My First Year at Selendy Gay

My First Year at Selendy Gay

Just a few months after joining Selendy Gay, Mathew Elder found himself at trial as part of the team that ultimately secured the firm’s largest recovery to date - $855 million on behalf of Cerberus Capital Management. 

Some may find that fast-pace intimidating, but Mathew specifically joined Selendy Gay for the opportunity to take ownership quickly. After clerking, he set out to join a litigation firm that gave associates significant responsibility early on. Selendy Gay’s reputation at trial, as well as the firm’s commitment to public interest and particularly LGBTQ+ rights, made the firm the clear choice for him.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career before joining Selendy Gay. 

I went to law school in Toronto and then spent my first year of practice at a large New York firm, focusing mostly on antitrust work. I then clerked for Justice Karakatsanis at the Supreme Court of Canada, which was a really formative experience for me. While clerking, I got exposure to a broader range of cases, from high profile constitutional cases to criminal cases.

How did you first learn about Selendy Gay? What attracted you to the firm? 

I had an amazing clerkship experience, and I was looking for a firm that would continue many of the best aspects of that experience. I wanted the chance to really dive into each of my cases and take ownership of them. It was clear to me that Selendy Gay is a firm that really values the input of every member on a team, no matter how junior.

I also knew that I wanted real exposure to trial work, especially in complex commercial cases. Trials are really where all of the pieces in a case come together, and I wanted to see that for myself. I knew that Selendy Gay was, at its core, a trial firm—our reputation really stands out in that category. 

I also knew about the firm’s commitment to public interest work, and LGBTQ+ rights in particular, and that really stood out to me.

What stands out about your first year? 

Within weeks of joining the firm, I was on the Cerberus team helping with summary judgement briefing, and a few months after that, we were at trial—an incredible first trial experience for me. We had a relatively small team, so everyone was deeply involved in virtually all aspects of the trial. I had the opportunity to second chair a cross examination of a witness, help with drafting pre- and post-trial briefing, and was able to take the lead on a range of evidentiary issues that came up at trial.

Apart from that, what really stands out about my first year are the different roles I've been able to take on in my cases and the variety of work I’ve been able to do, work across the entire lifecycle of litigation—from early case development all the way to drafting appellate briefs.

How have you grown professionally in your first year? 

I have had a more varied first year at Selendy Gay than I even expected, both in terms of the subject matters I have worked on and the types of experiences I have been able to gain. Selendy Gay provides a lot of opportunities for its associates to really dig into their cases and then trusts them with real responsibility on those cases. That can include leading meet and confers opposite far more senior lawyers on the other side, taking on case management responsibilities, being the point person for client contact, and being closely involved in setting case strategy.   

You also quickly became active on the Associates Committee. What has that been like? 

I joined the Associate Committee as the Tech Captain. I am very interested in the ways we can leverage technology proactively as lawyers. The Tech Captain role, and the Associate Committee more broadly, is one way that Selendy Gay seeks out the input of the associates.

What are you looking forward to in the next phase of your career at Selendy Gay? 

I’m excited to continue to grow as a lawyer here. I feel lucky to be on a really interesting mix of cases at the moment. I know that I will continue to be challenged over the next year with different opportunities and experiences.