Roslyn Tsao

By Karen Gross / Photo by Jeff Kirk

From the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Nexus

As managing partner at Epstein Cole, one of the busiest family law practices in Toronto, you’d be forgiven for assuming Roslyn Tsao has little time for anything beyond work and possibly a sliver of personal space. Yet not only is Tsao, LLB 1991, one of the most respected family law practitioners around, she is also a tireless volunteer, board member, mentor to young law students, organizer of milestone reunions, and determined fundraiser. Currently, Tsao is co-chair of her law class campaign, with the goal of building a $200,000 bursary for future U of T law students. That last endeavour on the list has been a bit of challenge, Tsao notes wryly, because the class of 1991 was known to hold a bit of a grudge. “Our year was the year we had no building. For three years, we had no law library, and we were taking classes at Sid Smith,” she says with a laugh. “We have had some bitterness in our year, but after 25 years, I think we’re getting over it.”

Tsao got over it as soon as she graduated. Her dedicated volunteer work within the law school earned her an Arbor Award in 2015. Outside the law school, she has co-chaired the university’s Academic Discipline Tribunal since 2007, which oversees students campus-wide. Why does she do it? “Personally, the law school and the law degree gave me so many opportunities. I see that as sort of a seed to all the things I have done professionally and personally.”

She’s quite sure most of her classmates feel the same way, though it may have taken some a longer time to get there. “It goes beyond brick and mortar,” Tsao says. “There are intangible benefits to ensuring that excellent students continue to graduate from this law school. It’s an investment in our own reputation, and in paying it forward to students in need.”