McLachlin, who was selected as a “Top 25 Most Influential Lawyer” by Canadian Lawyer multiple times (most recently in 2015), is widely respected in the legal profession for her leadership on the court as well as her outspokenness on issues such as access to justice, free speech, diversity and inclusive leadership.
McLachlin’s judicial career began in April 1981 when she was appointed to the Vancouver County Court. In September 1981, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. In December 1985, she was elevated to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia where she served until her appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in September 1988. Seven months later, on April 17, 1989, she was sworn in as a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada.
On Jan. 7, 2000, Justice McLachlin was appointed Chief Justice of Canada. She is the first woman to hold this position. She is also Canada’s longest-serving chief justice, having held the position for nearly 18 years.
McLachlin has also served since 2000 as chairwoman of the Canadian Judicial Council, chairwoman of the National Judicial Institute and chairwoman of the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada.
McLachlin was quoted in a press release as saying: “It has been a great privilege to serve as a justice of the court, and later its chief justice, for so many years. I have had the good fortune of working with several generations of Canada’s finest judges and best lawyers. I have enjoyed the work and the people I have worked with enormously.”