Karmic duty drives Kotak to give back to his community
By Paul Russell, AdvocateDaily.com Contributor
Every year, Toronto personal injury and disability lawyer Nainesh Kotak hosts the Kotak Law Annual Appreciation Gala to show his appreciation to those around him and the wider community.
“I was brought up with the philosophy that if you are successful and gifted in some way, you have a karmic duty to give back to society,” says Kotak, principal of Kotak Personal Injury Law. “I live by that idea, and every January I host this event to acknowledge those who have helped me, and my firm, along the way.”
He tells AdvocateDaily.com that approximately 150 people attended this year’s gala, including fellow employees and their spouses, friends, family members, and various Peel Region politicians and civic leaders.
“I’m very fortunate to be living in a great community and to have success as an individual and as a lawyer,” Kotak says. “This gala is a way for me, my family and my firm to acknowledge those we work with and to thank those who contribute so much to our society.”
At every gala, community groups are feted and given cheques to further their work.
“This year we made a donation to the Peel Children’s Centre, which I’m passionate about as I sit on the board,” Kotak says. “This organization is so important because it saves lives and helps children deal with a wide range of issues.”
Another local organization, Spectra Community Support Services, was honoured for its work, which includes a multilingual 24-hour helpline for those contemplating suicide, support for those dealing with elder abuse, plus safety check-ins for seniors, ensuring that they are taking their medications, he says.
“I’m a big believer in Spectra’s work and am honoured to serve as vice-chair of its board of directors,” Kotak says. “They are a very important part of our community.”
The third group to receive recognition at the event was the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA).
Kotak, who serves as vice-chair of the long-term disability section of the association, says the OTLA group “advocates for victims of accidents, so they can receive the treatment and compensation they ought to receive.”
Expressing appreciation for the dozen or so staff members at his office is another important part of the gala, he says.
“We are a small firm, and I consider each and every person working there as part of my family,” Kotak says.
He says employees are all brought on stage and introduced to the audience.
“I talk a little bit about who they are, and why they are so important to our firm,” Kotak says. “The office is so busy that I don't really get that opportunity to give staff members the gratitude that they deserve, so I like to take the opportunity at this event to do just that.”
Entertainment at this year’s gala included local singers, as well as Dr. Draw, whose artistry with the electric violin is earning him an international following, he says.
“I just want to help them all get exposure,” Kotak says, describing Dr. Draw as a “unique talent whose music is adventurous, and much more lively than traditional violin playing.”
The firm’s charitable community involvement extends well beyond the gala, to include such events as the Kotak Law Military Appreciation Day.
“For the last four years, I have brought 1,000 military veterans and cadets to a Brampton Beast ECHL hockey game, with Don Cherry doing the ceremonial puck drop in recent years,” Kotak says. “No one has sacrificed more for our country than our soldiers and their families, so I want to pay tribute to them, and show them a good time at this game.”
Another charity he is passionate about is Wounded Warriors Canada, which provides aid and resources to those who come back from conflict with injuries, and well as helping out families who have lost loved ones in war.
“It’s an amazing organization, which I am so proud to support,” Kotak says. “They save lives, and really live out their motto, ‘Honour the Fallen, Help the Living.’”
Dignitaries at this year’s gala praised Kotak’s efforts to help others and improve his community.
“This guy is incredible,” says Brampton Councillor Jeff Bowman in the video recording of the gala. “Wherever there is a need, Nainesh Kotak is there.”
“It boggles my mind what he does for the community,” adds Dean McLeod, chair of the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame. “I just wish there were more people like him in all communities across Ontario.”