Combining the worlds of medicine and law 'interesting, challenging and ultimately the perfect fit'
This article was produced in partnership with Bogoroch & Associates LLP.
Mallory Hendry of Canadian Lawyer sat down with Mahsa Dabirian, partner at Bogoroch & Associates, to discuss what she loves about what she does.
Mahsa Dabirian had little exposure to the world of science and medicine prior to her practice in personal injury, but after joining Bogoroch & Associates LLP as an associate she started working on medical malpractice cases and found them extremely interesting, incredibly challenging and ultimately the perfect fit for her.
“It was an evolution over time — I got more and more comfortable with science and medicine as my career unfolded,” Dabirian, now a partner in the firm’s medical malpractice group, says. “I like the focus that comes with these cases and how deeply involved you become with the nuances of a file. I enjoy reading medical articles, speaking to physicians and combining the challenging worlds of medicine and law.”
Bogoroch & Associates LLP specializes in personal injury, and boasts a large and growing medical malpractice team. There’s no dispute that medical malpractice cases are among some of the most difficult, resource intensive and hard-fought cases in litigation, and Dabirian attributes much of the firm’s success to the set of values that guides their practice: work hard, treat clients with compassion, advance cases vigorously and persist in the face of adversity.
The firm has established itself as a formidable opponent to the Canadian Medical Protective Association and frequently take cases to trial, at times in an effort to advance the law by arguing novel issues. Given that the professional reputation of a physician is at stake in a medical malpractice case, the CMPA will avail itself of substantial resources it has at its disposal to defend the physician. This includes retaining highly experienced counsel and eminent expert witnesses, and employing different litigation strategies at a significant financial cost — if the CMPA believes a case is defensible, they’ll proceed to trial, Dabirian notes.
“But that’s what makes this area of law particularly fun in my eyes,” she says. "We invest the time to critically analyze each file, retain highly qualified experts and have the resources, experience and skill to run these difficult cases.”
The breadth of cases Dabirian works on is vast — compromised baby cases, missed or delayed diagnoses, surgical errors and orthopaedic surgery cases, amongst many others — and each case is “so factually unique that no two ever feel the same.” But whatever the details of a case, Dabirian’s approach doesn’t vary. She immerses herself in the records to understand the facts and learn the medicine, prepares rigorously for discovery and works closely with experts to determine the merits of a case.
Dabirian, along with her colleagues, has a deep dedication to the firm’s clients and “takes great pride in the manner in which we vigorously advocate on their behalf.” Bogoroch & Associates makes a point of informing clients about the law, keeping them regularly updated and of course always striving for a good resolution. Dabirian had a particular case where her client had a urological complication after a hysterectomy and suffered for months in the hospital. When Dabirian resolved that claim, “the satisfaction I felt was unparalleled — it’s the gratitude from the clients I always remember.”
“The clients I work with stick with me,” she says. “I’ve had challenging cases with respect to devastating loss, and it’s those cases with the people you make an impact on that makes the difference to me.”
One of the most important aspects of Dabirian’s job is mentoring students and junior associates as they embark on their career in litigation. She coordinates the on-campus interview process and while it’s a rigorous and time-consuming process, she “has the pleasure of meeting many smart, vibrant and enthusiastic students” and those talented hires often go on to join the firm as associates once called to the bar.
Dabirian also often acts as principal to summer and articling students, providing mentorship at a formal level with regular meeting, management of workflow and feedback on assignments. However, a lot of mentorship also happens at the informal level — lunches, coffee meetings, quick questions — and Dabirian says “our office is unique in that we have a lot of young associates who are extremely collegial and willing to train and invest in the time with our students.”
It’s rewarding to watch students and new associates tackle rigorous tasks, files and assignments as they develop into great litigators, Dabirian notes, and perhaps the firm’s approach to mentorship rounds out the list of values that drive the success of the firm: You can only learn by doing.
“Challenging claims, discovery preparation, contested motions, carriage of files with the benefit of a supervising lawyer — as part of their training, they're assigned truly meaningful work,” Dabirian says. “The mentorship students receive here is incredible.”
Mahsa Dabirian joined Bogoroch & Associates in October 2012 as an Associate and was admitted to the Partnership in January 2018. She’s a committed advocate on behalf of injured clients in all areas of personal injury litigation, with a focus on medical malpractice proceedings.