Toronto civil litigator, Maija Pluto, says early into law school she knew she wanted to pursue a career in litigation because it provided an opportunity to exercise her analytical skills — and it would certainly never be boring.
Since joining Gaertner Baron Professional Corporation as an associate earlier this year, Pluto has worked on a number of commercial litigation and employment files and is passionate about advocating for clients who have suffered damages through no fault of their own. She says her client’s recent win in a wrongful dismissal case reaffirmed that she made the best career choice.
Commercial litigation is an ever-evolving area of law, which allows for creative and strategic thinking, she tells AdvocateDaily.com.
“In employment law, each case is unique and tells its own story,” says Pluto. “It’s very satisfying when you work with a client and can quickly produce meaningful and impactful results. At the end of the day, I’m always looking to achieve the most beneficial outcomes for my clients,” she says.
Pluto, who regularly appears before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, says while clients may be inclined to “have their day in court,” sometimes the less formal procedures — tribunals and mediations — are a better option.
“There are costs associated with going to court and alternative dispute mechanisms allow clients to avoid incurring unnecessary costs and resolve disputes faster,” she says.
In conflicts between employers and employees, it’s common for cases to go to mediation, primarily because it offers a swift resolution, which is an important consideration when one of the parties is struggling financially, Pluto explains.
“Often, employment cases advance through the system relatively quickly, and mediation can really decrease the time in resolving the matter. We’re trying to find a solution that works well for both the employer and the employee, and mediation is a great tool if both parties are willing to negotiate,” she says.
Fluent in Russian, Pluto was named to the Deans Honour List and received several other awards during her studies at York University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.
She earned her Juris Doctor from Queen’s University where she was awarded Queen’s Academic Entrance Scholarship and Queen’s Law Prize in Health Law.
In law school, Pluto volunteered as a case worker at Queen’s Legal Aid where she helped students and other low-income clients on an array of files, including landlord-tenant disputes, employment matters and breach of contracts.
“It was a very interesting experience and partially proved to me that I should pursue a career in litigation. It was a rewarding opportunity and taught me that while litigation can be demanding it can also be very, very rewarding,” she says.
Before joining Gaertner Baron, Pluto articled in the civil litigation department of a prominent full-service law firm in Vaughan, Ont.