BY EMMA WHITEN
Born in England, Kamaljit Lehal immigrated to Canada in 1975 with her parents and two brothers. Having always dreamed of being a lawyer, she pursued her law degree at UBC and started her legal career in 1990 at a local law firm. Two years later, Kamaljit opened her firm, Lehal Law, providing legal services to the local community.
Alongside her legal career, Kamaljit is a dedicated volunteer and active participant in the community. Since 1996 Kamaljit has been a board member for Options Community Services and Habitat Housing Society. Currently, she is the Chair of these organizations – the first woman and woman of color to hold this critical position.
Kamaljit is also Co-Chair of the “50 Women of Options” campaign, a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million in funding for an affordable housing project in Surrey. Kamaljit, along with 49 other like-minded women, will each raise $25,000 to support this project. This project aligns with Kamaljit’s belief that it is a fundamental right for everyone to have a place to call home.
In her experiences as a female leader and mother, Kamaljit had to learn to find the right balance between the demands of her career, volunteer roles, and her family. When her children were younger, she chose to do more solicitor-type work, which allowed her the flexibility to be a working mom. Now that her children are older, Kamaljit has “shifted gears” to more advocacy-type work that she enjoys and envisioned herself doing in law school.
Trying to achieve this work-life balance has not always been easy, for, after a few years into opening her business, Kamaljit had quickly expanded and brought on three junior lawyers. During this same time, she had her first two children born only thirteen months apart. Trying to manage junior lawyers, support staff, business expenses, and clients while caring for two infants became overwhelming. Kamaljit made the difficult decision to downsize her firm and become a sole practitioner. Something felt like a step backward before. It turned out as a wise and brave decision that allowed her to be there for her children.
On this Mother’s Day, Kamaljit is grateful for her mother’s sacrifices to a better life. Her mother wanted to pursue studies beyond high school but could not do so—due to the culture and expectations. As a result, her mother made it her mission to ensure that her children, including her only Kamaljit, were educated. Kamaljit was fortunate that her mother’s dreams of ensuring the children were all educated and able to stand on their own feet was supported by Kamaljit “s father.
Kamaljit believes in supporting and mentoring other women, which is why she recently expanded her firm to include a junior female lawyer. When women empower each other, there is nothing they cannot accomplish. As a result, Kamaljit not only endorses but is part of the “50 Women of Options” campaign for safe and affordable housing. To learn more about how you can support Kamaljit in her partnership with the 50 Women of Options, please visit the Women of Options website.