As we work to build this website and officially launch our Firm, I wanted to tell you a bit more about our story as a preview for our work to come. This is the story of why we founded Heron Law Offices: Lawyers for Migrant Communities after a wonderful and supportive time with Edelmann and Co. Law Offices.
Co-founded in 2021 by Will Tao (Principal) and Edris Arib (Case Manager/Director of Operations), we started Heron because we wanted to create a Canadian Law Firm to do law differently. We will start our work in our areas of focus and expertise– Canadian immigration, citizenship, and refugee law. Our bigger dreams, however, hold a bigger vision.
We noticed that our ideal client base is increasingly tech-savy (or eager to learn more), but concerned about their bottom line and the overall cost of legal services. We noticed clients want to be relationship partners in a well-managed process not just treated as the transactional end-product. We noticed that our clients want compassionate forward-thinking representation from lawyers who are themselves from racialized migrant communities, who want to invest in the future of the community, and go an extra step for them in the often-challenging Canadian journey.
We also see immigration as part of a larger conversation and dialogue and utilize the lessons learned from our work to bring about bigger transformative change. We will do this through our partner, non-profit organization The Arenous Foundation https://www.arenous.ca/. We pledge to re-invest our time and resources to re-think the system of settler colonialism and negative racialization that immigration has too often re-produced and create opportunities for those who are our clients and Indigenous communities for whom immigration has most impacted. We have a dream to have The Arenous Foundation be Canada’s leading immigration think-tank and utilize the profit-side of Heron Law Offices to support the advocacy, research, and education to hold decision-makers to account and change Canadian law and policy.
When you work with Heron Law Offices, you not only help you, your family, and your colleagues solve their immigration problems, you invest in the future. You invest in our children, our essential workers, and our families. Our four core focus areas, of (1) international students and international educators, (2) families, (3) temporary foreign workers, and (4) immigration litigation (with a focus at the Federal Court and Immigration Appeal Division) to represent those whose rights are most adversely impacted by the immigration system and who need better representation.
The Heron is considered a symbol by local Indigenous communities for self-determination – and we hold this as a core value. The Heron is also a watcher, a sentinel, a marker for biodiversity. We want to be a litmus test for lawyering with compassion and serving with confidence and grace. We are determined to change the practice of law through representing you and creating a broader conversation around Indigenous sovereignty over Canadian immigration issues. More on those plans to come.
So why are we doing this now? Why are we leaving comfortable positions for this new venture?
We are doing this because we want to build a legacy piece for our families, for our children, and their generation. We are doing this because we love this country but also believe it can be better. We have received training at some of the best immigration law firms in the country and through our work with leading international and national advocacy organizations.
We invite you to join us and are excited for this journey with you.
Heron Law Offices
Will Tao, Principal/Canadian Immigration Lawyer
Edris Arib, Case Manager/Director of Operations
About the logo
The blue heron is a prominent figure depicted within Coast Salish art representing grace, patience and self-determination. The heron is known as an expert fisher and guardian of the Salish Sea. In the design, the heron is catching a salmon. The salmon as a symbol, represents abundance, prosperity and wealth and should be highly respected.
ABOUT THE ARTIST - DIAMOND POINT
Diamond Point is a contemporary Coast Salish artist and a member of Musqueam Indian Band. Diamond currently resides in Ladner with her daughter and husband, however grew up and was raised on Reserve. She describes herself as a contemporary artist because she feels that her artwork belongs within the present, with her techniques and style constantly developing and changing through out her experiences. Being a young, contemporary artist, Diamond believes it is important to continue developing her artwork as present and current. In her work, Diamond incorporates traditional Coast Salish design elements as a way to represent the beautiful teachings and history her ancestors have passed down through generations since time immemorial.
In 2014, Diamond had the privilege of showcasing her work in the exhibition Claiming Space: Voices of Urban Indigenous Youth through the Museum of Anthropology. More recently in 2018, Diamond created designs for the new Totem Park residences at the University of British Columbia that have been named after traditional Musqueam village sites, c̓əsnaʔəm, həm̓ləsəm̓ and q̓ələχən. In 2019, Diamond’s work was showcased as a temporary large installation at Richmond Brighouse Canada Line Station, which was part of Capture Photography Festival. In Fall 2020, Diamond had her work showcased in Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts at the Morris and Helen Belkin gallery at the University of British Columbia. Diamond’s work will continue to travel with the exhibition to various galleries until 2024.
Apart from being an artist, Diamond also has a passion towards a career in education. She currently studies at UBC and is in the NITEP Indigenous Teacher Education Program in the Faculty of Education. Upon graduation, Diamond hopes to work as a secondary social studies and art teacher. Diamond feels incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunities to express her Indigenous identity and culture within many realms. As an emerging artist, she intends to create artwork that connects the old with the new but remain respectful to traditional Coast Salish design elements.
*Heron Law Offices is the trade name of Will Tao Law Corporation