Malliha Wilson, Ontario’s Assistant Deputy Attorney General from 2008-2016, a litigator with an impressive career served the Ontario Government from 1987-2017.
In this time she appeared as lead counsel, and part of litigation teams, before the Supreme Court of Canada, on behalf of the Attorney General in 15 precedent setting appearances.
Up until September 30th her service in the provincial Government took the form of Special Counsel for the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario.
As of October 1st Malliha made the switch to private practice joining Kubes Navaratnam as Senior Partner to form the law firm of Nava Wilson LLP, formerly known as Nava Law Professional Corporation.
Nava Law’s position within the communities it serves, and amongst the Tamil diaspora, as a proponent of community building and capacity building, through investment in sustainable initiatives, was a big draw for Malliha, whose own values are closely aligned.
In Kubes, now Managing Partner at Nava Wilson LLP, she had found a counterpart to realize a vision she had to give back to the community in meaningful and transformative ways. This community extends far beyond those which they work with within the GTA, and includes supporting accountable and sustainable development, and constitutional, legal and educational reforms in the North and East provinces of Sri Lanka.
“This [the Tamil community] is not an isolated community that’s not connected to anywhere else. We are in prominent places, we should make our history known, and be proud of ourselves.” –Malliha Wilson, Senior Partner, Nava Wilson
From earning his LL.M in international humanitarian law, to being In-House Counsel and making millions of dollars in revenue for his clients, to serving on advisory boards and launching his own firm, Kubes has also placed a substantial emphasis on paying it forward throughout his career.
Recognizing that his success has been driven by those who inspired him, he seeks to inspire and empower another generation of innovators and changemakers.
“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the past 2 years, from my mentors, is that integral to making an impact is defining who you are, what you stand for and saying no to everything that doesn’t fit into that definition.”—Kubes Nava, Managing Partner, Nava Wilson
Meanwhile, Malliha had been professionally trained to become an advocate but decades of being personally invested in the plight of those who are faced with unjust circumstances made it a passion.
Those familiar with Malliha’s career will know that she focuses on the areas of human rights, indigenous, constitutional, corporate and labour law, and other complex litigation, and has had the incredible influence of her politically and socially engaged family members.
Malliha’s father was Professor Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson, the founding Chair of Political Science at Peradeniya University. He was a scholar who went on to teach at the University of New Brunswick, completing 4 terms as Chair of the Political Science Department, publishing 8 books and over 100 articles. Some of these invaluable documents, which serve as window into a very critical time in Sri Lankan political reform, will soon be republished.
During his time at UNB, from 1970-1994, Professor Wilson acted as a constitutional adviser in the mediatory process to Sri Lanka’s President J.R. Jayawardene, from 1978-1983.
He also served as a consultant on South Asia to the State Department in the United States, and to the Canadian Refugees Advisory Board, the Ministry of Multiculturalism and the Canadian International Development Agency.
Malliha’s maternal grandfather meanwhile, was S. J. V. Chelvanayakam a highly regarded lawyer, politician, and founding member of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, and later the founder of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi. Known widely as “Thanthai Chelva”, he was a staunch proponent of Tamil rights in Sri Lanka, advocating for political goals with a commitment to non-violent methods.
With Kubes and Malliha’s extensive experience and remarkable mentors and influences behind them, Nava Wilson LLP is looking ahead to how they can create their own legacy of increasing knowledge of, and access to, the justice system, including delivering seminars on a wide range of legal topics.
And their commitments do not end there. By the end of their first year they will have provided $100 000 in funding towards increased access to education in law and public policy, good work locally and abroad, bridging the gap between the diaspora and Sri Lanka and investing in and supporting business development in Sri Lanka.