New CDLPA head has strong rural roots

A lawyer with strong rural roots as a former operator of a cash-crop and beef operation in Lambton County, Ont., is the new chairwoman of the County & District Law Presidents’ Association.

Janet Whitehead, currently vice chairwoman of CDLPA, assumes the lead role for an 18-month period following the organization’s recent three-day plenary conference in Toronto.

“As the legal profession continues to evolve, it has become even more important to be able to represent the experience of our membership to government and the Law Society of Upper Canada as they consider changes to the justice system,” says Whitehead, a lawyer at George Murray Shipley Bell LLP in Sarnia, Ont.

Whitehead replaces Michael Johnston in the lead role at CDLPA.

“For the past year and a half, Michael has significantly strengthened our capacity to advocate on issues that affect the practising bar and I will continue to build on this important work,” says Whitehead, who touts her strong roots in Lambton County and notes she’s familiar with many of the issues facing the profession, especially those related to sole and small-firm practitioners.

Whitehead’s practice focuses on civil and commercial litigation, family and collaborative law, and estates matters. Born and raised in Lambton County, she studied law at the University of Western Ontario and went on to article in London, Ont. She later moved to Sarnia and has been a partner at her current law firm since 2006. She and her husband ran the cash-crop and beef operation for 28 years before moving to Sarnia.

Besides her law practice, Whitehead has been active in a number of organizations. She served on the board of the Breast Cancer Society of Canada for six years first as director and later as president. She also served multiple terms as the treasurer and president of the Lambton Law Association.

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