Michael Ford
Criminal, Constitutional

Annamaria Enenajor: a practice rooted in service

Recognized for her legal work and dedication to helping those in need, Toronto criminal lawyer Annamaria Enenajor’s career is rooted in her desire to be of service to her clients. 

Her practice at Ruby & Shiller Barristers focuses on criminal and constitutional law.

“This is where I think peoples’ lives confront the power of their state most acutely,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com. “I love how this kind of work focuses on fighting for people and their rights — liberty, privacy, fairness. The stakes are always high.”

Prior to joining Ruby & Shiller, Enenajor practised litigation for two years in New York City for a large international law firm where she focused on government enforcement actions and internal investigations into allegations of corruption and bribery. She also successfully represented asylum seekers and staffed a low-income legal clinic for students in the South Bronx. 

The New York Legal Aid Society awarded her a 2014 Pro Bono Publico Award for her part in bringing an unprecedented civil rights class action against New York City to stop the use of excessive force against inmates at Rikers Island and other New York City jails. 

She is a passionate advocate for those who need legal representation.

But Enenajor didn’t always intend to practise law. She initially considered pursuing a profession in academia or international development. 

She first studied international relations and Christianity and culture at the University of Toronto, where she was a Loran Scholar and graduated with the Ian Drummond Memorial Prize for best performance by a student studying international relations as a major. She continues to give back to the Loran Scholars Foundation as an annual donor.

In 2007, Enenajor received a Masters of Science in forced migration from Oxford University and worked in New Delhi for the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre, where she monitored the rights of refugees in India.

It was there that her focus shifted to law.

“It was during that time that I really came to see that in order to do advocacy work around refugee protection or any other system that is essentially a legal construct, you need to have an understanding of the law,” she says. “Having a sense that I wanted to advocate on behalf of people led me to want to study law and to have that as a career.”

She returned to Canada to attend law school and graduated from McGill Faculty of Law as the Principal David L. Johnston Gold Medalist with both civil and common law degrees. While attending law school, she received numerous awards, including prizes for the highest standing in jurisprudence, evidence and public international law. She was also on the dean's honour list.

Enenajor served as vice-president of the Black Law Students’ Association of McGill and worked as a legal researcher at the McGill International Criminal Justice Clinic.

She speaks English, French and Slovak.

After graduating from law school, Enenajor clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada for Justice Marie Deschamps and Justice Richard Wagner from 2012 to 2013.

Soon after, Enenajor moved to the U.S. but returned to Canada to continue her legal career out of a desire to give back to her home country.

“A country’s legal system is expressive of its history and its values. While American law is interesting, I felt more drawn to the way important legal questions were being asked and answered in Canada,” she says. “I believe I can make a meaningful contribution here in Canada and that’s why I came back home.”


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