Lawyer Spotlight: Natalie Leon

A monthly series that aims to shine a light on the worlds of the lawyers behind your case.

/ 15 min read

1. What is your first memory of wanting to be a lawyer?
I always loved to read, write and debate:  the three main activities of a litigator. Therefore, it was natural for me to want to be a lawyer. However, it was when I read To Kill A Mockingbird in grade 9 that I really started focusing on law.

2. Where did you study law and how did you find that experience?
I went to Osgoode Hall after my second year of an Arts program at Western in which I majored in philosophy. The competitiveness of the student body was not something I had experienced before. I was also surprised by how much effort was required to achieve top marks.  Until then, I had breezed through school.  I realized quickly that law school would be a lot of work, but I enjoyed the challenge.

3. How did you begin working at FCL?
I have worked at this firm since I articled. When I interviewed for articling, I walked into FCL as it was then, met my current partner and a former partner with whom we worked for many years, and felt comfortable right away. I had other offers but I went with my instinct as to which firm I felt best at and ignored other factors.Since starting at FCL, I’ve never looked back.

4. Is there a certain case you worked on that stands out to you? If yes, why?
There are many cases that stand out for different reasons: My first trial, my first successful major motion, my first successful appeal, the case I cared most about because I empathized so greatly with my clients and so badly wanted a recovery for them.  I also have a vivid memory of an occasion early in my career when I did not achieve the result I wanted.  I had become over confident with some early successes and did not prepare sufficiently. That early experience taught me the importance of thorough preparation no matter how experienced you are.

5. What’s your favourite thing about being a lawyer?
My favourite part of being a lawyer is the people that I meet. From the clients, to the experts, the other lawyers, and the adjudicators –I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I am proud of our profession that we can so ably and vigorously act for our clients and yet still demonstrate respect for the opposing parties and counsel and even enjoy our time together in the courtroom.

6. What’s the best part about working at FCL?
My favourite part of working at FCL is also the people. We attract like-minded people here. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different interests but we all have a love for the law. We love to discuss our complex cases, we believe in busy lives outside of law, we believe in equality and promoting justice, we believe that it is as important to be a good person as it is to be a good lawyer, and we enjoy each other’s company.

7. Is there something you feel lawyers understand firmly that you wish the general public had more awareness of?
During the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, many people seemed to not understand that this was essentially a job interview and not an actual legal action or hearing. There was no standard of proof. It also brought to light that there is a difference between the burden the Crown has to meet in criminal cases –beyond a reasonable doubt –and the standard in a civil case –probability. In criminal cases, the accused is presumed to be innocent.

We extend our deepest congratulations to Natalie for becoming a named partner at FCL.