Atrisha Lewis is a 2013 call and a 2018 Precedent Setter award winner. In addition to running a busy Bay Street trial practice, she is a columnist for legal publications, a frequent speaker on advancing diversity and inclusion, a law teacher and moot coach. Atrisha recently completed a one-year Civic Action Fellowship, which deepened her appreciation for our responsibility as lawyers to invest in the leadership of their own profession. For more information on her experience, view her CV below.
McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto
6th Litigation Associate (Called to the Bar in Ontario in 2013)
I am honoured to have spent my career at McCarthy Tétrault, where I summered and articled and spent my last six years of practice.
I represent clients involved in complex litigation, including commercial disputes, medical negligence lawsuits, and administrative law matters. I have appeared before all levels of Court in Ontario, the Federal Court, and the Federal Court of Appeal. I have acted as lead counsel on major commercial mandates. I have considerable trial experience, having been counsel in seven Superior Court Trials and one Federal Court Trial
I have developed a particular expertise in the post-secondary education sector, where I act both as a prosecutor on administrative tribunals and provide advice to adjudicators.
Diversity and Inclusion
Ensuring that our profession is reflective of our community is my passion and mandate.
I have committed to Diversity and Inclusion in a number of ways. I have written about this important issue. Three of my recent articles can be found here:
Within my firm, I am part of a special three-person taskforce on Diversity and Inclusion, where we launched a pilot collecting and reporting on the demographics of lawyers billing on client files and launched a diversity & inclusion award at McCarthy Tétrault LLP.
Within the broader legal profession, I along with Shara Roy have spearheaded a Commercial List User Committee subgroup with a mandate focusing on Diversity and Inclusion within the Commercial List.
Mentorship & Teaching
I have benefited extensively from wonderful mentorship and I strive to bring it forward.
At McCarthy, I have taught sessions/workshops to students and junior lawyers on e-mail management, practice management, and motions advocacy. I have been nominated for mentor of the year 16 times in the last six years.
At the University of Toronto, I have lectured on motions advocacy for the last four years. I have also lectured to students on a variety of other topics, including the life of lawyers. I am also the Faculty Advisor to the Grand Moot team.
Pro Bono Legal Work
I have a long commitment to Pro Bono Legal work. I have been lead counsel for a criminal appeal at the Ontario Court of Appeal. I have been counsel on 6 different summary conviction offence mandates, where I successfully resolved charges on favourable terms for clients, or successfully defended clients at trial. I have acted as counsel to individuals seeking refugee asylum.
I was honoured to be selected as 2018 Civic Action DiverseCity Fellow. The DiverseCity Fellow program is a highly sought-after leadership and skills development opportunity, which helps a select number of diversity and inclusion advocates in the Toronto Region to make meaningful change in their community. Last year, I collaborated with four fellows to develop an online, education platform on issues relating to affordable housing in the GTA.
I previously acted as a director with the Central Neighbourhood House (now The Neighbourhood Group), which is a 100 year old United Way agency with over 300 employees and an annual operating budget of $25M. I was a member of the Mergers Committee when Central Neighbourhood House acquired Neighbourhood Link, and doubled its size.
Honours and Awards
2018 Precedent Setter Award, Recognized by Precedent Magazine as a ‘precedent setting’ lawyer in my first 10 years of practice
2018 Nominee for Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada
2018 Arbor Award for outstanding volunteerism
2009- 2012 University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, Toronto
Juris Doctor with Honours
2012 Recipient of the Dean’s Key
Class of 1967 Prize for placing 3rd in third year
Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Professional Excellence Award
Represented the University of Toronto at the Jessup and Bowman Tax Moots
2005 - 2009 McGill University, Faculty of Management, Montreal
Bachelor of Commerce (Concentrations in Accounting, Global Strategy)
Graduated with Great Distinction
Canadian Millennium Scholar, Provincial Winner (2005-2009)
Represented McGill at international case competitions in Copenhagen and Hong Kong