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Fiona Wong

Woman with long straight hair smiling and wearing a business jacket.
  • Category: Emerging Alumni Award
  • UVic degree: Law Juris Doctor, 2020
  • Current hometown: Vancouver, BC
  • Birthplace: Hong Kong

About Fiona

Fiona Wong practises labour, employment, civil litigation and human-rights law at Overholt Law LLP. Her passion for labour and employment law began while working at WorkSafeBC (Workers’ Compensation Board), where she assisted injured workers initiating claims. Another passion of Fiona’s is volunteering. During law school, she founded the First Generation Network at UVic to reduce barriers for students who are the first in their family to attend post-secondary institutions. She’s held various roles, including that of President, at the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC (FACL BC), where she helped produce an award-winning documentary, But I Look Like a Lawyer, and launched a podcast featuring Asian-Canadian lawyers.

What’s your favourite memory of attending UVic?

Working in the Faculty of Law admissions office and serving as a member of the admissions committee in my last year of law school. It was an honour to be able to sit down with Professors Supriya Routh and Chris Tollefson to review personal statements received from thousands of applicants across the country and have a say in shaping the incoming law class. I found it to be a special experience, being able to witness the admissions process from the other side of the table. Being admitted to UVic was a life-changing experience for me.

What skills or traits are needed to be good at what you do?

The ability to listen and empathize. I represent both employers and employees in my current role as a labour and employment lawyer, and there are often unique situations that require someone to actively listen to find the right solution. On the employer side, they may be dealing with tough employee issues and want to treat them right, but also keeping in mind the realities of difficult economic conditions. On the employee side, whether it is a human-rights discrimination issue, bullying or harassment issue, or someone going through a sudden termination of employment after decades of dedicated service to their employer, these are all life-altering experiences and I see it as my duty as a lawyer to assist them through these challenging times as best as I can.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? 

Becoming a lawyer and being able to help people. I represented an employee whose employment was terminated and [they] lost a close family member [during] the process. We went to mediation and luckily reached a positive resolution in the end. When we finished, she hugged me in tears with her family member’s photo in hand. She told me it was a very emotional experience to go through, but that she was glad that I represented her and she advocated for her rights. That experience made me realize that I chose the right career (thanks to my education from UVic) and I find it rewarding each day.

What’s the last great thing you’ve watched or read? 

Love After Divorce. I usually don’t watch dating shows, but this one was special because it featured people from all over the US (spoiler alert: including Canada) and it featured a demographic that is under-represented in TV shows and within the Asian community, and that is divorcees. In Asian culture especially, it is often taboo to talk about divorce and re-marriage, so featuring people who have gone through divorce and are now looking for a new partner broke all sorts of barriers previously undiscussed. It was a dating show that felt genuine and authentic to me because the contestants put themselves in a vulnerable place in search of true love.

What advice would you give someone who’s about to graduate or feeling uncertain about their future? 

Reach out to UVic alumni such as me to talk about career options. I believe everyone will find their way eventually. For those who are privileged enough and able to afford it, taking some time off after graduating will also be very rewarding and refreshing to the mind. We often feel the need to rush things so that we don’t appear to be “behind” our peers or in life. But I believe that if you set your mind on something, you will always be able to achieve it even if it may take a bit longer or a detour to get there. And in the process, if you need to change your mind and pivot with your objectives, be flexible and open to those changes and you would be surprised where you might end up. For example, I never took employment law in law school but I am now exclusively a labour and employment lawyer!

About the Distinguished Alumni Awards

Nominations for the 2024 awards are now closed. Nominations for the 2025 Distinguished Alumni Awards are open through Oct. 18, 2024.