David Wong

Forty Under 40 Winner 2016: Partner, Fasken Martineau, Age 38

While studying biology at the University of British Columbia, David Wong thought he was on track to become a doctor. But after spending time as a researcher at a hospital, he discovered that wasn’t going to work out.

“My father was a doctor in medicine,” said the partner at Fasken Martineau law firm. “When I was in undergrad, I was thinking about going that route. I spent a year doing some research in a hospital and I didn’t like the environment and decided to switch paths.”

He chose law instead and was called to the B.C. bar in 2007. At 33, after only three years at the practice, he was named head of the firm’s human rights practice group.

Wong had found a different way to help people.

“I was always interested in human rights in a way,” he said. Having grown up with a non-Caucasian last name, Wong said he never experienced discrimination, but was aware of it.

“It was always on my radar,” he said.

Wong said practising human rights law came naturally.

“I personally find it to be an interesting area,” he said. “It’s unclear what we mean by some of the concepts when it comes to human rights law. Obviously it has an impact on people.”

Wong has spent time volunteering at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Camp Goodtimes and he serves on the board of the Hoop-Law Society, an organization that raises money for children’s charities.

“There was a time when I was thinking about becoming a teacher,” he said. “The energy I get from being around kids, and still get it today when I go to coach soccer – it’s just the energy and the shift that it provides me from my everyday stressful life. It’s reinvigorating.”

He said his legal career has benefited greatly from strong mentorship over the years. “It’s a demanding job,” he said. “I have three kids at home and I’d love to spend more time with them and my wife. Finding that balance is key, and if I’m going to be successful then I have to put in the time.”

Join us to celebrate the 2016 Forty under under 40 Awards January 25, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit www.biv.com/events/40under40