Vanessa Narsingh is a realist with a conscience. She is rich in family and she wants others to be too. She has a deep commitment to improving the lives of others. Her cheerful confidence in herself is why she is leaving a firm, a good salary and her comfort zone and starting her own law practice with the mentorship of an experienced lawyer.
I grew up reading a lot of newspapers. I was listening to the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. I love soca music. We had a fun and busy household. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and my dad is a self-employed real estate agent. My grandparents lived with us too. There was a lot of love and support in the home. My parents immigrated from Guyana 30 plus years ago and sacrificed their dreams for ours. They came with nothing. They came here so that my younger brother and I could have a better life. I am the first lawyer in my family and the first person to get a university degree.
The University of Birmingham in Birmingham, England.
I arrived with two suitcases and I didn’t have a place to live. It was a mission. I remember my mom packing my favourite homemade food that I would take on the plane and I would freeze it. This gave me a lot of comfort. Yet, I felt like a second-class citizen when I came back to Canada because I did my schooling in the UK. The LPP is revolutionary. It instilled confidence in me and taught me how to start my own business. My dad always says, “Don’t let anyone boss you around.” So, I guess it’s fitting that I am starting my own family law practice.
Money was an inspiration. I am a petite person with a big voice. Being a lawyer put me in the landscape to speak on behalf of women and advocate for those vulnerable individuals who may otherwise have just accepted defeat.
I completed my LPP work placement at GA Law Professional Corporation. The organization predominantly did Real Estate law including purchase, sale and refinancing transactions. However, we also worked in Wills and Estates, Business and Commercial Law.
There was one assignment where we had to conduct a title search for a Real Estate file to prepare the Requisition Letter for the clients, who were purchasers in the transaction. Myself and two firm members got together and had 3 laptops up and running – one of us was watching the training video, one of us had Google and multiple learning pages up and the other with the actual assignment. It was a very burdensome assignment to say the least. The irony was that I actually ended up doing similar work in my work placement and I loved it.
I gained a repertoire of tools and skills during my LPP experience. One of the most valuable skills was the confidence in my ability to manage and guide a client. For me, knowledge is one thing but practice is another. I personally feel that to be an effective and powerful lawyer, one should know how to deal with a client because they come in all shapes and sizes, from soft and docile to eager and aggressive. Further, the extensive networking opportunities and resources have been tremendous. I have continued to be a member of the Ontario Bar Association and have had the opportunity to be a judge for a high school mock trial tournament.
Just do it. The profession of law has radically transformed and it is no longer about working for a huge firm. For me, I want to be my own boss and work hours that allow me to have a great life outside of my legal career. The LPP bestowed that opportunity on me by teaching me how to run a file from start to finish, giving me the confidence to deal with clients, and the tools and know-how to run my own business.
Participating in the LPP was the best decision in my path to becoming a lawyer. I got called to the bar sooner and it enabled me to determine which areas of law I want to practice. Thanks LPP, for giving me the tools and resources to create the possibility of being the type of lawyer I want to be: valuing balance, having it all and living a fulfilling and meaningful life.