Serving the Greater Ottawa Area in Personal Injury
Meet Attorney Miryam Gorelashvili, LLB Founder of MG Law out of Ottawa, Ontario in Canada. Her practice is solely based on personal injury, having built a team of over twenty employees and counting who can service clients in over five languages that include French, Mandarin, Russian, Greek, all dialects of Arabic, Ukrainian, Khmer (Cambodia) and Creole. Over the years, she has obtained millions in compensations for her injured clients’ personal injury lawsuits. Additionally, she was successful in getting numerous catastrophic designations for her clients through their Statutory Accident Benefits Insurer. Here is her success journey!
Tell our readers about yourself and the path that led you to the law.
I come from a small country, it’s called Azerbaijan, former USSR, Soviet Union. I came in ’98 with my four-year-old son. I wanted to essentially move to a new country, build a future for us, and we didn’t have any opportunity where we were– it was a post-Soviet Union collapse, and I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to come to Canada. Prior to moving to Canada, I had a Master’s in English Linguistics. But, of course, it’s not something, it’s not a big of an asset here in Canada.
There’s a lot of people speaking English here. So, at first, I went to Carleton University, and I did my B.A. in Law and then I went to Ottawa University, and then I got my Law Degree. I got my Common Law – it was a lot of schooling but at the end it definitely paid off.
When did you decide to launch your firm?
After I graduated, I spent time articling. After several months, I went on my own. At first, I did some real estate and worked for a small office in Russell, Ontario. We had a case when a lady was injured by a horse because we have a lot of farmers in Russell, she had a traumatic brain injury. So, I was not the counsel on the case, but I assisted. As the firm had the case. I was able to follow the case from the beginning until the end and then I became very interested in personal injury law at that time.
We represent individuals, we don’t represent insurance companies, it’s usually regular people who have been involved in car accidents, trip and fall accidents, or if they suffer injuries as a result of medical negligence and those types of cases. I started my firm right out of law school in 2010. It was a small office of me and my legal assistance.
It’s been over a decade – twelve years now being a business owner – tell me what was the biggest challenge to start your own firm?
Being a lawyer and running a law firm are two different things. You have to understand the business aspect of it, you need to understand the marketing part of it and the accounting part of it. And it’s human resources. Of course, it’s all about people. It’s totally different. My dad had a chocolate company – essentially, he was importing chocolate from European countries, and he was running a big chocolate company, and I didn’t participate in his business, but I was looking at him, watching him and what he did and how he negotiated.
He would negotiate on the phone for hours, and he knew how to bring clients and where to put his chocolate. So, that was, a very good experience for me, because it taught me how to run a business, and that it becomes your life, it’s a 24/7 job. Being a lawyer is not a 9-5 job. It’s a vocation. It’s a life-consuming profession, and you have to commit yourself to it, full-heartedly.
What is something that you would like to have as a vision or something in the long-term plan that you see with your law firm?
I am thinking we will add more associates and good, talented, and quality people, and I think we’ll continue to expand. That’s the goal. That’s the plan.
What inspires you to keep growing and to want to evolve to new things and to constantly grow within yourself?
I can tell you what and I can also tell you who. I have a great mentor, his name is Craig Brown, and he is one of the best lawyers in Canada, he has been nominated every year. So, he’s been doing it for forty years and he still loves it. We call each other weekly, sometimes daily, we talk about files, and he just has this zest for life and zest for more. He inspires to plan again and get better at what we do and polishing the skills and sharpening the tools and all of that. You can endlessly improve yourself. Endlessly. You can learn forever and ever. And I think that’s good because I don’t like when it’s just flat.
And when it comes to doing over a decade of business, and obviously very successful as it keeps on growing, what advice that you would give yourself now looking back at the woman twelve years ago that was you?
Well, I think not to be afraid to be different. Obviously, I came here to a new country, I have an accent, I’m an immigrant woman, and I’m often different from what you typically see as a personal injury lawyer who grew up here and all of that. People should not be afraid to be different, have a different style, have a different way of communicating, and I think just to go forward. And if you have a conviction, you just have to go forward, and stay by it, and pursue it. And I can tell you that a lot of people told me not to go to law school, and they said, “Oh, you know, it’s expensive, it’s tough. Litigation is not for women.” I didn’t listen to them because I knew my truth and I believed in myself.
So, you’re a grandmother, a mother, a business-owner and a lawyer. So, lots has to be balanced. What do you do for you and things to take time off?
I don’t like when people say “I don’t have time.” Everybody has time. Everybody. It’s about finding time and time management and also figuring out what’s really important to you. And if you know what it is, then you’ll find your time. I come home every day, and I have dinner with my husband of 24 years. So, you know, we have fun and we spend time doing things we love. My son’s wife just had a baby girl named Rheai, and I have to see her, I have to find time for her on a weekly basis.
What makes you different from other Attorneys in personal injury and your business?
I think the biggest difference is that we speak many languages here, and we understand many different cultures. Personal injury, is not a business transaction. This is not business. This is personal. Everything we do for these people is personal. It’s about losing jobs, losing families, you know, relatives who die in car accidents. Everything is personal. You cannot treat these people as a business transaction.
I have assembled a team that speaks Greek, Russian, all dialects of Arabic, Mandarin, and French. We speak these languages because through language you’ll understand the culture. And especially when you are on a seven-hour, examination for discovery. We ask clients questions about their past life, present, and future, you need to understand who they are and how they see the world, and they do through the lens of their cultures, through where they come from. That’s why when clients call us, I say, “We get you. I understand. I get you. I understand your culture. I understand what you’re telling me.” So, this is why I think we’re different.
What’s happening in your business that is current / newsworthy that we can share with our audience?
We are going to an in-person conference in Toronto and that’s the news because we can have these in-person conferences. It’s in May. It’s Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. They’re hosting their first in-person conference on May 13. And also, we are handling a huge claim as a team. We represent 24 Chinese nationals in a bus accident. It’s challenging and exciting, and it’s fascinating. We are looking forward to next steps in this litigation process.
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