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July 14, 2020 | Alumni

Alumna Janani Shanmuganathan receives Precedent Setter Award for early-career lawyers

On this a page from Precedent magazine, Janani Shanmuganathan sits on a cube against a sun-coloured background, smiling.

(Photo by Steph Martyniuk courtesy of Precedent Magazine)


The Precedent Setter Awards recognize Toronto lawyers who have shown excellence and leadership in their early years of practice. Precedent magazine named U of T Law alumna Janani Shanmuganathan (BA 2008 TRIN, JD/MA 2011), a Precedent Setter for her impact on caselaw - an impact the magazine calls "seismic."

Shanmuganathan has successfully convinced Canadian courts to dismantle five mandatory minimum penalties by arguing that those laws prevented judges from considering the individual circumstances that make an offender less blameworthy.

She's also encouraging lawyers to talk about racism in the profession, says the magazine, speaking out on social media and in the press about instances where "she has been mistaken for a Tamil interpreter and a student. That, in turn, has encouraged other lawyers to share similar experiences. 'Once people start talking, you realize it’s not a one-off thing,' she says. 'And it requires rectifying.'"

Read Janani's profile in the Summer 2020 issue of Precedent Magazine

Precedent Magazine profiles the next generation of lawyers, features their experiences and engages them on the topics they care about. The Precedent Setter Awards recognize Toronto lawyers called to the bar in the last 10 years who have shown excellence and leadership in their practice and their community.

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