Western sets up award to honour student who died

Western Law has established a memorial award to honour Kanika Suri, a 2012 graduate who died last month.

Suri was completing her articles at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Toronto when she suddenly passed away on April 27. The cause of death has not been released.

Kara Sutherland, director of professional resources on FMC’s student committee, first met Suri when she started as a summer student in 2010. Suri returned to the firm as a summer student in 2011 and began her articles in January.

“Kanika was someone who had a lot of energy, she was very enthusiastic. She was really excited about starting to practise law,” says Sutherland.

Suri decided to pursue a career in environmental law after having completed her BA in environmental and political science at the University of Michigan and working as an environmental consultant in the Alberta oilsands.

Western Law professor Sara Seck, who taught Suri in first year, remembers her as “very vibrant, energetic, and engaged.”

“Environmental law was definitely a passion of hers,” Seck tells Legal Feeds. Sutherland says Suri had planned to start her own practice in environmental law.

The news of Suri’s death has been very difficult for everyone at the firm, especially her articling colleagues, says Sutherland. FMC posted this message from students on its web site:
Most of us first met Kanika as incoming summer students at FMC in May 2010. Though many of us were nervous to begin working at a law firm, Kanika was unfazed and ready to take on the challenge. She instantly brought us together with her infectious charm and quick wit.

Kanika brightened firm events and the student program with her bubbly personality and her ability to make people feel comfortable. She organized many student social events and we will cherish the many memories we shared with her outside the office — such as participating in a volleyball tournament, attending Blue Jays games, and enjoying a ski weekend together. She was generous with the time she spent on others, and could always be counted on for an honest opinion.

Within the firm, Kanika was seen as vibrant and reliable. Her passion for environmental issues and her ambition to succeed would have contributed greatly to the law. As a colleague, her spirited approach to solving problems and her genuine enthusiasm to learn made her an asset to the firm and a pleasure to work with.

Kanika — you will be greatly missed as a colleague, but even more so as a friend.

The Nidhi Kanika Suri Memorial Award will be granted annually to a graduating student interested in environmental law.

“The student chosen will reflect Kanika’s drive, boldness, endearing spirit, passion for life, and capacity to bring joy to those around her,” states Western’s law faculty.

A Facebook memorial group has also been set up for friends and family.

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