September 10, 2021

Who Fueled the Start Of Your Immigration Career?

Posted by Mario Bellissimo - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Since COVID-19 many of us cannot travel the way we used to, see people as often or like as we used to, so it got me thinking about the world of law and how challenging it must be for young lawyers beginning their careers. So much of what you learn from your mentors is when you work side by side under difficult and challenging deadlines to produce a result. COVID-19 has temporarily sanitized this experience for many.

As wonderful as Zoom is, it cannot make up for in-person learning, brainstorming on the fly and strategic discussions spilling into lunch and/or breaks. My hope is we can soon see a partial return because that was so critical to the formative years of my career, as were certain individuals. Excepting family and friends and work colleagues who, without none of what we have done at Bellissimo Law Group, would have been possible, there were a few individuals at or even before the start of my legal career who made the difference for me.

Before law school and my start in immigration law, two individuals were tremendous positive influences and support. Roy Merrens, my former university professor and now friend and the late Bruno M. Suppa, former Immigration Appeal Board Member as it was then called, the latter introduced the world of immigration law to me, and the former gave me insight into some of the tools, both academic and even more important the mental, to meet the challenges of university and then law school. Without their influence, I would not have become an immigration lawyer.

Then when I decided to venture out on my own, three other individuals were key to my progress. All of whom I met in the nineties. J. Norris Ormston is still proudly my colleague to this day. The late Cecil L. Rotenberg Q.C. with whom I travelled the legal world with up to and back from the Supreme Court and to everywhere in between. Then there was Alexander Dan Gheciu, who entrusted me with his clients at an early stage in my career, and we continue all these years later. Together we battled many legal challenges together at a time when running to the Great Library in Toronto, furious hand note-taking, pagers and typewriters were common features.

All of these individuals left an indelible mark on my career and me as a person, so I take this opportunity to acknowledge them, which is all the more important now. We cannot see one another like in the past or in some cases because they are no longer with us. Proudly, we changed many lives, welcomed countless new Canadians and made an impact on immigration law, legal writing and policy.

My hope for my colleagues reading this piece is that you have been or are currently similarly blessed with the good fortune to be surrounded by professionals who care or care about you to make that difference at the start of your legal career. To give you the fuel to succeed. I welcome my colleagues to pen a similar piece. #MyImmigrationFuel

As always, thank you for reading and please stay safe.