Manjot Singh Hallen is the President of Liberal Party of Canada (BC) & Co-founder of Warnett Hallen Law
Manjot S. Hallen, co-founder of Vancouver-based law firm Warnett Hallen LLP, is the President of the Liberal Party of Canada in British Columbia. Recently elected in March, Hallen is the first Indo-Canadian to become the Liberal Party’s president in British Columbia. A lawyer since 2005, he is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia and the South Asian Bar Association (BC). Hallen, along with his partner Paul Warnett, started Warnett Hallen in 2013. The firm has been growing successfully ever since. With thousands of cases to his credit, personal injury and car accident lawyer Hallen brings a wealth of experience to every client assignment. He shares through DARPAN 10 his success story and his plans ahead.
1. How has your work journey been so far?
I wanted to practise law since I was very young. Upon finishing law school in Ontario, I entered one of the large established firms here in BC, and after a few years moved on to another very well-known Vancouver-based firm.
However, I have always had an entrepreneurial streak, so I decided to start my own firm about four years ago with my partner Paul Warnett. I really value the time I spent with the more established firms learning about the legal and business side of practise but the success that we have had since going on our own confirms that I made the right decision.
2. How do you perceive the growth and success of Warnett Hallen since the time it was initiated?
We take nothing for granted. We work very hard to get our name out to as many people as we can. Meeting and talking to people is an essential part of growing your business, and that is something that we have understood from the very beginning. We are also primarily a referral-based business and there is no greater honour than when a client or former client is so happy with the work you have done that they want to refer a close friend or family member to you. We have had continued annual growth which has now reached a rapid pace. We are proud of the fact that we are about to open a new office downtown across from Nordstroms. It is a reminder of how far we have come.
3. What values do you practise to be successful in what you do?
Three key values guide me in life generally. First is a strong work ethic. I believe you get what you put in and the results are directly correlated to how much effort you give. Second is perseverance. You have to stay focused. There are many obstacles and hurdles along the way. You have to have the strength to overcome them and to learn from your mistakes. Third is compassion. By the time someone comes to your office, they have been in a traumatic, potentially life-altering event like a car accident. Then, they have to take on a multi-million dollar insurance company. They need to feel like someone understands what they are going through and that someone is fighting for them. That’s where we come in.
4. Being a lawyer, what are your views on the law sector of Canada?
Law is so varied and diverse that it’s hard to make just one observation. One thing I can say is that I believe the profession is essential to society. The rule of the law is something that is the foundation of a democracy and lawyers are the ones that allow the law to be applied as it was intended. That is why I believe it to be an honourable profession.
5. What is your biggest achievement so far?
I would have to say building our firm from scratch. Seeing what we’ve been able to achieve in four short years and the resulting success is what I am most proud of. It is always a huge risk when you give up a good paying job and the security that goes with it to build something new, but it is also one of the most worthwhile and rewarding challenges I have ever experienced.
6. You are the President of the Liberal Party of Canada (BC). What goals do you wish to achieve as president for the party?
It has been a great honour to be elected the first Indo-Canadian president of the Liberal Party of Canada in BC. I want to build on the success we had in 2015 where we elected 17 Members of Parliament (MPs) - which is the most that the Liberal Party of Canada has ever had in BC. We have a real opportunity for growth and I want to start focusing on the ridings that we didn’t win in 2015.
The other thing that I want to do is use the appeal of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reach out to people who might not have ever had an interest or any kind of involvement in politics. We want to show people that politics is about ideas and building the type of Canada that we want to see. I have been involved for close to 20 years and it has offered me some of the most fascinating, rewarding and exciting experiences of my life. I encourage everyone who is curious to jump in and see what the Liberal Party is all about.
7. What initiatives do you plan to introduce for the party’s growth?
We are going to help our ridings, and in particular, those that need it the most. We need to offer support across the province in order to spread Liberal ideas and values and to elect even more Liberal MPs in every region of BC in 2019. I also want to help expand the party. There are opportunities for everyone to talk about and debate the most critical issues the country is facing and to help shape policies that can become law. It’s a great time to get involved and be a part of the political process.
8. What, according to you, are the features of the Liberal Party? What does it lack?
The party excels in being a big tent. There are so many different viewpoints and people from different backgrounds and they all feel welcome. We are a party that isn’t based on ideology above all else but rather a party that is looking for the best and most practical solutions to the challenges that Canada faces. But there is always room for improvement. My plan is to work to build an even more robust party in every corner of our province, especially in smaller communities.
9. You have recently joined the Board of Directors for the BC Children’s Hospital Night of Miracles. How important is charity and community involvement to you?
Community involvement is very important to me. In the past few years I have witnessed the South Asian community come together to make the Night of Miracles one of the most high-profile successful charitable dinners in BC. BC Children’s Hospital is an amazing institution and I think it is important that we continue to support their cause, so that families can stay in BC to get the world class treatment they need. I am very proud to be on the Board this year and excited to continue to grow this event and expand the reach and awareness of how important the cause is.
10. What message would you like to give those who wish to follow your path?
There is no path to follow but your own. On that journey there are two pieces of advice that I would like to offer. First is stick to your vision. Don’t allow yourself to be knocked off your path. Pursue what motivates you and work hard to make it happen. Second, and most importantly, life is a long journey and there are peaks and valleys. Look at each experience as something you can learn from and always look to the long term as you progress towards achieving your goals. Hard work always pays off.