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How things have changed

Editor's Desk
|Written By Gail J. Cohen

In the spring of 2008, we ran a story in one of our sister publications about what it was like to be a gay or lesbian associate in a law firm. The initial focus had been to find out what was really happening for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lawyers in the big firms on Bay Street. But even just three years ago, it was very difficult to get any LGBT lawyers to speak on the record. We eventually found a few associates at large firms, not on Bay Street, to willingly talk about their experiences, but it was a tough slog.

How things have changed. For the cover story of this issue of Canadian Lawyer 4Students, we found LGBT groups at almost every university, more law students and young lawyers willing to talk about their experiences and decisions they made about coming out, and just generally more openness. This, in my opinion, is both good for the profession as a whole but for individual lawyers in particular. Everyone works better, more efficiently, and is more productive when they are comfortable in their own skin and not forced to hide such a big part of their life. Gay and lesbian lawyers have been in the profession, I imagine, as long as there have been lawyers but overall the legal profession is now more accepting, even welcoming, say some of those interviewed for “Cheers for queers.” It’s good to see.

And while everyone is feeling more comfortable, we’ve got some great tips on how to make the most out of your articling term in “Become an articling superstar.” And once you’ve succeeded as a bright light during your articles, keep in mind the “10 things you really need to know to practise law,” which they don’t teach you in law school. And if you’re thinking of becoming a judge down the road, take heed of our “Tips from the top.”

This issue also has some great artistic talent including actor and law student Lwam Ghebrehariat, who is this issue’s student profile, and some great photography from the University of Ottawa’s Maria Gergin on our Student’s Page.

As always, we appreciate any feedback on our articles or ideas for upcoming issues. As well, be sure to check out our weekly story updates online at