Updated: Mar 15
Associate, Goldblatt Partners LLP
Mariam Moktar grew up in Mogadishu, Somalia during a time of extreme unrest and civil war.
Witnessing firsthand the absence of government and law, Mariam understands the vitalness of political structures, and this is a big part of why Mariam became a lawyer.
English was Mariam’s fourth language when she moved to Canada at seven, where she grew up in a large Muslim, Somali community. This community had a tremendous impact in shaping the woman she is today. Being Muslim, Black and a woman had Mariam at a crossroads of identities, all of which were not at all well represented in the legal community. So when Mariam became a lawyer, she decided to create an organization that dealt with Somali issues and co-founded the Canadian Association of Somali Lawyers ( CASL ). Somalis are not only Black, but also largely Muslim, and most of the community came to Canada rather recently. CASL provides a platform to discuss issues that the community faces and also provides mentorship to young Somalis facing the same crossroads Mariam once faced.
But what does it mean to be a Somali-Muslim lawyer? Mariam is still trying to uncover that answer. Though one thing is for certain; it can ultimately mean whatever you want it to. Mariam noted that “one of the most incredible things about law is that you can shape your practice as you see it”. Being a woman, a Muslim and a Somali in the legal field is still not a norm, but that is okay, she says. “It is important to embrace and sell this difference because at the end of the day, it is an asset for any law firm to have someone with my background.”
Mariam has truly been able to shape her practice as a lawyer, catering to her interests. After
working as a summer student at the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, she completed her articles at a labour and employment law firm in Toronto. Following which she was called to the bar in 2013 and clerked for various judges of the Superior Court in the Central West Region, and served judges of the Divisional Court. Mariam then worked for some time at Lenczner Slaght in Toronto doing civil litigation. After this, she moved to her current role at Goldblatt Partners where she has found a perfect balance of litigation and social justice work. Her current practice includes human rights (anti-racism cases), public interest litigation, civil litigation and professional regulation and liability.
In addition to her many accomplishments, we are pleased to announce that Mariam has recently joined CMLA’s Legal Advocacy Committee. The Legal Advocacy Committee is responsible for leading legal interventions on matters that directly impact the Canadian Muslim community.