Lawyer Spotlight: Sean Fattah

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

By fcladmin
/ 15 min read

1. What is your first memory of wanting to be a lawyer?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a lawyer. It somewhat became solidified when I was in Grade 9. In English class, we read To Kill a Mockingbird and I resonated with the character of Atticus Finch, and so I began taking the steps necessary to ultimately end up in law school.

2. Where did you study law and how did you find that experience?

I studied law at the University of Ottawa. It’s a great school and unique in the sense that for the most part, the professors are not practitioners, but academics. As such, my education was more “detailed and philosophical” than the day-to-day practices of a lawyer. I found this to be enjoyable as I learnt things about our laws and legal system that I would not have otherwise known.

Further, during my time at law school, I became interested in Law and Technology, a subject matter for which the University of Ottawa offers a specialization certificate that I obtained.  I also had the pleasure of sitting in on a couple of Supreme Court of Canada Hearings, which for a law student is quite the experience. Overall the experience was great. Cold, but great.

3. How did you begin working at Forbes Chochla Leon?

How I started at the firm is a bit of a long story. The short version is that I, having thought I would article at a family friend’s law firm, did not apply for an articling position while in Law School. Unfortunately, there was a falling out, and it was no longer feasible for me to article at that firm. Even worse was the fact that this happened about a week before I was to start articling if I wanted to get called in June. Around the same time FCL needed help from a student, and as fate would have it, they posted a position, and the rest is history.

4. Is there a certain case you worked on that stands out to you? If yes, why?

During my time articling, a client whom we had represented on another matter informed us that a former friend and colleague of his was refusing to leave the property our client had rented to him, despite the fact he had not paid rent in months. This client had been a lawyer at some point and was aware of a loophole that allowed tenants to delay the eviction process for months, if not years, while they resided in the property rent-free.

I was able to find precedents which we used to obtain an order that evicted the tenant much sooner than he had hoped for. More importantly, we were able to obtain a rare declaration that the tenant was a vexatious litigant, which required them to obtain leave of the court before being able to bring further claims. In essence, and hopefully, this stopped the tenant from doing this to other landlords in the future.  At the risk of sounding cliché, that case has stayed with me as I was able to make a difference for the better in someone’s life by using the legal system.

5. What’s your favourite thing about being a lawyer?

My favourite thing about being a lawyer is definitely the problem-solving. Every case poses a problem to be solved. These problems vary greatly – sometimes the problem is purely legal, sometimes its emotional, and sometimes you just have a difficult opposing counsel. As a lawyer, it’s your job to figure out how to address each situation, and with each situation being somewhat different, you can’t use the same playbook every time. This problem solving keeps your mind active at all times, which not many jobs really do.

6. What do you like to get up to in your spare time?

I like to travel, watch sports, spend time with my family, and occasionally play video games in my spare time.