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Daniela Carreira

June 7, 2023


Without a family history in the law, Daniela Carreira had to build her own connections as she established herself in the Brazilian legal field.

“I didn’t really know what law school was about, but I wanted to give it a try,” she says. “There were no lawyers in my family and nobody I knew was involved with the law, so I didn’t have many conversations about it.”

Over the next decade, the OsgoodePD International Entrance Award winner made a big impact in her home country, rising quickly to a senior role in the public prosecutor’s office for the southern state of Parana.

But when Carreira decided to restart her career in Canada, it was a different story: this time she had plenty of contacts to call on for guidance, and even got a helping hand from Osgoode’s sprawling alumni network.

“I have Brazilian friends who studied at Osgoode and are now practising law in Canada, and they were a major part of my decision,” she says. “They gave me such a good view about Osgoode as the best school to become licensed to practice in Canada, because of its strong infrastructure, amazing instructors and fantastic career advisors.”

Still in the early days of her Professional LLM in Canadian Common Law, Carreira says the course has so far lived up to the glowing reference delivered by the Brazilian graduates, who had previously made the transition from their home country’s civil law system.

“You’re never on your own at Osgoode, which is something I like. I’m really enjoying it,” she adds. “Of course, there are challenges, and there is a lot of reading to do and new terminology to learn, but I am finding a lot of things are very similar between the two countries – especially in criminal law, because it is also codified here in Canada.”

Carreira’s own experience in Brazil ran the gamut of criminal law: during six years as a senior legal analyst for the Parana State prosecutor’s office, she worked on a range of criminal enforcement matters, including drug trafficking, robberies and sexual assault.

But before that, she also completed student placements with the Parana State Court of Appeal, as well as in the offices of the Federal Public Prosecutor and the Federal Public Defender.

“That was an amazing experience, and is probably the place I learned most about criminal law,” Carreira says. “It taught me how to develop a good case and present it in court, and also helped me to understand the importance of defence lawyers to the legal system and our rights and freedoms in general.”

In Canada, she’s hoping to expand her legal horizons even further, and is keeping an open mind about her future areas of practice.

“I’m looking at criminal law, but also at the litigation field. I was involved in mooting during law school, and it is always exciting to stand up and argue a case in court,” Carreira says.

In the meantime, she’s also trying to make the most of her surroundings and enjoy her new home.

“Toronto is a beautiful place. You can travel without leaving your neighbourhood, because there are so many people from so many different places,” Carreira says. “I never expected such a big, safe city.”

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