Moyosore Sadiq-Soneye

Moyosore Sadiq-Soneye


A Naija lawyer in Canada, offering support based on personal experience.


Settling into life in a new country with two young children is hard. Doing so as a foreign trained lawyer conquering the hurdles of re-licensing in Canada, while simultaneously completing diplomas in paralegal studies and immigration consulting is much harder. But Moyosore would do it all again and more, if that is what she needed to do to continue practicing law.  
 
Moyosore (or Mo) Sadiq-Soneye became a lawyer in Nigeria in 2012 and received her LLM in the U.K. in 2014. She arrived in Canada in 2018, ready to learn as much as she could about the country and to give back in the way knew best, through the practice of law. 
 
In November 2020 Mo opened her law practice with the very catchy name- Mo’s Law Office. Getting to her happy place was an incredibly difficult and stressful process, though, for Mo and her family. Mo’s experience of getting re-licensed in Canada led her and a friend to start an online community for foreign trained lawyers. For people with twenty, thirty or even forty years of practice in their home countries, having to start again in Canada can feel very defeating. A community of people offering support and resources can help alleviate self-doubt and make the process easier. Mo has noticed that since the community was started, foreign trained lawyers are taking under a year to complete a process that used to take them one to three years. Seeing the impact the community is having on the profession is extremely satisfying. 
 
Becoming licensed to practice law in Canada during a pandemic came with extra challenges and less fanfare. Her children, who quite literally sang and danced with excitement after Mo wrote her last exam, were disappointed that they did not get to have a big celebration. Mo was disappointed as well, having worked so hard for this incredible achievement. Starting a law practice in the middle of the pandemic was also challenging, but it encouraged Mo to setup an almost entirely virtual office, which she knows will be a huge asset going forward. 
 
As a sole-practitioner, Mo likes that she gets to decide what areas she practices in and is thankful that she does not have the same pressures she would have if she was working for a larger firm. Mo practices primarily in the areas of Immigration and Mental Health law and also takes on Family and Wills & Estates files. She hopes to make Immigration law her niche because she can personally relate to her clients’ goals, needs and challenges. Mo’s weeks are always different. Some are quiet and relaxing, while others have her working until 10:00 PM and she could not imagine it any other way. 
 
Moyosore’s creative spirit has helped her along the way in her legal career as well as her outside pursuits. When she came to Canada, she wanted to gain a soft knowledge of Canadian law right away, while getting more in-depth knowledge. To do this, she completed diplomas in paralegal studies and immigration consulting and later took a multifaceted job at the London Ontario courthouse, where she worked as a court reporter, court clerk and registrar. 

In Nigeria, Mo’s love of creative writing inspired her to write and produce three films, drawing inspiration from her uncle who was also a lawyer and filmmaker. Mo’s creativity has passed down to her daughter, now eleven years old, who wrote and published a children’s book.
 
Interested in starting your own practice? Mo says passion is key. You will be your own accountant, administrator and marketing strategist, all while representing your clients. Being strategic and beginning to plan for the endeavor early is helpful. Using the right legal software is also a necessity!
 
Mo’s advice for foreign trained lawyers boils down to this: it’s going to be hard, but you can do it. It can take a long time for newcomers to adjust to their new country because the luxury of free time does not exist when there are bills to pay. Lawyers new to Canada need to get comfortable multitasking between their studies, work, families and acclimatizing. There is a balance to be found, but it takes work. 
She encourages others to remember that this is not easy at first, but the strength they have already demonstrated by making the move in the first place will get them through. Canadian firms often show a reluctance to hire foreign trained lawyers, but Mo sees this attitude slowly changing and knows that they will eventually get the recognition they deserve, because they have a wealth of knowledge and practical experience.
 
Moyosore knows how difficult it is to come to Canada as a foreign trained lawyer. She wants others to know that it is ok to take a break during their journey and that they should choose to do that before giving up. You will need help along the way and luckily, thanks to Mo and her friend, support is now available through Naija Lawyer in Canada.

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