Celebrating Diversity in the Alberta Legal Profession | Ronke Omorodion

This post is part of a series celebrating diversity and telling the stories of various members of the Alberta legal profession. If you, or someone you know, has an interesting story to share, please connect with us at [email protected].

 

We had the pleasure of recently meeting (over Zoom) with Ronke Omorodion of Donna Purcell QC Law in Calgary. As an internationally trained lawyer who came to Canada just before the onset of the global pandemic, Ronke shares below her story of why she became a lawyer, her move to Canada, and the motivations that propel her to continually pursue excellence. Her story is one of perseverance, dedication, and of sticking to a vision. We are honoured to share it with you and hope that it may inspire you, as it did us.

Background

At a young age, Ronke was inspired to practice law as a way of making an impact on her community and the larger world around her. After hearing the heartfelt and kind words spoken over her late mother, Ronke resolved to carry forward the vision of ‘living well’ and ‘living for others’ that her mother had so authentically woven into her life. Ronke decided to live her life in such a way that she too could positively impact the lives of those around her. This vision became her guidepost, and throughout the years, Ronke has embodied a growth mindset, dedicated herself to seeking excellence, and committed her work to helping others.

From Nigeria to Canada

Ronke began her practice of law in Nigeria where she focused primarily on corporate commercial work. With her desire to help build something that would last, she spent much of her time distilling complex legal issues and presenting novel solutions to small and medium sized business owners. She was known as the “entrepreneur’s lawyer” and thoroughly enjoyed her work in the corporate arena.

As with making any major move, it takes time and energy to become part of a community. For internationally trained lawyers coming to Canada, there are challenges with finding networking circles and gaining exposure to law firms to secure articles. For Ronke, this was compounded by the fact that the province was at the height of the global pandemic – with imposed lockdowns and people working from home – at the time of her search for articles. Despite many typical networking opportunities being taken off the table at the time, she set out to integrate into the fabric of the Alberta legal profession through virtual networking.

“It was a challenge at first finding people that could understand my story and relate to me; that could help me when I was searching for an articling position. You need to actively seek out spaces where you can meet and network with other lawyers. Generally, people are willing to help. They just need to first know who you are. The only way to introduce yourself is to find a way to get involved.”

Ronke notes that the online coffee sessions hosted by Assist were a great opportunity to network.

“You get to meet those who have gone before you and speak with experienced lawyers that can counsel you, motivate you, and ultimately serve as a reference for you. Through online networking at the coffee sessions, I was able to secure my articles.”

Motivations in Life and Law

Ronke is currently the Managing Lawyer at Donna Purcell QC Law’s Calgary office. In addition to her corporate commercial legal services, Ronke’s practice also encompasses wills and estates and real estate. When asked what motivates her, in life and in her practice, Ronke notes:

“My mum passed away when I was 18 years old and at her funeral ceremony, I heard lots of testimony of how she had touched people’s lives in different ways. This is when I decided that I wanted to be a phenomenal person. I made up my mind that I would positively impact the people around me in everything I do. I also want to make the world a better place for the sake of my son and the upcoming generation.”

Advice for Internationally Trained Lawyers Coming to Canada

Ronke’s advice to other internationally trained lawyers who are new to Canada is:

“It’s all about networking. You have to put yourself out there and seek opportunities to get involved. There are many people that would be happy to connect with you and offer you advice, but you need to take the first step and reach out.”

LESA wishes to thank Ronke for her time and for sharing her story with us.

If you are interested in additional resources to assist you in your networking endeavours, you may be interested in LESA’s complimentary on-demand program, “A Lawyer’s Guide To Effective Networking“.

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