SOAR Women in Leadership: Women Leaders are Books of Wisdom
SOAR Women in Leadership: Women Leaders are Books of Wisdom
May Cheng started her legal career as a litigator in intellectual property at a full service firm, expanding her expertise to trademark prosecution and developing a practice focused on brand protection and enforcement. She has spent over 25 years working for clients across a wide variety of industries, but particularly in retail, travel, fashion and food – all sectors that she happens to especially enjoy.
May’s litigation experience includes patent, trademark and copyright infringement cases, as well as expungement and injunction cases in the federal and provincial courts. Over the course of her decades long legal career, she worked at a succession of large Bay Street firms before finding a Bay Street firm that truly reflects her core values of diversity and inclusion, where she can focus on what she loves most: working with forward-thinking and brilliant legal professionals who prioritize having fun and living fulfilling lives while also practicing law and focusing on the best interests of clients.
While enjoying a reputation as a “fearless” advocate, May’s goal is to arrive at the best business solution for her clients, which is often not going to be achieved through protracted litigation. She prides herself on finding creative solutions to complex problems and having a deeper understanding of the underlying goals from nurturing long term relationships with her clients. Career highlights include:
- Acting for DC Comics’ “SUPERMAN” in suing Russell Oliver for trademark and copyright infringement in television advertisements for “CASHMAN”, where Mr. Oliver dressed in the classic blue leotard and red cape.
- Obtaining the first and only Anton Piller Order for the STAR WARS intellectual properties on behalf of Lucasfilm Ltd.
- Successfully renewing and enforcing an Anton Piller Order each year for the past 20 years on behalf of the famous luxury brand BOSS HUGO BOSS.
- Enforcing Anton Piller Orders to seize counterfeit food products, including rice and ginseng, in the Greater Toronto Area.
- Obtaining a summary judgment on behalf of AREVA against Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. that set the high water mark for the confusion test in trademark cases, where the judge held that the test for confusion in the nuclear industry was not “moron in a hurry” like Homer Simpson.
- Being retained as a consultant to rewrite the entire suite of intellectual property laws for the Government of the Bahamas and then drafting the regulations a few years later, so that the country could comply with the TRIPS agreement and be admitted to the World Trade Organization.
- Obtaining an interlocutory injunction and final judgment against a grey market seller misrepresenting itself as an authorized distributor of Asian food products.
Shalini Konanur is a lawyer and the Executive Director of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario. She studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 2000. Since then she has worked exclusively in Ontario’s legal aid clinic system in rural and urban settings and for the past 15 year at a clinic that works entirely within racialized communities. Shalini works directly with clients and has served thousands of low-income clients in her 20+ years in the clinic system. In addition, she also has a very active portfolio of law reform, legal education, and community development projects to address the systemic issues that South Asian and other racialized communities face. Shalini is a proud member of the Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change Network, which advocates on the impact of racism on all life outcomes for racialized people in Canada. She is also a leading expert in Canada on forced marriage and gender-based violence in different South Asian communities. Shalini is a Bencher at the Law Society of Ontario, sits on the provinces Domestic Violence Death Review Panel, sits on the Board of Governors of the Law Commission of Ontario, and is the Board Chair of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights (formerly Planned Parenthood Canada). She has spearheaded SALCO’s test case work at all levels of court up to the Supreme Court of Canada challenging discrimination based on the intersections of race, gender identity, faith, immigration status, and socio-economic status. She has also had the privilege of appearing before the United Nations in its reviews of Canada’s record on human rights. Shalini’s work has been recognized with multiple awards including from the Ontario Bar Association, the South Asian Bar Association, and the Province of Ontario. At its core, Shalini’s work focuses the impact racism and discrimination on low-income racialized people in Canada.
Madam Justice Avvy Yao-Yao Go has 30 years of advocacy and litigation experience on behalf of low-income racialized clients, mostly through her role as Clinic Director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. As a first-generation Canadian of Chinese descent, Justice Go devoted the bulk of her legal career to breaking down barriers for marginalized groups, while challenging long- standing Canadian issues including systemic racism and other forms of discrimination within the legal system.
Justice Go received her B.A. from University of Waterloo, her LL.B. from University of Toronto, and her LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1991. In 2021, Justice Go became the first Chinese Canadian to be appointed to the Federal Court. She received an Honourary Doctorate from Toronto Metropolitan University in June 2022.
Justice of the Peace Marisha Roman was called to the bar in 1996. Prior to her appointment as a Justice of the Peace in June 2021, Marisha’s career ranged from research counsel to policy counsel to workplace investigator and adjudicator.
Until 2021, she was investigation counsel for the Ontario Civilian Police Commission at Tribunals Ontario. Before that, she served as an adjudicator on the Child and Family Services Review Board and Custody Review Board. Until 2016, she was the Aboriginal initiatives and policy counsel at the Law Society of Ontario and served as the Aboriginal outreach lead for CIBC Central Services until 2004. Marisha managed her own research practice and was a program Director with the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation between 1996 and 2003.
Marisha has been an active volunteer throughout her career, joining the board of directors for Aboriginal Legal Services when she was still a law student. She remained an elected board member at ALS for 22 years. She was also a member of Legal Aid Ontario’s Indigenous advisory committee. Marisha’s other area of volunteer interest is in sport. She was an elected board director with Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) between 2017 and 2021 and was appointed a director of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada through an Order-in-Council process in 2019. Marisha holds an undergraduate degree in English Literature (Victoria College) and a degree in law from the University of Toronto. As a Justice of the Peace, she presides in criminal court (Ontario Court of Justice) and Provincial Offences Court in Toronto.
Jay Sengupta is a mediator and adjudicator who has been a neutral for over 15 years. In addition to her private dispute resolution practice, she holds appointments with the Law Society Tribunal, the Public Service Grievance Board (PSGB), the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB external adjudicator roster), the NWT Human Rights Adjudication Panel (HRAP) and the inaugural discipline committee of the College of Patent Agents & Trademark Agents (CPATA).
Prior to launching her private mediation and arbitration practice, Jay served as a full-time Vice-chair with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) for 10 years, where she was cross appointed to the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB), the Custody Review Board (CRB) and the Special Education Tribunal (OSET). Jay began her career as a lawyer in Ontario’s community legal clinic movement.
Ayumi Bailly has held a variety of executive roles in both the provincial government and the non-profit sector. She started her career with the goal of saving the planet with her newly minted graduate degree in environmental studies. Instead, she found herself as Registrar for a number of Ontario tribunals before accepting roles at the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Labour, and Management Board Secretariat. These unique roles all capitalized on her extensive knowledge of agency governance, public sector accountability, and ethics. More recent roles have expanded her expertise and skills into occupational health and safety, stakeholder relations, public legal information and education, and currently pay equity. On her return to the tribunal sector, Ayumi has been honoured to serve on the board of the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators.
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