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Part Four of Four: Pallett Valo Women Leadership Interviews

Recognizing the Strength of Women in our Community

In 2018, we launched our PV Women’s Network, with a vision to provide business women in our community with a platform for connection and support, while delivering programs that contribute to their personal and professional development and success.

We are continuing our interviews with Pallett Valo’s women leaders, so that we may be inspired by their strength, leadership, and accomplishments.


Maria Ruberto Maria Ruberto is the Head of the Construction Group and a Member of the Commercial Litigation Group

Tell us about your position at Pallett Valo

I joined Pallett Valo shortly after being called to the bar in 2005.  I have been practicing in the area of Construction Law since that time.  I have had the pleasure to be trained by my business partner Anna Esposito. Through Anna’s guidance and mentorship, I have excelled as a leading practitioner in the area of Construction Law.  I am currently the head of the Construction Group and a partner at Pallett Valo.

What are some of your biggest achievements/accomplishments within your legal career and why is this so important to you?

Through the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many experienced lawyers in the construction bar.  I was a member of the Construction and Infrastructure Law section of the Ontario Bar Association for six years and was involved in assisting the section in making recommendations regarding the amendments to the now Construction Act. I am frequently asked to speak to various construction associations and at various seminars for the Construction and Infrastructure Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association.  I was successful as carriage counsel in bringing a motion for the payment into court by the City of Guelph of the ‘minimum holdback’, which expedited distribution of the ‘minimum holdback’ to subcontractor lien claimants in the Urbacon v Guelph holdback decision. This decision is relied upon by many construction lawyers to ensure timely release of holdback funds to subcontractors on construction projects in Ontario.

What advice would you give to women trying to break into a male dominated field?

Be confident, practical, civil and knowledgeable in the area you practice in and you will excel and be respected regardless of whether the area you practice in is viewed as a male dominated field.


Neeta Sandhu Neeta Sandhu is a Member of the Construction Group and the Commercial Litigation Group.

Tell us about your position at Pallett Valo

I am an associate lawyer and member of the Construction Practice at Pallett Valo.  I am proud to say that I am homegrown here at Pallett Valo as I completed a summer at Pallett Valo during my second year of law school and my articles with the firm before returning as an associate.  I have been practising in the area of construction litigation for the past three years under the mentorship of two of the leading practitioners in the area of Construction Law, Anna Esposito and Maria Ruberto.

What is your biggest achievement within your legal career and why is it so important to you?

Over the last three years, I have had the opportunity to develop my advocacy skills here at Pallett Valo.  One of my greatest achievements in my legal career has been the ability to use these skills to help my clients resolve their disputes, whether it be through traditional litigation outlets or through various forms of alternative dispute resolution.  Helping a client see the light at the end of the tunnel feels like a great achievement every single time.

Who have been your role models? What about them do you admire?

I am very fortunate to be surrounded by an abundance of strong and resilient women.  I am a first generation Canadian. My mother and grandmother both immigrated to Canada and sacrificed everything to ensure that I could find my purpose and path.   They are my role models.  They have taught me the meaning of hard work, the value of a dollar, the definition of strength and that there’s no shame in struggling.  In our busy days, we often forget to take a step back and reflect on where we came from. Without them, I could not be doing what I love and I am forever grateful to them for that.  Every victory of mine is a victory for them, too.


Kate Bresner Kate Bresner is a Member of the Employment and Labour Group.

Tell us about your position at Pallett Valo

I am an employment and labour lawyer at Pallett Valo. I assist the partners with a number of matters across the employment and labour practice, including, for example, wrongful dismissals, discipline and termination, drafting agreements and advising on employment standards.

What are some of your biggest achievements/accomplishments within your legal career and why is this so important to you?

While my biggest achievement to date is joining Pallett Valo’s employment and labour practice, perhaps the most meaningful occurred while I was in law school, working with the University of Toronto’s Downtown Legal Services clinic in the family law section. It was my first appearance in the courtroom and I was terrified. Despite my nerves, I persevered, and we were successful in achieving a custody award in our client’s favour. Obviously, I did not pursue a career in family law, but I learned important lessons from that first experience that I carry with me and apply to my employment and labour practice, as well as my life outside of law. First, it’s good to be uncomfortable. Engaging with new experiences is how you grow, learn what is and is not for you, and build your skills and confidence. Second, we are incredibly privileged to be lawyers and be in a position to help others in what tend to be very stressful moments in their lives. The law can be daunting, and helping people navigate it to make their lives and livelihoods easier to manage is the best motivation.

Who have been your role models? What about them do you admire?

There are so many women that I admire for being unapologetically themselves; women that strive to make a difference in the world, and are unafraid to go after what they want and work hard to get there. I am particularly in awe of Michelle Obama, Louise Arbour, and Oprah Winfrey.


Manpreet Brar Manpreet Kaur is a member of the Commercial Litigation and Estate Litigation Groups

Tell us about your position at Pallett Valo

I am an associate in the Commercial Litigation group and the Estate Litigation group. I completed my summer position at Pallett Valo as well as my articling and have been here ever since.

What are some of your biggest achievements/accomplishments within your legal career and why are these so important to you?

I won a summary judgment motion at the Superior Court of Justice and a small claims court trial in the first few years of my career which was exciting and rewarding. These were important because they were firsts. It was the first time I had done a summary judgment motion or trial on my own.

Who have been your role models? What about them do you admire?

My role models have been John Russo, Ted Evangelidis and Craig Ross. These are the partners I work with most and have learned the most from. They have been mentors for me in the first years of my career. I have developed and continue to develop my career as a result of what I have learned from them including, among other things, effective writing style, how to draft legal documents, how to make legal submissions and how to conduct yourself with other counsel. They are experts in their respective areas of practice and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work closely with them.

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