Executive Profiles: Introducing Robin Seligman

  • November 23, 2022
  • Angela Ogang, Newsletter Editor, OBA Citizenship & Immigration Law Section

Photo of Robin Seligman1.     What are your primary areas of immigration practice? 

I am involved in all areas of immigration other than refugee files. I do a lot of economic immigration, spousal applications, inadmissibility cases, and humanitarian applications. I still enjoy doing judicial reviews and immigration appeals, and I really like virtual hearings! My first cases came from referrals from people like Barbara Jackman, Mendel Green, and other senior immigration lawyers who were so generous with their time and showed me the ropes. I will never forget them.

2.     What motivated you to join the OBA Citizenship & Immigration Law Section Executive

I heard about the OBA from Mendel Green and I joined because I liked the collegial idea of people referring clients to each other and helping each other. I felt it was a really positive thing. Those were the days when you would pick up the phone and talk to an immigration or program officer, go in and see them, and sit in on client interviews here or overseas. It was a totally different world and I developed close friendships with a lot of immigration lawyers that I still consider good friends. I still think the OBA is very relevant because it’s a great network, not only for business, but also for sharing information as well as lobbying the Government and making submissions on legislative changes. The CBA is much respected and has close to 40,000 members across Canada. When you are practicing in your own law practice or in a small firm environment, it’s important to connect with other lawyers in the field. And even if you are in a big firm, a lot of them are focussed on a specific area of law and don’t really have expertise in other areas.  

I have been Chair of the OBA Citizenship & Immigration Section twice, from 1999 to 2002 when the OBA gave special permission for me to chair for three years instead of two, and again from 2021 to 2022. I have also been Chair of the CBA Immigration Law Section. In 2019, I received the CBA Immigration Law Section Award of Excellence at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, which was amazing and has such special meaning to me.

3.     What do you enjoy most about practicing immigration law?  

One key interest that’s developed over the years is being involved and helping shape immigration policy and lobbying MPs and MPPs. That’s one of the main reasons I joined the OBA and the CBA. They were the voice of lawyers, the ones that got the attention of government officials, the ones who were writing and coming up with policy. Giving back is also very important to me. I have an all-female law firm at this stage and I love helping the women at my firm with their careers and have helped many women over the years.