law School organized a conference on the “Frontiers of Constitutional Jurisprudence in China and Canada” on October 12-13, 2012 in Toronto. The conference features pioneering constitutional law scholars from China and Canada who present their studies on various topics of constitutional law. Professor Ian Lee from the University of Toronto delivered the welcoming remarks.

Professor Kent Roach presents on “A Comparative Examination of Wrongful Conviction”

“If a country thinks it does not have a wrongful conviction problem, it is not looking hard enough.–Kent Roach”

Kent Roach from the University of Toronto and Professor Na Jiang from Beijing Normal University presented on “A Comparative Examination of Wrongful Conviction”. Professor Roach structured his study on wrongful conviction as an unique piece in constitutional law scholarship. He suggests that criminal law is constitutional law that matters in the sense that people go to jail and get executed. Professor Roach further discussed the Innocence Projects in the U.S. and also comparison between inquisitorial and adversarial systems on the issue of wrongful conviction.

Professor Jiang presented on three waves of criminal law reforms in China in 2006, 2010, and 2012. These reforms were largely invoked by wrongful conviction cases, She and Zhao. Professor Jiang argued that these reforms, however inspiring, are more symbolic than effective.

Professor Zhaojie Li poses challenges to the panel.

Professor Yasmin Dawood and Professor Ian Lee from the University of Toronto added two distinct perspectives to the conference. Professor Dawood discussed “Democratic Rights as Structural Rights” through a political science angle. Professor Lee presented on “Reasonable Accommodation in an Economic Perspective” focusing on recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions on freedom of religion. Professor Lee suggested that the commonality of their studies lies in the interdisciplinary focus: bringing social science in constitutional law analysis.

Professor Ian Lee presents on his economic analysis of constitutional law

Professor Jinyan Li from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, chaired the panel of International Law and Constitutional Law. Professor Zhaojie Li from Tsinghua University and Professor Patrick Macklem from the University of Toronto presented on the complex relationship between constitutional law and international law in China and Canada. Professor Li began with an eulogy to Professor Betty Ho, who had strong connection with both Tsinghua and the University of Toronto. Professor Li then discussed how international law affected Chinese Constitution. Professor Macklem addressed the question “how dualist Canada is” by analyzing the Quebec Secession Reference and labour trilogy cases.

Professor Zhaojie Li answers questions from the audience

David Mulroney and Professor Zhaojie Li

David Mulroney, Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and former Canadian ambassador to China, chaired the closing address. Dean Zhenmin Wang from Tsinghua University School of Law delivered the closing remarks on “Constitutionalism and Democracy: A Comparative Observation”.

For the full program of the conference, please visit the conference main page.

The New Legal System and Its Significances in China

Lin Cong’ 14

On October 10, 2012, the Asia Law Society was honoured to have Professor Zhenmin Wang to speak on the exciting changes in the legal system in China. Professor Wang is the dean of law school at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of the best in China. He teaches an intensive course at the University of Toronto and spearheads the exchange program for law students at the University of Toronto to study law at Tsinghua.

Vince Wong’ 13 introduces Professor Zhenmin Wang at the event, “the New Legal System and Its Significances in China”

Professor Wang commented on the lunch provided at the event and began his speech with a joke about studying bible and eating. A prisoner asked a priest if he could eat when studying the bible. The priest said no because bible study is a serious matter and eating would distract the study. Then, the prisoner changed the question and asked if he could study the bible when eating. The priest answered, certainly because that shows one has the bible in mind even when eating.

A photo of “ya men” (衙门), the traditional criminal law court and prison, in China.

Professor Wang then turned to a more serious topic on the history of legal systems in China. He discussed the unique features of the ancient Chinese legal system, which emphasizes criminal law, a way for the ruler rule its subjects. In the dynastic times, rites, “Li” (礼), is more important than law. The picture above shows the entrance of “ya men”  (衙门), the traditional criminal law court and prison, in China. The characters above read, “natural law, national law, humanity”.

Professor Wang summarized the more recent changes in the Chinese legal system as from nothing to something and perhaps one day to everything. Thanks to the demand of China’s economic rise, the commercial law in China is far more developed than some aspects of the legal system. Moreover, Professor Wang demystified certain aspects of Chinese legal and political system. For instance, China is a socialist not a communist or capitalist country contrary to some popular or academic opinions.

During the Q&A session, Professor Wang answered a wide range of questions posed by the audience. In response to student question on what Canadian law students and lawyers-to-be could do with knowledge of and interests in legal changes in China, Professor Wang referred to Professor Betty Mayfoon Ho (1948-2010), who obtained a L.L.B. from the University of Toronto in 1977 and began teaching in the University of HongKong in 1988 and Tsinghua University Law School in 2002. Professor Ho was heavily involved with the development of the rule of law in China. Professor Wang encouraged the students to take advantage of the exchange opportunities in China and practice or teach in China if it is where their passions lead.

Professor Wang answers questions from the students

Asia Law Society University of Toronto

The Asia Law Society (ALS) provides a forum for students of all backgrounds to further their interests in legal development in Asia as well as legal issues relevant to the Asian Canadian community.  We pursue these goals by engaging in a variety of initiatives and partnerships in order to benefit our membership body.  This past academic year, ALS began our partnership with the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL), which provides educational, networking and mentorship opportunities to students. Next year, we will host the 9th Asian Canadian Law Students Conference in collaboration with Asian Law Society of Osgoode (ALSO).

Executive 2012-2013

President: Lin Cong

VP Events: Bobby Leung

VP External: Vince Wong

VP Finance: Mary Phan

1L Representatives: Ivan Lum, Cindy Yi

If you are interested in joining our mailing list, or if you have questions or ideas, please feel free to contact us via utlaw.als@gmail.com.

Also, please feel free to join our facebook page.