Nimali has had a long-held interest in issues relating to health, disability and aging.
Yet after graduating from law school in 1999, she worked at a full-service firm where there was little exposure to the issues that interested her. She was so disillusioned with the practise of law at that time that she thought she might leave it all together to become a VJ at Much Music (which seemed like a reasonable exit strategy at the time). Fortunately for Nimali and her future clients, she did not get the VJ job and instead landed her first law job with the Walkerton Commission of Inquiry working for former Associate Chief Justice Dennis O’Connor. Her time with the Inquiry taught Nimali the value of surrounding herself with lawyers of high integrity who practise in areas of law that she finds interesting and meaningful. And that is what led her to joining Jan Goddard as Jan’s first associate in 2002. Nimali became partners with Jan in 2012, finally and happily confirming that she no longer required an exit strategy from law.
Nimali's practice at Goddard Gamage includes both litigation and solicitor’s work and has a special focus on guardianship, power of attorney issues, elder law, estate planning, estate litigation and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) issues. She has extensive experience assisting families with disabled loved ones with their estate planning, litigation regarding mental capacity issues, and guardianship and ODSP advice. She also has significant experience representing persons whose capacity is being questioned by others, whether they are involved in litigation, doing their own estate planning, or need advice about ODSP legal issues. Nimali enjoys practising in this focussed area of law as it combines her legal expertise and excellent communication skills with her ability to empathize with her clients.
Nimali is recognized in “The Best Lawyers in Canada” (2014-2020) in the field of Trusts and Estates. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Hoffstein Prize, an award from the Ontario Bar Association Trusts and Estates group that recognizes excellence in the field of Trusts and Estates law. In 2009, she was selected and continues to be a member of the Estates Subcommittee of the Civil Rules Committee for the Province of Ontario and in 2017 she was instrumental in creating and continues to be a member of the Rule 7 Subcommittee of the Civil Rules Committee which aims to improve the Rules of Civil Procedure for parties under disability. Nimali is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience and is frequently asked to chair and present papers at programs for the Ontario Bar Association, the Law Society of Ontario, Cambridge Forums, and Osgoode Law School Professional Development. She also frequently provides education in her areas of expertise to other professionals at various law firms, financial institutions, and community organizations.
Nimali is married to a full-time musician she met while trying to become a VJ, and has a daughter, a son, a step-daughter, and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
- Certificate in Elder Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, Osgoode Professional Development 2015
- Bar Admission Course Law Society of Upper Canada 2001
- Bachelor of Laws University of Ottawa 1999
- Bachelor of Arts University of Windsor 1996
- 2014-2020 One of the best lawyers in Canada, Trusts and Estates: The Best Lawyers in Canada.
- Goddard Gamage LLP chosen four times in the past decade by Canadian Lawyer magazine as one of the Top Wills, Trusts and Estates boutique law firms in Canada, including for 2019-2020.
- Hoffstein Book Prize, presented by the Ontario Bar Association recognizing excellence in the field of trusts and estates, 2014.
Publications and Presentations
- Co-chair of “Estates and Trusts Summit – Day 2”, Law Society of Ontario (LSO), Oct 17, 2019
- “Bust a Move: Litigation Strategies When Challenging a Trust”, paper co-written with Jessie Lamont, presentation, B’Nai B’rith, Trust Troubles - Litigation, Tax and Ethical Issues, Jun 4, 2019
- Chair of module: “Managing Consent & Capacity Issues in Wills & Estates Practice”, Osgoode Intensive Program in Wills and Estates, Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development, Mar 19, 2019
- “Annotated power of attorney for personal care: The Nature and Extent of the Duty to Consult”, OBA, Annotated Power of Attorney for Property and Personal Care, Feb 21, 2019
- “Black on Bay Street: One year later, has anything changed?”, panelist, Young Women and Law, program on diversity and inclusion, Nov 29, 2018
- “Senior Estates and Trusts Practitioners’ Forum”, co-chair of national 2.5 day conference and co-discussion leader for topic “Able and Willing? The Challenges of Having a Client Who May Lack the Capacity to Instruct You”, Cambridge Forums, Nov 4 - 6, 2018
- “The Essentials on Capacity and Consent”, presentation, OBA – Health Law Group and Estates Law Group Program, Oct 23, 2018
- “Drawing Back the Curtain: Challenging the Conduct of Estate Trustees, Attorneys, and Guardians”, co-authored paper with Jessie Lamont, presentation by Nimali Gamage, OTLA Fall Conference, Oct 19, 2018
- Co-chair of “Estates and Trusts Summit – Day 2”, LSUC, Estates and Trusts Summit, Oct 11, 2018
- Chair of module: “Managing Consent & Capacity Issues in Wills & Estates Practice”, Osgoode Intensive Program in Wills and Estates, Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development, Mar 27, 2018
- “What’s New in Estates, Trusts and Incapacity Law?”, paper and presentation, OBA, OBA Institute 2018, Trusts and Estates Law, Feb 8, 2018
- “Estates and Trusts Practitioners’ Forum”, co-chair of national 2.5 day conference and co-discussion leader for topic “Bespoke Solutions: Trusts for Vulnerable Individuals”, Cambridge Forums, Nov 5 - 7, 2017
- “Contested guardianship and battling attorneys”, paper and presentation, OBA, Trusts and Estates Group Passport Series programs, Oct 24, 2017
- “Protectionism vs. Paternalism: Developments in Consent and Capacity Litigation”, co-authored paper with Jessie Lamont, presentation by Nimali Gamage, LSUC, Estates and Trusts Summit, Oct 16, 2017
- “Top Tips for Bringing and Responding to the Challenge”, paper and presentation, The Advocates’ Society: Will Challenge Advocacy for Estate Litigators, Sept 28, 2017
To view the entire list of Nimali's past publications and speaking engagements please review her C.V.
- From 2009 to the present, Member of the Estates Subcommittee of the Civil Rules Committee for the Province of Ontario, a committee whose mandate is to make recommendations to the Attorney General for rules in relation to civil practice and procedure for the Court of Appeal, the Superior Court of Justice and the Small Claims Court.
- Since 2017, instrumental in the formation of and continues to be a member of the Rule 7 Subcommittee of the Civil Rules Committee for the Province of Ontario, a committee whose mandate is to make recommendations to the Attorney General regarding significant amendments to Rule 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure which deals with parties under disability in litigation.
- 2013-2014, Member of Law Commission of Ontario, Capacity of Adults with Mental Disabilities and the Federal RDSP, member of advisory group.
- Ontario Bar Association
- Toronto Lawyers’ Association
- Cambridge Forums Senior Estates and Trusts Practitioners