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Hardeep Chahal

April 26, 2022

Roz Bahrami

Hardeep Chahal remembers when his fascinating with the law began: a Grade 12 Law class with Mr. Olson at Norkam Secondary School in Kamloops, BC.

Chahal grew up knowing he’d pursue a professional career, an ambition handed down from his father, an engineer who’d immigrated to Canada in 1969. Because his credentials weren’t recognized in Canada, the elder Chahal couldn’t practice his profession, instead earning his living in a local pulp mill—but the ambition that he instilled in his three kids, to achieve something bigger, was strong.

And it was in that classroom that Chahal’s own ambition began to find a more specific form.

“It opened my eyes to the way our legal system worked, to the virtues of common law, to how law is formulated,” he says. “I wanted to be a part of that.”

For the past 20 years, he has been a part of it, as a successful lawyer in Kamloops, specializing in corporate and commercial litigation.

In 2018, his academic curiosity—first sparked in that twelfth-grade classroom—was re-ignited. A mentor and colleague who taught law in the School of Business and Economics at Kamloops’ Thompson Rivers University told him about a position opening up teaching business and employment law. Chahal jumped at the chance, finding his perspective on his profession broadening all over again.

“When you start teaching, you re-enter that realm of academia,” he says. “In me it sparked a real desire to start learning again. That had a lot to do with wanting to provide my students with more knowledge.”

That’s why in 2019, Chahal enrolled in the LLM in Business Law at Osgoode, studying remotely as he continued practising in Kamloops.

“One of the first things I noticed was the professionalism, and how technologically advanced it was when it came to distance learning,” he says. “From day one, I didn’t feel like a second-class student; it felt like I was part of the classroom.”

That ease of connection was especially helpful in fostering closer ties to many of Chahal’s fellow students, from corporate lawyers to C-suite executives, who brought with them a plethora of perspective and lived experience—which he’s been able to bring back to his own practice.

Last year, Chahal joined Kamloops’ oldest law firm, Morelli Chertkow, as Senior Associate Counsel. There, he’s now tackling more complex and challenging files than ever, taking on client work that in the past he would have farmed out to other firms. That’s in large part thanks to the knowledge and skills he gained, and the professional connections he made at Osgoode.

But the biggest benefit of his Osgoode education, he says, lies in his original motivation to enroll: the chance to spark in young students the same fascination and love of law that he felt.

“Really, I went to Osgoode because I wanted to deepen my own understanding of the law, so I could bring something more to my students,” he says. “And that’s exactly what happened.”

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Hardeep Chahal is Associate Counsel at Morelli Chertkow LLP.