Meet Bayly Guslits, 35, partner at Harrison Pensa LLP and one of our 20 Under 40 Class of 2023 recipients
AS A CHILD, Bayly Guslits carried around a briefcase and made her own business cards — probably a pretty good indicator of the successful future she was headed for as partner with the family law practice group at Harrison Pensa LLP. Representing clients in all matters related to separation and divorce, custody and support, she is a fierce advocate for equity and equality in the family law system, and a passionate voice for of our most vulnerable populations in the family law context.
What do you consider your biggest career accomplishment?
Every time I help to reunite a parent with a child after a long absence of contact, I consider that a big achievement. And being named a partner at Harrison Pensa LLP has been one my greatest career achievement to date, as it represented a vote of confidence from my colleagues.
What about your biggest obstacle?
I have maintained a commitment to continuing to provide services to low-income individuals through Legal Aid Ontario. This has meant having to work more hours than otherwise, but it is important work for our justice system to function.
What’s left for you, professionally or personally?
I have a few niche subject areas that I am passionate about, such as youth mental health, advocacy for family violence survivors and assisting Indigenous families involved in the child welfare system. There is still much work to do in these areas. Each case in which I have the privilege of helping a family heal or gain access to much-needed services, I consider a professional victory. Personally, my main goal for the next five years is getting my teen and pre-teen through high school. Wish me luck!
If you weren’t a lawyer, what field would you be in?
I wanted to be a lawyer from a very young age, so it’s hard to imagine doing anything else. For brief moments as a kid, watching CNN with my grandfather, I thought I might become an overseas news correspondent, like Anderson Cooper or Christiane Amanpour. More likely, I would be in some form of social service or government policy career.
You’re taking an old friend out to eat in London – where to?
Probably Plant Matter, because I’m a vegetarian and also love sitting on the patio in Wortley Village during the summer, watching people and dogs walking by. I wish Bertoldi’s was still around, because it was right in the heart of downtown, but Dolcetto is a nice spot with great food and an excellent wine list! Interview by Kieran Delamont