Meet Rasha El-Tawil, 38, partner and personal injury and litigation lawyer with Siskinds LLP and one of our 20 Under 40 Class of 2020 recipients
OVERCOMING BARRIERS THAT come with being a person of colour, a woman, a mother and a refugee/immigrant, Rasha El-Tawil of Siskinds LLP continually employs her professional success to pave the way for other women and minorities to achieve what may seem impossible to them.
What’s been your biggest career achievement?
My trial advocacy and appellate work. In particular, I am most proud of my successful involvement in a lengthy trial for a client who was catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle collision. After a complex and protracted trial, the jury returned a verdict in favour of our client of approximately $3.5 million dollars.
What about your biggest obstacle?
My biggest obstacle simultaneously serves as one of my greatest assets, namely my multifaceted and multi-layered identity. I am a woman, mother, wife, person of colour, immigrant, Muslim, Canadian, Palestinian, Arab and minority. These identities represent the story of who I am and how I see the world.
I came to Canada with my family as a child seeking refuge from war. My story is one of new beginnings and new chapters. A story of life and loss, one of new homes and ones escaped. A story of my family halfway across the world and my family here. A story of perseverance in the face of adversity.
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What has Covid-19 taught you about yourself, and your work?
Life’s most valued gifts are often the ones we are likely to take most for granted. The small things that, in retrospect, mean everything. This pandemic has reinforced that, often, the seemingly small blessings in our life are anything but minor, but rather where our true joy and happiness are found.
Also, in no particular order: Great wifi is both a luxury and necessity. Children appear to be magnetically attracted to business Zoom calls. I have an over-inflated sense of my ability to teach elementary school math to an eight-year-old. And my husband is on the verge of arranging an Amazon-inspired intervention due to the number of boxes that arrive at our front door on a weekly basis.
What music have you been listening to these days?
Beyonce is always on the playlist.
Chocolate and top-tier coffee — although that’s more of a necessity. Interview by Kieran Delamont