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Through hard work and a desire to help, Faculty of Law graduate Hardeep Suri [JD/2023] (left) made a connection with scholarship donor Jordan Donich (right), which led to his contributions to an access to justice tool.

Staying connected leads to a chance to help out

Faculty of Law graduate Hardeep Suri contributes to Toronto lawyer’s access to justice endeavour

August 3, 2023 — 

Hard work and hope that his actions could contribute toward bettering his community were factors that motivated Hardeep Suri [JD/2023] to apply for the Donich Entrepreneurial Scholarship in November, 2021. That small step in applying and then keeping in contact with the Scholarship’s donor and Donich Law firm principal Jordan Donich, led to an opportunity to help develop an online research assistant designed to improve access to justice.

Offered annually by Toronto-based Donich Law Professional Corporation, the Scholarship’s application information emphasises that it is to be given to a student who demonstrates the firm’s own core values of hard work, perseverance and dedication to customer service. When Suri won the award, he stayed in contact with Donich through LinkedIn, who thought of him when developing the online tool. “He has always made an effort to do more than the minimum,” said Donich. “I think that’s the difference, those who are willing to make ongoing investments in themselves and others around them, will attract more opportunity and be rewarded.”

At the time he received the Scholarship, Suri reflected that his parents who moved to Canada in the early 1990s started their life from very little, and set a strong example for their children. “After my siblings and I were born, we witnessed firsthand what hard work, determination, and generosity was, but more importantly, why it was necessary to have these values to be successful,” he said.

Even though the Toronto firm specializes in criminal defence, professional regulation and civil litigation, and Suri is articling at Taylor McCaffrey LLP with a focus on business law, the Robson Hall alum said he was happy to work with Donich when the busy lawyer reached out to him.

The firm was developing Law Newbie a free research assistant that answers questions about criminal law. The app is intended to help users understand basic to more complex issues such as the process of being charged, search warrants, bail hearings, attending court and pleading guilty. This helps and guides the public through legal matters, while ensuring that lawyers can provide efficient services to their clients. As Suri explained, the app does not provide legal advice nor does it act as a substitute for a lawyer.

Other past recipients of the Donich Entrepreneurial Scholarship also contributed to the app’s development. Suri explained that he, like them, completed research that would be integrated into the Law Newbie website. “The goal here was to make legal information as user friendly and accessible as possible. It’s important to reiterate that despite our technological advances, humans are more likely than not still needed to supply the public with reliable information. It has been my understanding while researching, that technology is not at a level where it can give specific jurisdictional answers on its own. I am glad I was chosen to work on this project and hope that access to legal services does eventually become easier for the general public.”

Beyond winning a scholarship, Suri is glad to have had the opportunity to actually work for and learn from his scholarship’s donor. “Working with Jordan Donich has been a very pleasant and educational experience,” he said. “From my initial exchanges with Jordan, to sharing our professional updates online, and to now re-connecting this summer, I saw him as an inspirational individual, who despite working in a different area of law (and in a different province), showcased a work ethic I strived to emulate. His efforts and the firm’s dedication to helping society is what sparked my interest in applying to the scholarship and to now working with him.” 

The 2022 winner of the Donich Entrepreneurial Scholarship was University of Manitoba law graduate Kennedy Pinette [JD/2023], currently articling at MLT Aikins. Applications for the 2023 award are now being accepted until November 30.


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