Jennifer Brown is the Managing Editor of Canadian Lawyer InHouse and Law Times. She has been a business magazine writer and editor for 10 years covering the IT, occupational health and safety, and security sectors for the business-to-business press prior to arriving at InHouse. She was also a newspaper reporter for five years in the Greater Toronto Area covering health care and education before going to work at a daily news online portal reporting on the technology sector.
Despite much talk over the last decade around boosting diversity and inclusion in law firms, women and racialized lawyers continue to be under-represented in the Canadian legal profession with Caucasian men continuing to far outnumber those two groups in senior leadership roles, according to a study from the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.
In fact, the study shows Caucasian men who responded to the survey have the greatest odds of being an equity partner, and they are seven times more likely than racialized women to be an equity partner.
The study, “Diversity by the Numbers: The Legal Profession,” conducted by the CCDI in partnership with the Canadian Bar Association, shows the representation of minority groups in the legal profession has not changed substantially over the last three years that the CCDI has been collecting data. In 2014 and 2015, 73.99 per cent and 76.88 per cent of senior leader respondents were men. In 2016, 75.34 per cent of senior leader respondents to the survey were men and 90.78 per cent of senior leaders were Caucasian.
In 2014 and 2015, 89.28 per cent and 88.91 per cent of senior leader respondents were Caucasian respondents, respectively. Another statistic of note is that 81.9 per cent of senior leaders are equity partners.
“Results from 2014, 2015 and 2016 do not show a shift towards a more diverse and inclusive workforce, particularly in partner and leadership roles,” the report states.
The study, sponsored by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, Dentons Canada LLP, McCarthy Tétrault LLP and Miller Thomson LLP, shows women and racialized respondents are under-represented in equity partner and senior leader roles and over-represented as associates and articling or summer students.
Authors of the report say factors contributing to the perpetuation of these numbers include “inflexible working conditions, rigid firm culture, high client expectations and overall economics of the profession.”
While some might point to a tough economy since 2008, Deanna Matzanke, director, measurement and analytics at the CCDI, says the economy is a “significant red herring” and what the report shows is “a compelling validation” that the current law firm model makes it difficult for women and minorities to rise to equity partner positions.
“ . . . the process of billable hours, the emphasis placed on client relationships, and the hierarchal ‘Old Boys Club’ network in law firms do not support or foster a diverse and inclusive environment.”
The report goes on to say that women find themselves in a difficult position when faced with trying to balance family needs with law firm demands. Also, “ . . . lawyers from minority groups do not have the same social and cultural capital to network and find mentors who relate to them, because the pool is very small.”
That means many leave the law firm culture for more flexible and accommodating environments elsewhere, such as in-house roles or solo practice.
Matzanke, a lawyer herself, says the results of the study are disappointing and show that diversity and inclusion are not being successfully implemented in the legal profession, despite the fact the pool of potential lawyers in law school has increased in diversity and at the associate level at law firms shows fairly high diversity.
The majority of racialized respondents in the legal profession are Asian, while all other groups show very small representation.
A total of 11 firms from nine provinces and one territory participated in the 2016 survey. Firms were invited to participate directly by CCDI via the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network, and the Canadian Bar Association sent a letter to all members.
“There’s nothing surprising here really,” says Level Chan, a partner with Stewart McKelvey LLP in Halifax and the CBA’s representative on the CCDI’s advisory committee.
“As to why we’re not moving the needle much, I think it’s a matter of retention and advancement, and as you see particularly with women, there continues to be over-representation at the associate and entry level areas of the firms, but we’re not keeping them. I think that in turn is translating to having fewer people available for senior roles and as equity partners. That is the ongoing issue we’ve had in the legal profession.”
Chan argues the economy has played a factor as he says “many law firms” have gone through rounds of layoffs and that would impact the ability of people to get into partnership roles as well.
In-house lawyers and their powerful role in the market is also a big factor. With law firms under regular scrutiny by corporate clients on use of the billable hour, the ability to maintain revenue streams has been a challenge.
“My anecdotal observation is that, of course, when there is less work there is less billable hours and less billings that would translate into the numbers admitted to partnership,” he says. “One of the common responses from clients to reduce their legal costs is to hire in-house lawyers and find internal resources to do due diligence or review contracts, so that is driving that change on the in-house side, too.”
There are also more attractive roles for in-house lawyers seeking something different from the usual private practice path.
Chan says from what he has seen, those lawyers leaving big law firms are women and other minorities being drawn to in-house positions offering certain elements not offered in traditional law firm compensation schemes, such as pensions, benefits or other financial incentives.
“So long as you’re not getting racialized lawyers as partners, you’re similarly not really going to get racialized people in leadership roles and that also applies with women,” says Chan. “Certainly, I think firms are making a concerted effort to try and increase representation in leadership and I think there have been attempts to get more women in senior roles. While women are still underrepresented, there are still a larger pool of women to draw on for partners than there are racialized lawyers.”
Kate Broer, partner with Dentons Canada and a member of the CCDI’s advisory committee, agrees with Chan that lawyers have a “broader range of options” other than the traditional path of private practice and many are moving into in-house roles or to other opportunities.
The war on the billable hour may also be influencing who remains at the top of many law firms. Firms are generally taking on fewer students, and Broer says gone are the days of “guaranteed hire-backs.”
But times are changing and if firms are to retain certain talent and appeal to a new generation of clients that want to see greater diversity of talent and for their own staff who want better life balance, firms will have to better address the issue. Broer says these days it’s not only women who want to take time away from their careers to raise children but men, too.
She also points out that women are gaining voice at the top of some large firms. This year, Dentons Canada elected five women to its board of 10 directors in Canada. That is an increase from two out of 10 in the previous year and in 2009 none of the members of the board were women.
Although the CCDI tried to include Canada’s 22 law schools in the survey to provide a comparison of students enrolled against the broader profession, the schools did not participate this year, although it was originally scheduled to be conducted this year.
“My impression is there is a huge importance in getting that law school data,” says Chan. “I know in speaking to deans at law schools they do see it as an issue and are working on it, but no law school has really been particularly open and transparent with respect to that other than programs they would already have in place.”
Lawyers for the plaintiff in a youth solitary confinement class action against the province of Ontario are appealing an order that their client produce his young offender records to the Crown.
|James Sayce says judge doesn’t have jurisdiction over young offender records.|
J.K. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Ontario involves allegations of Ontario’s “over-reliance on the use of solitary confinement on minors in Ontario’s youth justice facilities.”
The class action claims $100 million in damages for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty and $25 million in punitive damages. It covers everyone detained or incarcerated at youth detention centres from Jan. 1, 2007 to the present and were placed in secure isolation while under the age of 18. Lawyers for J.K anticipate the proposed class to “number in the thousands.”
J.K. alleges the Crown was “negligent, in breach of fiduciary duties, and has breached the Class Members’ rights under s. 7,9, and 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
On Dec. 22, 2016, Justice Paul Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ordered J.K. to produce his young offender records to the Crown. Perell ruled that records relating to J.K.’s crimes and incarceration, which took place when he was a minor, are relevant to his motion to certify the matter as a class proceeding.
Perell said that “by commencing this class action and by delivering an affidavit, J.K. has waived his right of privacy while at the same time preserving the rights of privacy of the putative Class Members, who under the Class Proceedings Act, 1992, are protected from discovery without leave of the court.
“To be a representative plaintiff is to be a champion for the class and I anticipate that J.K. will be prepared to be a champion and make the necessary disclosure of relevant documents,” Perell said in his decision, noting “appropriate orders” can be made to seal the court file and that J.K. would be protected by the deemed undertaking rule.
The order asks for J.K.’s records for before, during and after his incarceration in a number of youth justice facilities in Ontario. The documents include behaviour reports, youth management plans, serious occurrence reports, secure isolation release plans, secure isolation observation placement review, secure isolation observation logs, and other correspondence.
Before the age of 18, J.K. was convicted of several criminal offences, and incarcerated at three different youth centres. He was placed in secure isolation several times in two of the locations, the first time when he was 15 years old. At one, he said the placements lasted up to 12 hours each time in a “small soiled room with no bathroom, bed, chair or mat.”
The Crown had also requested a full criminal history file from the Canadian Police Information Centre, however Justice Perell refused to order the production of that file.
J.K.’s lawyers, Koskie Minsky LLP and Sutts Strosberg LLP, are appealing Perell’s decision and have brought a motion to stay the order pending the appeal.
“Everything Justice Perell ordered to be produced is protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act,” says James Sayce, an associate from Koskie Minsky.
“We think there are serious grounds for appeal and that the Court of Appeal will take issue with some of Justice Perell’s reasoning and what’s in the order,” he says. “We think Justice Perell has made some errors.”
“The acts, the occurrences, events that take place while you are incarcerated or while being rehabilitated are not to be published to the public or to individual litigants in litigation,” says Sayce.
Criminal lawyer Daniel Brown points to R. v. Sheik-Qasim that covers the rationale for protecting such records.
Brown says while there are a number of scenarios where someone could gain access to YCJA records, none in s. 119 of the Act would apply to defending a civil lawsuit.
“It’s surprising that this judge would order that the young person needs to disclose his records in order to advance a civil action. It would appear to run contrary to the principles of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the purpose behind sealing those records in the first place,” he says.
The Crown argues that the Youth Records are relevant to the certification motion with respect to whether J.K. was in secure isolation, the particulars of the institution and time spent in isolation and whether he is an “appropriate representative plaintiff” as well as to test his “credibility on the matters about which he deposed in his affidavit.”
As it stands, J.K. has been ordered to obtain the files and produce them to the Civil Law office Crown.
Sayce says the relevance of ordering the records to be produced is at issue as a certification motion is not about the merits of the claim but asks, “Can it work as a class action?”
In his decision, Perell acknowledged that “a judge, managing a class action is not a judge of the Youth Justice Court” and that he doesn’t have jurisdiction to make an order under the Youth Criminal Justice Act to grant access to records. However, he decided that:
“…it is patently obvious to me that the requested Youth Records are relevant to the certification criterion, most particularly to the common issues and preferable procedure criteria.
“The proposed common issues for the class actions concern the details of the circumstances and duration of placement in secure isolation.”
Sayce says the case is about a “systemic problem”, not about one individual’s experience.
The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth released a report in 2015 entitled It’s a Matter of Time, which provides details on the use of solitary confinement on children in Ontario.
The report takes issue with the use of solitary confinement in Ontario’s youth justice facilities and advocates for greater safeguards and/or the complete eradication of the use of solitary confinement on children in Ontario.
McCarthy Tétrault LLP has acquired e-discovery law firm Wortzmans in an arrangement that will see Susan Wortzman join the firm as an equity partner.
|McCarthy Tétrault LLP CEO Dave Leonard and Susan Wortzman who is now an equity partner at McCarthy's.|
“It’s a little unusual for law firms to do deals like this, but we saw it was a great opportunity for us and we think it’s going to be a great fit,” says McCarthy Tétrault CEO Dave Leonard.
Wortzman says it’s an opportunity for her firm to further develop its platform.
“We’d been thinking about this for some time and the reason we decided to do this now was because the fit was so good with McCarthy’s,” she says.
Wortzmans employs a large group of contract lawyers but in terms of permanent lawyers three will be going over to McCarthy’s.
“We’re a very multi-disciplinary team. We have lawyers, project managers and a forensic engineer and support staff,” she says.
Leonard says the parties are still figuring out “exactly what the structure is going to look like,” but he notes that as Wortzman’s has a “tremendous brand” in the e-discovery area the firm wants to leverage that but must also work through all the potential conflicts.
“For the time being and perhaps for the foreseeable future, we will keep them as separate entities. As of right now, we are keeping them completely separate — both have their own physical space and only Susan’s people will have access to the matters she is working on and vice versa with the firm,” Leonard says. “We will see how that plays out and how our clients react and how Susan’s clients react. So far, the reaction has been positive.”
Ultimately, Leonard says he is hopeful the strength of Wortzmans will be “so strong” that other law firms will continue to engage Wortzmans for managed document review.
“We’ll be having some discussions with some of those firms in the not too distant future about that,” he adds.
Wortzman says it’s currently “business as usual” for Wortzmans as it is dealing with clients to see who will go with them to McCarthy’s.
“For clients it will be seamless because they will have the same pricing and the same team working on their matters,” she says. “No question, it will be challenging for some but for corporate clients and public sector agencies it probably doesn’t matter as much.”
It was two years ago that Deloitte LLP acquired ATD Legal Services PC, launched in 2010 by former Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP partner Shelby Austin.
Wortzman, who founded the firm in 2007, said she was looking at other options but in the end McCarthy’s was the “best model for me.”
Other important factors to her include the fact McCarthy’s wanted to keep the Wortzman brand alive and that it wants to leverage technology to manage data more for legal analytics.
“It’s an interesting time and some of the accounting firms are interested in this space and in our business and so we’re seeing this as an opportunity to have a good offering for our clients going forward,” Leonard says.
While McCarthy’s has had an e-discovery and information management practice, over time, Leonard says, it became “more of a challenge” to do it in the traditional law firm model as people like Austin and Wortzman started their businesses.
“We think this is going to be a great addition to our ability to deliver services in a more innovative, cost-effective way to clients but with the McCarthy’s quality and Wortzman quality,” he says. “Without having to outsource to a third-party vendor, we’ve now brought it in-house.”
Leonard acknowledges that in a competitive legal market firms like McCarthy’s are competing with the big four accounting firms and e-discovery is one where there will be more competition in the document review/information governance area.
“I think the whole area of information management — wherever you have large buckets of information that needs to be captured, analyzed and reviewed — we want to be one of the choices for our clients for doing that work,” he says. “We’re doubling down in that business because we see it as an area that is synergistic in the rest of the offerings we have for our clients.”
Leonard would not disclose what the investment was in acquiring Wortzmans into the firm, but he says there was “significant scrutiny” on both sides and the McCarthy’s board of partners unanimously endorsed the recommendation to proceed with the transaction. It was rolled out to equity partners of the firm just before Christmas.
“I’ve got nothing but enthusiastic responses. It’s a tough market and we’re all looking for growth and this is an area where we think we can make some gains,” he says.
As Wortzmans is a law firm, the deal is similar to two law firms merging, and while there are rules of professional responsibility that have to be upheld and conflict issues that have to be managed, the transaction did not require law society approval.
Updated on Jan. 5, 2017 to include comments from Susan Wortzman.
A British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint filed by a Vancouver lawyer who alleges his former employer asked him not to bring his male partner to a firm social event, and that he remove references in his online firm bio to involvement in the Canadian Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity group.
|Ellen Low, partner at Whitten & Lublin in Toronto, says complaints are best heard soon after incidents occur.|
The tribunal indicated to both Yuen and Direction Legal that the complaint was filed outside the six-month time limit in B.C. and requested submissions on its timeliness. The Code provides that a complaint must be filed within six months of the alleged contravention.
In determining whether acceptance of a late-filed complaint is in the public interest, the tribunal considers whether there is anything “particularly unique, novel, or unusual about the complaint that has not been addressed in other complaints.”
“Where a complaint raises a novel issue on behalf of a vulnerable group, for example, that is a factor that may be considered in weighing the public interest in accepting the complaint,” the decision states.
In a decision issued Dec. 13 by tribunal member Barbara Korenkiewicz, the complaint was dismissed, rejecting Yuen’s reasons for delay in filing the complaint, saying they “do not weigh in favour of acceptance of the complaint in the public interest.”
Yuen alleged discrimination occurred on or about July 21, 2014 when he says Teng told him he should remove certain references from the Chinese version of his bio that appeared on the firm’s website, such as that he serves as national co-chairman of the CBA’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities Conference. He also claimed Teng told him on or about July 28, 2014 that he should not bring his male partner to the firm’s summer social event.
Yuen claims Teng said Chinese clients would not understand his being gay.
He described feeling “degraded, ashamed and worthless.” He ultimately resigned and left Direction Legal on Nov. 18, 2015.
When contacted by Legal Feeds, Teng stated in an email response: “Mr. Yuen’s allegations are unproven. We dispute such allegations. There was neither the need nor the opportunity to respond to same because of the tribunal member’s dismissal of his application for an extension of the deadline for filing a complaint.”
Yuen said he feared that if he filed the complaint while still employed by the firm he would be dismissed. He also stated that he delayed in filing, in part, because he had only recently learned that he could have filed a complaint.
Direction Legal argued that Yuen’s claim in that regard was not credible given that he is actively involved with SOGIC and has practised law in British Columbia for the past eight years.
“Ignorance of the Code, or the time required to become aware of one’s rights, is generally not an acceptable reason, on its own, for the delay in filing,” noted the BCHRT decision. “Mr. Yuen has provided no additional information, and there is nothing in the materials to suggest, why he should be exempt from the application of this general rule.”
Yuen also said he delayed in filing the complaint, in part, following his departure from the firm because he was attempting to negotiate a settlement of outstanding issues between him and the firm. While the parties were ultimately able to resolve certain issues between them via an agreement reached on June 30, 2016, his discrimination complaint was not resolved.
The decision states that: “The Tribunal has held that it is in the public interest to encourage parties to enter into settlement discussions before having recourse to the Tribunal’s processes. In cases where parties were engaged in settlement discussions that commenced within the six-month time for filing, this might be considered a relevant factor when determining whether to accept a late-filed complaint.
“In this case, however, Mr. Yuen did not commence settlement discussions regarding the discrimination allegations until May 12, 2016, nearly 22 months after the alleged incidents occurred.”
Yuen argued further that he was employed by a law firm and that the firm should be held to a higher standard of conduct because they are all lawyers, and that lawyers “have an ethical duty to uphold the law and are leaders in society.”
But the BCHRT disagreed.
“In my view, a lawyer or law firm that is an employer has the same duties and responsibilities under the Code as any other employer —no more and no less,” wrote tribunal member Korenkiewicz, citing Asna-Ashari v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2010; and Bola v. B.C. (Ministry of the Attorney General and others), 2007 BCHRT.
“This is a complaint concerning discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation, marital status and race. The Tribunal has frequently dealt with complaints of this nature on each of these grounds. There is nothing in the materials to suggest that the complaint raises an issue that has not already been addressed in other complaints before the Tribunal. Thus, I am not persuaded that the novelty of this complaint outweighs the lengthy delay in filing.”
Yuen says the tribunal should have accepted his complaint based on the reasons he cited. He told Legal Feeds he is still exploring other avenues regarding his complaints.
“As officers of the court, with a duty to uphold the law, lawyers should be held to a higher standard when dealing with issues of discrimination, especially at the workplace,” he said in an email.
He also notes limitation periods for human rights tribunals vary across the country.
However, Ellen Low, partner at Whitten & Lublin in Toronto, says that while the variation in limitation periods can be confusing, especially when the limitation period under the Canadian Human Rights Act is one year, complaints are best heard soon after incidents occur.
“There is an argument that allegations of this nature, which call for remedial action, are best served by a short limitation period so they can be addressed/redressed while the injury is fresh and not over a year after an allegedly discriminatory event,” says Low.
Ryan Edmonds, a labour and employment lawyer in Toronto, agrees that shorter limitation periods are not a bad thing, but he says he sees this case from both the employer and employee perspective.
“When someone is discriminated against or marginalized it’s a pretty significant thing, so to sit on something like that for two years is questionable,” he says. “The applicant here raises the age-old ‘I was afraid for my job,’ but it raises the question that if it happened and two years passes without further incident is it relevant anymore?”
He notes human rights tribunals receive so many claims they need to focus on cases that are “timely” and more “closely connected to an incident worth investigating.”
Doctor’s sex abuse acquittal highlights ‘problematic’ Ontario law, The Toronto Star
B.C. judge orders prisions to fix isolating ‘enhanced supervision’ program, The Globe and Mail
Three men made millions by hacking merger lawyers, U.S. says, New York Times
Tunisian detained as a possible accomplice in Berlin attack, New York Times
Judge indicts former Argentine president in corruption case, Associated Press
Toronto corporate securities lawyer Geoffrey Taber, his wife Jacquie Gardner and their two children are believed to have perished in a tragic Christmas Eve fire at a cottage near Peterborough.
|Geoffrey Taber was a corporate securities lawyer at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto.|
The family is said to have lived fulltime in the Riverdale area of Toronto. Taber was a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.
In a statement, Dale Ponder, managing partner and chief executive at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP said: “Geoff Taber was a generous, vibrant and wonderful person, a legal visionary and beloved partner at Osler. There are no words adequate enough to express the depth of sorrow we feel about the tragic death of Geoff and his beloved wife Jacquie and sons Scott and Andrew.”
In a message on the firm's website it states Taber was "at the forefront of understanding the importance of the technology sector to Canada and was the founder of Osler's Emerging Companies Group. He advised many of Canada’s emerging and later stage companies as well as venture capital investors. He encouraged entrepreneurship through his work with key industry initiatives such as the Rotman Business School's Creative Destruction Lab and The Next 36, Canada's Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute."
Gardner was “an exceptional corporate lawyer initially at Osler, then as general counsel & secretary at Altamira Investment Services.”
“Geoff and Jacquie were first and foremost loving parents to their two remarkable sons. We will miss them terribly,” Ponder said.
Montreal court to release search warrants targeting Quebec journalists, The Globe and Mail
Council puts bite on dangerous dogs, The Toronto Sun
Police recruits must have degree to tackle complex modern crimes, The Times of London
Donald R. Cranston has been elected as the incoming president-elect of the Law Society of Alberta
|Donald R. Cranston has been elected as the incoming president-elect of the Law Society of Alberta.|
A partner in Bennett Jones LLP’s Edmonton office, Cranston is co-chair of the firm's commercial litigation team and is a former member of the firm's board of directors. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, medical and legal malpractice and disciplinary hearings, public administration law and alternative dispute resolution.
In 2008, Cranston was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. This is considered one of the greatest honours for a litigation lawyer in North America. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Alberta Law Reform Institute, a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a roster member of the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute.
He has practiced in Edmonton since he was called to the Bar in 1979, and is a graduate of Robson Hall Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba.
Lawyers from both private practice and in-house legal departments were among those honoured this year as part of the Women’s Executive Network list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women.
|Melissa Kennedy, executive vice president, chief legal officer and public affairs at Sun Life, is one of 13 lawyers on the list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 for 2016.|
Melissa Kennedy, executive vice president, chief legal officer and public affairs, is one of 13 lawyers on the list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 for 2016.
Kennedy was recognized for her leadership in helping Sun Life advance its sustainability strategy, and championing diversity and inclusion at Sun Life and within the Canadian legal community.
She is accountable for upholding standards of business ethics and strong governance for Sun Life’s Canadian and international operations. She is the executive sponsor for sustainability, leading global initiatives aimed at increasing employee engagement and commitment to Sun Life’s sustainability goals.
“A huge part of what I think makes Sun Life unique is the culture,” she says.
Kennedy is also involved with mentoring programs through the Legal Leaders for Diversity and the University of Toronto,
“As an architect for change, Melissa devotes significant time to improving diversity and inclusiveness in the legal industry,” said Carrie Blair, executive vice president, chief human resources & communications officer at Sun Life. “Through initiatives, such as Legal Leaders for Diversity which she co-founded in 2010, she supports projects aimed at mentoring and creating access to opportunities for all.”
Prior to joining Sun Life in 2014, Kennedy was senior vice president, general counsel and corporate affairs at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
She is also a member of University of Toronto’s law alumni association council, serves on the board and audit committee of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance and is on the executive committee of the Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusion.
Launched in 2003, the Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award recognizes exceptional women leaders who contribute to advancing the societal and professional landscape for future generations. Since its inception, the WXN has celebrated over 900 women and their many accomplishments.
Other winners representing the legal field include:
• Amélie T. Gouin, associate in Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s commercial litigation group in Montréal. She received the Future Leaders award.
• Joy Grahek, general counsel, GFL Environmental Inc.
• Charlene Ripley, executive vice president, general counsel, Goldcorp Inc.
• Shannon Rogers president & general counsel, Global Relay Communications.
• Samantha Horn, partner, Stikeman Elliott LLP
• Valerie Mann, partner, Lawson Lundell LLP
• Carol Pennycook, partner, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP.
• Sarah Qadeer, general counsel, Home Depot of Canada Inc.
• Cheryl Reicin, partner, Torys LLP
• Sylvie Rodrigue, partner & Head of Torys’ Montreal Office, Torys LLP.
• Penny Wyger, senior vice president general counsel & corporate secretary, Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
• Lisa Borsook, executive partner, WeirFoulds LLP
When asked what it will take to increase gender equality in the legal profession, Pennycook said: “More women directly involved in law firm management; increased flexibility in how individual lawyers contribute to the firm’s practice; commitment to women staying connected while on maternity leave; and facilitating reintegration upon return.”
Reicin said in order to increase gender equality in the legal realm women would benefit from: “Starbucks-style customized careers that allow one to power up and power down, guilt-free.”
And when it comes to raise one’s voice in the work environment, Reicin said: “I like to ask lots of questions to get others to see an issue in a different way. I generally only speak in meetings when my view is not the majority view — why espouse a view that is already accepted?”
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