The Iranian-Canadian community in Ontario just got better enabled after the launch of the Iranian Legal Professionals of Ontario (ILPO) last Thursday.
Law students and professionals alongside some members of the Iranian-Canadian community filled the Sheraton hotel’s Pinnacle room in downtown Toronto to celebrate the launch.
The organization will provide mentoring for law students while building a network within the Iranian-Canadian legal community and also establishing connections to other law associations.
The organization’s mandate is to “build, maintain and strengthen a network of Iranian legal professionals consisting of lawyers, paralegals and law clerks and especially law students who soon will be lawyers, and to provide its members with mentorship opportunities and assistance at the various stages of their careers” said co-founder Behrouz Amouzgar in his opening remarks.
ILPO founders Behrouz Amouzgar, Atoosa Mahdavian and Babak Nahiddi started the organization a few months ago to include only lawyers and noticed the need to include paralegals and law clerks to the network.
“We decided to broaden the scope of the organization to include paralegals and law clerks because down the road we all work with each other closely,” said Amouzgar.
Amouzgar also said that the organization is extending their reach to the six Ontario law schools by urging Iranian-Canadian law students to start branches of the ILPO on campuses.
“We want to make sure that whenever anyone hears the term “Iranian lawyer”, they are reminded of a strong network in Ontario and they know that this person comes with a lot of support,” Amouzgar told Salam Toronto on the sidelines of the event.
Current Richmond Hill MPP Reza Moridi was in attendance and said the association responds to the need for an organization that represents law professionals in all three fields.
“We can come out and say to our fellow Canadians that we Iranians are also active in the legal practice,” he told Salam Toronto. “That shows one of the elements of the strength of our community in Ontario.”
Moridi said many in attendance reached out to him for advice on how to enter politics and lightheartedly responded in his speech by urging them to volunteer for him.
“Hopefully in the future we will have a politicians association,” said Moridi, adding that many politicians start their careers by practicing law.
Windsor law school graduate and current litigation lawyer Esmaeil Mehrabi was in attendance and said the organization was much needed.
“You go to the other communities such as the Chinese or Indians, they always had an organization and were always mentoring students,” Mehrabi told Salam Toronto, adding that he noticed the growing Iranian law students at Windsor. “We never had this in our community.”
Representatives from the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, Tirgan Iranian Festival, Iranian Canadian Congress, Shabeh Jomeh Networking Organization, Iranian-Canadian Network, Canadian Society of Iranian Engineers and Architects (MOHANDES), Toronto Iranians Community Group, West Asia Council, Iranian Queer Organization, Iranian Women’s Organization of Ontario, Iranian Canadian Builders’ Association, IC Youth and Farvardin Cultural Centre were also present.
For more information on the ILPO, visit www.ilpo.ca.