Accounting for Law

Elham Jamshidi a passionate criminal litigator, advocate

Toronto criminal lawyer Elham Jamshidi is an impassioned litigator with extensive trial experience, an advocate who ensures accused individuals of all backgrounds receive fair representation. 

Jamshidi, of Jamshidi & Associates, a downtown Toronto boutique litigation firm that focuses on criminal law, is also hired by civil litigators to assist in the cross-examination of witnesses during discovery.

She is fluent in Farsi and is member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.

Jamshidi was admitted to the Ontario bar in 2004 after graduating from Queen’s University with her law degree in 2003 and working with Hinkson Sachak McLeod since 2000. Prior to that, she completed a bachelor of arts (honours) in psychology from York University. 

She knew since she was in high school that she wanted to become a lawyer to help those who are often the most vulnerable in society and it was really her own family history that inspired her to enter the profession. 

She was born in Iran, but her family was forced to flee the country when she was a toddler. Her father had been imprisoned because of religous persecution during the revolution of the early 1980s. 

Jamshidi, her parents and two older brothers left their home in the middle of the night and escaped through the mountains of Iran and travelled through Pakistan, where the family stayed for about one year before making their way to Canada as refugees. 

She remembers little about the journey to Pakistan except that they had to hide as a train passed by at one point.

“My parents had three young children and I was strapped onto my dad’s back and off we went,” she says. “We left everything behind — there were dishes in the sink — when we fled Iran.”

The family arrived in Canada unable to speak English and had to start a whole new life for themselves. 

“We lived with my uncle in Oshawa for one year and then we came to Toronto,” she says. 

Jamshidi says her father — and his imprisonment in Iran as the victim of religious persecution — taught her the importance of having a fair judicial system and that prompted her to work in law.

Initially, she wanted to be a Crown attorney, but after starting to work for a criminal law firm, she fell in love with being a criminal defence lawyer. 

A strong believer in giving back to her community, she now mentors other lawyers, law students and high school students about advocacy and criminal law. She has served as a judge for mock trials and as an articling principal, and she frequently advises new and future legal professionals. 

In addition to her legal volunteer work, Jamshidi assists local impoverished youth.

“I think it’s important to emphasize for the younger generation the importance of staying in school, staying focused and not being afraid of hard work,” she says. 

Jamshidi says criminal law is a good fit for her because of a desire to help people who find themselves in desperate situations before the courts and are fighting for their rights and freedom.

"I love the idea of giving people a second chance,” she says. “Whatever the circumstances of the accused, I feel that I can really help them.

"I represent the person, not the crime.”


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