Deepa is the founder and Managing Director of Tailor Law Professional Corporation. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and a law degree from the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.
Deepa is passionate about helping people with their legal problems. She founded Tailor Law with a view to providing accessible and high-quality legal services to her community. The team at Tailor Law embraces a strong service philosophy and a commitment to clients.
In her spare time, Deepa served on the board of directors for Many Feathers, a non-profit which focuses on creating local community spaces focused on food security in urban and rural settings across Canada. She also spends her time mentoring the next generation of law students through the Women’s Legal Mentorship Program and as a guest speaker at the University of Ottawa’s Business of Law class.
1. How did you get involved in your current area of practice?
My current area of practice is reflective of my prior work experience before I opened my practice. I articled at a full service law firm and had exposure to multiple areas of law. I knew that if I were to start my own business I would want to do the same.
2. What qualities and/or skills are important for leaders?
Strong communication skills are important for leaders of organizations. Not only would you need to be able to clearly communicate instructions for work assignments to others you also need to communicate your vision and passion for your organization. As a leader, your words have the power to motivate people towards a common goal. Leaders need to be able to communicate their messages clearly to their teams.
3. What qualities and/or skills do you look for in a junior?
I’m a firm believer in hiring for attitude and training for aptitude. I hire individuals who have a positive attitude and demonstrate an eagerness and desire to learn. In addition, hiring managers value individuals who are resourceful. You shouldn’t be asking a question that you can easily look up the answer to or find a precedent for. Resourcefulness is key.
4. What advice would you give a young woman starting her practice?
Talk to others who have already been in practice for some time about the challenges they have faced and seek their advice. Work with bookkeepers who have significant experience doing bookkeeping for law firms so that your records are LSO Compliant. Consider what your elevator pitch is going to be and what you would say to a client who asks why they should hire you. Build relationships with more senior practitioners so that you can reach out to someone if you encounter issues with one of your files and have a question.
5. What advice would you give a mid-level junior looking to advance her career?
Consider what type of firm environment you want to be in long term. Do you see yourself as a future partner in the firm you are currently working at? If you are working in-house, what position do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
6. What can we do to address the continued attrition of women in law?
The legal profession needs a cultural shift. Decision makers in law firms need to recognize that there is value in providing flexible work arrangements to their staff. We have the technology to facilitate remote work arrangements where lawyers can complete their work from wherever they choose. In my view, the cultural shift will begin when our profession has more women in positions of power within their respective firms and organizations.
7. If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you were starting out in law, what would it be?
You should be certain that you understand what lawyers do for a living prior to going to law school. Law school is an expensive endeavour. You should be sure that the legal industry is a field in which you want to enter. You should also be aware of what the legal job market comprises of. Most lawyers in Ontario work as sole practitioners and lawyers in small law firms. If you are unsure, ask to shadow a lawyer in a local law firm so that you understand what the job entails.
8. Is there anything else (advice, an interesting experience, tips, etc.) that you would like to share with our members?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
This post is part of YWL's Managing Partner Series. This series features Q&A-style blog posts where women managing partners from small, mid-sized and large law firms answer questions about their path to success and share their advice for young women in law.