Filipinos often say that to be successful in life, you have to be a nurse, a teacher, an engineer, a doctor or a lawyer. The Honourable Mr. Justice Steve Coroza LLB (Windsor), LLM (Osgoode) is a Filipino-Canadian lawyer, and a rather successful one at that. He’s the first ever Filipino judge in Canada to serve on the Superior Court of Justice in the country’s most populous province, Ontario.
MEETING JUSTICE STEVE COROZA
We’ve met Justice Coroza a number of times at different Filipino communities across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Every time we came up to say hello, he was always very gracious and accommodating, always taking the time to chat.
Justice Coroza was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1997 and practiced criminal law for Legal Aid Ontario. Afterwards, he was a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice and Public Prosecution Service of Canada. He was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in 2009 and to the Superior Court of Justice in 2013.
In an interview with York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, where Justice Coroza for his LLM, he said that every judge brings their own perspective to the job.
STEVE COROZA: HARD WORK AND PERSEVERANCE
Coroza’s parents immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 1969. Like most Filipino parents, they pushed him to work hard and persevere.
Coroza said he was fortunate to have made the acquaintance of mentors in the bar who opened the doors to opportunities for him to succeed. He also became a mentor to younger lawyers, and had the opportunity to share the values his own parents taught him.
After he became a judge, Coroza worked with theOsgoode Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop (ITAW) where participants conduct a trial before a judge with a jury comprised of friends and family.
During these trials, Coroza found that the comments made by jurors both rewarding and informative. He remembers being amazed at how much he learned as a judge from listening to the presentations made by the lawyers.
HON. MR. JUSTICE COROZA: MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Justice Coroza enjoys working with aspiring lawyers, and having the opportunity to share his knowledge with the next generation of lawyers.
Coroza said that there wasn’t anything more rewarding that receiving a message from a participant, thanking them for his making a difference in their lives.
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