Three former counsel at the Department of Justice discuss what practicing at the DOJ is like vs. private practice.
Jennifer Dagsvik worked as Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice from 2007 – 2017, and now is a Lecturer at Immigration and Refugee Law at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law in Thunder Bay, and also a Director at the Newcomer Legal Clinic there.
Nalini Reddy worked as a Lawyer at the Department of Justice from 1999 to 2017. She is currently an Associate at Gindin Segal Law in Winnipeg.
Rafeena Rashid worked as a Lawyer at the Department of Justice in the Immigration Division from 2010 to 2016. She is a Partner and Co-founder of Rashid Urosevic LLP, where she practices immigration law full-time.
– Why they joined and eventually left DOJ
– What they liked most about DOJ and what they liked less
– The DOJ interview process
– When a DOJ lawyer’s personal opinion about a case is different from their client’s.
– Things it would be helpful for private practice to know about DOJ.
– Things it would be helpful for DOJ to understand about private practice.
– The training at DOJ.
– Ways private bar counsel interact with DOJ.
– Challenges being a female lawyer.
– Are DOJ and private practice on an equal playing field?
– How hard is it to transition from DOJ to private practice?
– Work life balance and families
Peter Scarrow practiced Canadian immigration law from 1981 – 1991, opening the Taiwanese representative office for a prominent Vancouver law firm.
We discuss what practicing high net worth immigration from Taiwan and China was like in the 1980s and early 1990s, ghost consultant fraud, tax avoidance, and being a private banker vs. immigration lawyer (Peter did both).
David Thomas practiced immigration law from 1987 – 2014, when he was appointed Chairperson of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. During his career he developed a large investor clientele from South Korea, ran to be a Member of Parliament, and started a charity that delivered vitamins to North Korea.
3:00 – The start of Dave’s career practicing immigration law both at a large firm and then starting his own firm.
6:00 – Practicing immigration law in the 1990s.
13:00 – Do immigration lawyers travel less than they do now, reduced communication with IRCC and other changes in the practice.
18:00 – Things learned about the bureaucracy as the head of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
32:00 – Running for federal office
36:00 – Would David recommend immigration law? Is it becoming less fun?
44:00 – Starting a charity that delivered vitamins to North Korea.
51:00 – Comparing practicing immigration to the human rights tribunal.
1:02 – What the future holds.
A discussion of misrepresentation, including its application, consequences, the innocent mistake defense, failing to disclose past visa refusals, the difference between insufficient evidence and misrepresentation, and going after low hanging fruit.