Today we have the pleasure of learning from criminal defence lawyer and law firm founder Roots Gadhia. Roots has the best law firm name: Roots of Law! Read on for some tips and advice:
1. Tell me a little about your practice or business
Roots of Law is a Professional corporation that employs 3 and half lawyers (one to be called in June) and a legal assistant… all women. We have a dog and a new born baby that has been in the office since his birth. Part daycare doggie care and law firm we all get along well and work together on files as a team. Clients will meet each one of us at some point and have access to us 24/7. The team model is designed for mentorship and sanity. We enjoy working together and we also socialize together.
As a criminal defence firm with my 23 years of experience I have developed a loyal client base that refers clients and returns to us most of the time. We do everything from murders to guns and drugs robberies and sexual assaults. We have a system in place whereby we stay on top of disclosure requests, files and applications with constant client input in their files.
2. Why did you go to law school?
I wanted to be a lawyer from the age of 9. The decision to be defence counsel came during law school but the desire to work within the legal system came early when I realized the inequities that certain people experienced because of their race or heritage and I wanted to make changes that would be significant to someone's life. Be in the room if you want to be heard.
3. How did you get to where you are today? Design? Chance? Both?
Both. I never thought I would be a business woman and run my own firm. Learning that part of the practice was invigorating. Ensuring that my practice would grow and that I could mentor other lawyers over the years while still turning a profit and doing the type of work I set out to do was gratifying. I love this career path, it is exactly where I want to be. Not a single day is the same, I control my own schedule, the people in my practice are those that I want here and want to be here. I get to mentor young women and men and the rewards are far greater than just money… although I live a very comfortable lifestyle.
4. What is your most significant achievement? What are you proud of?
I am a good advocate for my client and a great mentor and employer. Right now I am still keeping my staff employed and we have worked around Covid to maintain client relationships. Each client we have represented has been treated with dignity and compassion and although not everyone goes on to turn their life around, those that do are my greatest accomplishments!
5. What are some key challenges, and more importantly, opportunities for women in law?
Finding a safe place. Women are constantly being bombarded with expectations and denigrated by men in a male dominated industry. Being with other women who are like minded ensures a working environment that they can grow and developed their skills. Our opportunities are boundless as long as there is an environment where we can flourish.
6. What advice would you give a woman starting her legal career?
Find a good mentor and taking a chance on yourself. Women play it safe too often and don’t always believe in themselves. Learn something new every year. One thing, a language an art, an instrument, computers…
Thank you Roots for participating in this series. I love your final tip. It is so important to keep learning, and it doesn't have to be law related. In fact it is probably better if it is isn't. Such a great reminder for me.
I started this blog series because I was tired of hearing about women leaving law and wanted to hear about women leading in law. The "Women Leading in Law" series focuses on good news stories and highlights amazing women succeeding in the legal profession. Each post includes the profiled lawyer's answers to six questions. Prepare to be inspired!
ICYMI - previous posts profiled the following amazing lawyers: Evelyn Ackah, Carrisa Tanzola, Sarah Leamon, Robin Parker, Lorin MacDonald, Karen Yamamoto, Victoria Crewe-Nelson, Lynne Vicars, Kemi Oduwole, Anne-Marie McElroy, Jennifer Gold, Jordana Goldlist, Megan Keenberg, Yadesha Satheaswaran, France Mahon, Sarah Molyneaux, Richa Sandill, Vivene Salmon, Kim Whaley, Alisia Grenville, Frances Wood, Maggie Wente, Anita Szigeti, Neha Chugh, Christy Allen & Nancy Houle, Suzie Seo, Kim Gale, Alexi Wood, Melissa McBain, Erin Best, Gillian Hnatiw, Melanie Sharman Rowand, Meg Chinelo Egbunonu, Lisa Jean Helps, Nathalie Godbout Q.C., Laurie Livingstone, Renatta Austin, Janis Criger, May Cheng, Nicole Chrolavicius, Charlene Theodore, Dyanoosh Youssefi, Shannon Salter, Bindu Cudjoe, Elliot Spears, Jessica Prince, Anu K. Sandhu, Claire Hatcher, Esi Codjoe, Kate Dewhirst, Jennifer Taylor, Rebecca Durcan, Atrisha Lewis, Vandana Sood, Kathryn Manning, Kim Hawkins, Kyla Lee, and Eva Chan.
Erin C. Cowling is a freelance litigator, researcher & writer at Cowling Legal Freelance and President and Founder of Flex Legal Network Inc., a network of freelance lawyers.