Employment & Labour

Varied life experience informs Phillips' employment law practice

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

Despite her relatively short time in practice, Toronto employment lawyer Amelia Phillips brings a lifetime’s worth of experience to her work.

Phillips, a lawyer with MacDonald & Associates, was initially called to the bar back in 2010, but left the practice soon after to focus on her matchmaking business, which evolved over the next few years into a bespoke online dating assistance service, designed to guide clients through the process of finding love on the internet.

According to Phillips, her outsider status actually gave her a leg up among the elite businesspeople, high-profile lawyers, and politicians she was helping to find a match for through her “white glove service.”

“Most matchmakers in Toronto and internationally start out as matchmakers, but I was a lawyer coming from Bay Street, which gave me a connection to our high-net-worth clients,” Phillips explains. “I think they trusted me a bit more because of that background.”

And she tells AdvocateDaily.com that the connections she made also helped smooth her transition back into practice when she decided to cash out of the dating company and return to the legal profession last year.

“I also learned a great deal about what it takes to run and market a small business,” Phillips adds.

Her interest in law was originally spurred during an undergraduate degree in which she studied criminology, and Phillips once thought she might practise criminal defence.

“When I got to law school, I realized it wasn’t what interested me, although I really did enjoy the advocacy piece, and public speaking of any kind, which pushed me towards civil litigation,” she says.

While studying for her juris doctor at the University of Western Ontario, Phillips edited professionally for The Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence, before completing her degree on exchange at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law.

After her selection to clerk at an international court, Phillips articled with Bay Street corporate law giant McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

Now the clients of her employment law practice, where she acts for both employers and employees in a variety of matters, reap the rewards of Phillip’s varied experience.

“I came from a defence background, so this has been my first taste of plaintiff-side work, but I think it’s good for those clients because I know how the defendants operate,” Phillips says of her mixed practice, which also includes a burgeoning niche in online defamation.

One recent case saw her achieve a precedent-setting injunction that forced a search engine to remove results at the heart of pending defamation litigation.

“It spills over into the employment law practice because one of the major effects of having things posted about you online is the impact it can have on your career prospects,” Phillips says.

Outside of the office and the courtroom, Phillips is active on the board of directors at Trails Youth Initiatives, a charity devoted to helping vulnerable youths realize their potential, and she has also completed a marathon.

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