Storyteller Sa'd brings the law to the people
By AdvocateDaily.com Staff
Inside and outside the courtroom, Toronto criminal and landlord/tenant lawyer Caryma Sa’d is a storyteller.
“As an advocate, your job is essentially to pinpoint your clients' interests, and determine how best to convey their needs to the person making the decision,” she says.
“I do my best to be a good listener. When people come to see a lawyer, it’s often as a last resort. Putting your finger on the legal issues is one part of your task, but often there are other drivers that must be identified,” Sa’d explains. “Staying attentive to the needs, concerns and worries of your client, makes it easier to ascertain what course of action will work best for everyone.
“Such inquiries frequently result in a compromise or a settlement, where clients retain some measure of control over the outcome. Sometimes litigation is unavoidable, which is really a roll of the dice. And I’m fortunate to have people who are willing to let me roll for them,” she adds.
Without a family history in the law, Sa’d says her interest in the profession wasn’t stirred until an undergraduate trip as part of her international development and globalization course at the University of Ottawa, which saw her placed with a human rights law firm in India.
“I’d never had occasion to step into a law firm, so this was my first exposure to lawyers,” Sa’d says. “India has a robust Constitutional regime in terms of the rights that people are entitled to, and the firm made the most of that legal framework to do a number of cool and precedent-setting things.
“Seeing the law used as a tool for social justice was fascinating. It showed me that understanding the rules of the game puts you in a better position to effect change,” she adds.
Since her own call to the bar in Ontario in 2016, Sa’d has done her best to continue bridging the gap between the law and the general public with her podcast series Cool Your Head, aimed at breaking down the jargon of criminal law. She is also in the process of developing a YouTube series exploring landlord and tenant law, a growing niche in her practice.
“It examines some of the most common questions from both a landlord and tenant perspective,” Sa’d says. “I believe making information accessible to people is one of the responsibilities lawyers have, and one of my strengths is explaining things in a way ordinary folks can understand.
“Hopefully it’s helpful in terms of getting people to think about their rights and obligations, and prompt them to seek legal advice when things go wrong. Although the Landlord and Tenant Board is designed to be friendly to self-represented parties, it can still be an onerous task to bring forward or defend an application on your own,” she adds.
A number of Sa’d’s cases touch on the intersection of tenant rights and cannabis law, an area that’s set to explode once recreational use of the drug is legalized later this year.
“Legalization will create many opportunities to shape the law, which is an exciting prospect,” she says.