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  • Writer's pictureRidhey Gill

Upama Poudyal

Tell us about yourself.

I’ve dreamt about being a lawyer ever since I was in grade seven. Throughout high school I knew I wanted to get involved in the legal field, but wondered how, since most law firms don’t hire students. Regardless, I joined the Co-op program to try and gain experience. In grade eleven, I secured a Co-op term at Julia Bradley Barrister and Solicitor Law office. When summer came around, they offered me a position to come back for paid work. I worked there as a legal assistant full-time during summers and part-time during the school year. I gained valuable experience in Family Law, Criminal Law, and Wills & Estates. When it was time to go to university, naturally, I pursued Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo. Throughout my four years at UW, I worked at Smith Valeriote Law Firm in Guelph where I primarily worked in family law, children’s law, and civil law. The University of Waterloo community also inspired me to pursue technology and computer science. I applied to TD as a legal analyst where my team was tasked with creating a legal software that disposes of physical case files and instead, re-homes documents under our legal matter document management system. I worked with TD for about nine months to build this software and train lawyers on how to use it. Once we launched the product, it significantly decreased legal costs, saved hours of time, and allowed for more floor-space as bulky legal cabinets were no longer necessary. Recognizing the benefits that this software had on our department, it inspired me to pursue legal-tech. I asked myself “what is wrong with our current justice system?”, and realized through my work experience and education that there is a severe access to justice problem in our province, partly due to higher lawyer fees and court backlogs. Legal-tech can help mitigate these issues. This led me to create my startup, The Right Law. The Right Law is a lawyer referral platform that seeks to match marginalized communities with the “right lawyer” for them based on various criteria that are most important to them.

What area of law would you like to practice?

I honestly don’t know. I want to continue with legal-tech because I think that there is so much opportunity to fix existing problems in our justice system. However, I am keeping my options open as I know law school will shape me and help me recognize my true interests.

Why did you choose Ryerson Law?

The main factor was its emphasis on legal tech. Another reason was Ryerson’s pillars on access to justice and diversity. For me, it’s always been extremely important to go to a school where I feel included and welcomed. I believe the administration will do a good job at fostering inclusive and safe spaces.

What do you hope to accomplish with your J.D.?

I would like to work as a practising lawyer for about a decade before I pursue my PhD or my LLM. Then, my goal is to become a professor and mentor.

As a part of the inaugural cohort of Ryerson Law, what are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to seeing the impact our classmates will have on the legal field. Many of us are coming in with such incredible knowledge and diverse backgrounds. I know we will be able to work together and make a difference in the legal field in a way that a lot of other schools haven’t.

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