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FCLN Celebrates Filipino Heritage Month: An Insightful Gathering with Vancouver Lawyers

The Filipino Canadian Lawyers Network (FCLN) commemorated Filipino Heritage Month with an engaging event held in Vancouver on June 3. This gathering was graced by a panel which included lawyers Melissa Briones, Franco Cabanos, Rene-John Nicolas and Cyrille Panadero. Each panelist shared their unique insights, underlining the significance of diversity and inclusion in the justice system.

Since its launch on June 1, 2023, FCLN has hosted annual events to celebrate Filipino Heritage Month. This year was unique due to the event’s hybrid format, which comprised an in-person meeting in Vancouver along with a virtual engagement for those who could not travel.

Justice Aubrey Hilliard was the keynote speaker, sharing her reflections on her Filipino heritage, her professional journey, and the essential role of diversity and inclusion in the justice system. Alicia S. Natividad, B.A. L.L.B., founder and Past President of FCLN, moderated the enriching panel discussion that followed.

Each of the panelists illuminated the discussion with their personal journeys in the legal profession. They candidly addressed their experiences as Filipino Canadians in the law field, discussing the unique challenges they faced during their career trajectories.

Briones, Cabanos, Nicolas and Panadero unanimously echoed the importance of diversity and inclusion within the legal sphere, reflecting on their roles as articling students, associates, and later, partners or owners in their respective law firms. Their narratives underscored the importance of representation and equal opportunities within the justice system.

Each panelist also touched upon the influential role of lawyers as societal role models and expressed their interest in networking with other Filipino Canadian lawyers across Canada. They stressed the importance of such connections for personal and professional growth, as well as for the strengthening of the Filipino Canadian legal community.

In conclusion, the panelists offered invaluable advice to aspiring Filipino Canadian legal professionals. Their inspiring words provided a mix of practical advice and motivational encouragement, reminding the audience of the potential for success regardless of the hurdles they may encounter.

The FCLN’s Filipino Heritage Month celebration was a resounding success. This event stands as a testament to the vibrant Filipino Canadian legal community in Vancouver and across the nation, embodying FCLN’s commitment to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and community engagement in the justice system.

(Photo from FCLN Facebook Page)


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Melissa has 8+ years of combined Commercial, Business and Contract Law experience as In-House Counsel in manufacturing, health, real estate development, and broadcast communication industries. She is instrumental in developing strategies to minimize legal risk and ensure regulatory compliance.

She has 6+ years of Human Resources Management experience and a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. Her practice includes Family Law, Civil Litigation, Wills & Estates and Real Estate & Conveyancing.

For fun, she visits ancient sites and ruins and belts out popular Broadway tunes.

northam law corporation

Northam Law is a boutique law firm offering advisory services in Real Estate Law and Conveyancing, Business Law, and Human Resources. Our practice areas also include Wills & Estates and Family Law. Notarization services are also available.

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