As a member of the OBA Citizenship and Immigration Law Section Executive, I have had the privilege of participating in the Central Region Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) consultative committee meetings over the past three years. These quarterly meetings are attended by members of the IAD, immigration practitioners, and various other stakeholders, and provide a unique opportunity for knowledge-sharing and collaboration. While the pandemic necessitated a shift to online sessions, it felt great to finally attend a physical meeting of the IAD consultative committee at 74 Victoria Street in March 2023. It was during this meeting that I met Max Chaudhary in person for the first time. On-screen, Mr. Chaudhary always appeared calm, collected and composed. He chose his words carefully, spoke in a respectful tone, and sounded very knowledgeable. This was someone I wanted to emulate and connect with. Fortunately, I had the chance to exchange a few words with him at the end of the meeting, and to my delight, he graciously agreed to be interviewed. I am happy to share the insights from our conversation and his 28 years of practice as an immigration lawyer with you.
What were the biggest influences in your life growing up?
One that stands out is my Grade 13 English teacher who made the analysis of texts engaging and interesting. It had a huge impact on me, especially considering that I was a first-generation Canadian from a lower economic background and that I didn’t have any sense of utility in just analyzing English. Although I didn’t realize right away that it goes hand in hand with what lawyers do, discovering that I had an affinity for text analysis gave me the impetus to branch out into history and social sciences at university.
Oddly enough, my choice to study law was motivated by the desire to showcase my affinity for written analysis, text, and things of that nature. The fact that I could make money other than through physical labour also sounded like a good deal to me. But while the environment in which I grew up was officially multicultural, in practice it was not, so my parents were skeptical about my decision to become a lawyer. They thought that it was something that only white and Jewish people did in those days. The lack of active encouragement meant that I had to be a bit more determined to show that law was based on merit rather than on any sort of quota system.