Dhaliwal made waves in the corporate law world after leading the legal team on Western Coal’s $3.3 billion acquisition by Walter Energy in 2011.The deal topped the list of biggest mergers and acquisitions in B.C. that year.
“It’s the biggest piece of work I’ve done in a leadership role,” says Dhaliwal. “It’s gotten a lot of recognition, particularly for a transaction based out of Vancouver, not Toronto.”
Dhaliwal was also one of three lawyers invited by the premier’s office to go on a B.C. government trade mission to India in 2011. He described the trip as “an eye-opener.”
“I haven’t been to India for a very long time and I didn’t realize how much of a buzz there is in India in terms of wanting to make their mark on the world,” he said.
It’s been a sometimes dizzying rise to the top for the former small-town boy from Williams Lake. After studying history at UBC, Dhaliwal took the LSAT on a whim, just to “see how I’d do.” He enjoyed the intellectual challenge of law school, but found the intensely competitive atmosphere at the University of Toronto intimidating.
Irv Laskin, a partner at Lawson and Lundell who acted as a mentor to Dhaliwal, helped ease his transition into the professional world.
“I have a lot of gratitude towards him because he showed a lot of interest in me as a person and, as my family grew, to my family as well,” he said.
Dhaliwal is the co-founder of the South Asian Bar Association of BC, an organization that promotes mentorship to South Asian lawyers and provides legal education to members of the South Asian community. He sits on the leadership council for the Vancouver Indian Summer Arts Festival and has organized fundraising events for BC Children’s Hospital. •
photo | Kent Kallberg Studios