People of Downtown - Cara Lebenzon

Posted on : Tuesday, December 06, 2022


In the back of her mind, Cara Lebenzon always knew she was going to practice law. This career path was further encouraged by her parents. While she didn’t always know why, she came to learn that her proficient skills in reading and writing alongside her love for working with people would be perfectly suited to the career that had long held her attention. 


In the current day, Cara now practices as an associate at the Hadford Defence Group, a criminal defence law firm. 


Cara began her post-secondary degree journey in Calgary, the city she originally grew up in. Starting out as an English major at the University of Calgary, she then developed a fond interest in international relations and politics. This then led her to study Middle-Eastern politics. Fast forwarding a couple years, Cara found herself completing Law School at the University of Ottawa. She described this experience as a pivotal moment in her career where she fell in love with criminal law through various courses that led her to the position that she is in today. According to Cara, her experience at the University of Ottawa was additionally enhanced due to the school’s proximity to the Supreme Court of Canada, where she got to meet supreme court judges and people from all around the country. Nearing the end of her educational career, Cara came across a job posting on the U of O website for a position back in her home province. 


“I applied, and right away it was just an amazing fit, and we hit it off”


She was able to do her year of articling at Hadford Defence Group which she described as an extremely positive experience for her where she encountered challenges and learned a lot. Cara added that this opportunity was a huge adjustment that gave her more experience and insight into the practical aspects of client management, working at a firm, and going to court everyday. Within the first few months of articling, Cara admits that she was hooked in criminal defence, particularly by getting to help people navigate the criminal justice system and by the challenging issues and different problems one would encounter in trial work and going to court. “I think it’s really rewarding when you can find a career that challenges you, so that's why I’m here to stay”, stated Cara. She added that criminal defence is an area of law that is often very misunderstood.


“Everybody, regardless of their race, gender, or background, has rights according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We don’t just provide a service to people but we really help them defend their rights against a very powerful government when they are facing criminal charges. Whatever the criminal charge may be, everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence and has the right to a strong defence. 


In addition, a lot of our clients struggle with mental health and addiction issues. Facing criminal charges doesn't make someone a bad person, and I encourage members of our community to have an open mind about what their neighbours may be going through. It’s really important, especially around the holidays, to have compassion and empathy.”


In her own time, Cara is an avid reader and loves music, movies, travelling and gaining new perspectives. Some of her hobbies outside of work don’t stray too far from her passion of criminal law as she enjoys keeping up with the news, case law, different criminal law decisions, and true crime podcasts and shows. She and her coworkers strive to support local businesses, and love a trip to the Taro Noodle House or Lighthouse for sushi!