Joshua Schachnow - The lawyer ushering immigration into the modern age
Updated: Aug 19
Meet Joshua Schachnow, the innovator behind our latest feature: Visto
Joshua is not your usual briefcase minded lawyer, but rather open-case minded.
Joshua graduated with his Juris Doctorate degree in 2016 from Western University and was called to the bar in 2017. He is a Toronto-based lawyer that managed a firm of his own, Joshua Schachnow Law, prior to Visto.
His practice focuses on corporate immigration law. More specifically, he helps Canadian companies hire and sponsor tech workers, and helps skilled workers from around the world navigate Canadian immigration so they can start a new life in Canada.
However, during his years of practice, he noticed the redundancy of the Canadian immigration process and that certain aspects could very easily be automated. In turn, this could elevate the efficiency of his practice to the nth degree.
“Nobody was including technology in the practice of immigration law. It’s a shame that the industry wasn’t benefiting from technology and automation. The processes are pretty automatable themselves, it’s not a rocket science type of law with a million factors going on. Once you determine which application you want to go down, it’s pretty straightforward.”
A year later Visto became a reality.
Visto automates the immigration process, specifically the Canadian Express Entry program, which is a permanent resident program targeting skilled workers.
How has this innovative inclusion of technology in immigration law impacted the way Joshua approaches his practice?
“It has made me rethink every step of practicing law. The practice of law has really not changed very much forever. Even though the practice of law relies heavily on the human brain, what you realize pretty quickly as you become more comfortable with technology, is that there’s probably more than we think that can be automated or replaced by technology. In short, it has allowed me to systematize my approach to practicing law.”
Unfortunately, immigration law, along with the justice system as a whole, is still very much in the Mayflower days, so how are legal innovators to succeed?
"Just really focus on solving a problem, a clear problem. Especially when you’re starting something new and applying technology somewhere that hasn’t had technology applied to it before. There’s a learning curve that you’re going to have to get over, and your users too. Also, figure out exactly how to solve that problem in a way that users can get behind, it may not happen overnight. Keep talking to your users, get feedback, and adjust until you find something that fits.”
It is no secret that the practice of law can expand its inclusion of legal innovations, but how can it be made easier for innovators to enter the legal space?
According to Joshua,
“First, we need more innovators. It’s understandable why so few lawyers go into tech, because it’s a lucrative enough profession. If we want legal tech to catch up with other industries, we’re going to need more lawyers to not necessarily give up their career as a lawyer or leave their law firms, but start thinking more along the lines of helping people get involved in tech and more innovation in the industry. Second, we need more of the regulators in the law societies to get on board as well. We can only go as far as the regulations will allow us. They could help support and inspire creative ideas so they can actually get off the ground. It has to be a joint effort.”
Joshua, along with the Visto team, continues to push the barriers in place and hopes to expand Visto’s services to other countries.
You can find out more about Visto here: Visto
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