In July the CBA Equality Committee published a newsletter containing an article from a member of the Manitoba Women Lawyers Forum, which was critical of the Forum’s decision to put on a spring fashion show.
Read on for a response from Linda Robertson, Chair of the National Women Lawyers Forum.
Patricia Lane, a Manitoba lawyer and long-time advocate for women in the legal profession, has been named this year’s winner of the Cecilia I. Johnstone award.
The award was established to recognize women who have achieved professional excellence, influenced other women to pursue legal careers, supported women in career advancement, or opened doors for women lawyers in job settings historically closed to them.
Lane, a partner at Taylor McCaffrey in Winnipeg, where she has been a member of the management committee since 2010, has had a distinguished career in family law and mediation, arbitration and collaborative law.
In both her professional and volunteer work, Lane is an enthusiastic advocate for women in the legal profession. A great believer that camaraderie and establishing connections between members is key to keeping women in the profession, she co-chaired the first stand-alone Women Lawyers Conference, in 2011.
The award will be presented at the CBA Leadership Conference luncheon on Friday, Nov. 20 in Vancouver.
Message from the Chair
The Women Lawyers Forum had a dynamic and successful year focusing on three main issues. We continued our work to promote more women to the federal Judicial Appointment Committees and to the courts. This followed up on resolutions put forward by the WLF and passed at previous CBA conferences. We believe that the attention that we and others have brought to this issue publicly is showing results. We will continue with this important work.
Our second focus has been on raising awareness about sexual harassment and assault in the legal profession. We put forward a resolution in February at the CBA Mid-Winter meeting calling on law firms and workplaces to institute safe and confidential processes for reporting and responding to sexual harassment and assault.
We then started a sexual harassment awareness campaign by asking women and men to send in anonymous stories about their experiences. In the midst of this, the WLF developed Q&As to address the rationale behind the campaign. We will publish the anonymous stories later this year and will begin work on a toolkit of model workplace policies and resources. This is an important issue that needs more discussion within the profession as many lawyers (both women and men) stay silent for fear of reprisals or silently leave the profession entirely.
Our third initiative is our national Leadership Conference for professional women being held in Vancouver on Nov 20-21, 2015. The conference features an international faculty of judges, lawyers, authors and thought leaders. Topics range from Justice Abella and The Hon Kim Campbell discussing the impact of women at the top of the judicial and political spheres; Linda Bray Chanow from the Center for Women and the Law in Texas discussing women’s relationship to power; Ritu Bhasin from Toronto speaking on the importance of empowered self-leadership; plus workshops on how to develop a grit and growth mindset; how to navigate difficult conversations; how to plan a successful career path, how to thrive not merely survive in our challenging professional lives and many other topics. EARLY BIRD registration closes on August 31.
In pursuit of our goals, we continue our work and collaboration with both the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession and the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations. Both of these entities are focusing on similar issues and projects, and our ongoing collaboration is both fruitful and beneficial to our members.
1st Co-Chair, CBA Women Lawyers Forum
Sexual Harassment Awareness Campaign
Sexual harassment is a degrading act that feeds off of an imbalance and abuse of power. Sexual assault is a particularly invasive and traumatizing form of assault. The legal profession is not immune, and until we recognize and acknowledge this, we cannot address the root of the problem.
The CBA Women Lawyers Forum, SOGIC and the Equality Committee want to raise awareness about this issue and generate discussion.
Tell us your story. We want to hear from you. [Q&A's]
Use this confidential and anonymous tool to help us focus awareness on the problem so that we can talk about solutions.
Identities will be protected, however your story may be shared.
You can participate online or by filling in the word document and sending your story to:
The Canadian Bar Association
“Write your Wrong”
C/o Women Lawyers Forum
500 – 865 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5S8
SAVE THE DATE
Women Lawyers Forum
Third National Leadership Conference
“Creating Our Future”
Vancouver Fairmont Waterfront Hotel
Friday, November 20 – Saturday, November 21, 2015
Women lawyers and professionals across Canada have a unique opportunity to attend a truly inspirational conference that will bring together an international faculty of renowned and celebrated women leaders to inspire, embolden and teach invaluable leadership skills.
Change is coming to professional practice, and women need to be at the front of that change, driving it and directing it. This conference will give women lawyers and professionals the tools, skills and confidence to influence careers and workplaces in ways that will work better for clients, professions and ourselves.
Whether you want to be a leader of your firm or practice group, be successful in government or the corporate world, start your own firm, or simply find ways to thrive in practice on your own terms, this conference will help you create the future you desire.
Hear from influential women speakers like Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella and The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, Canada’s first female Justice Minister and Prime Minister, who will lead a conversation about succeeding and flourishing as women at the highest levels of professional life. Other inspirational discussions will include:
- Leadership and practice styles that empower women
- Women and our relationship with power
- Grit and growth, and how they lead to success
- Skills to navigate difficult conversations and increase productivity
- Thriving in practice – how it goes beyond work-life balance
- Corporate leadership skills
This interactive, transformative, inspiring and fun conference is relevant to all women lawyers and professionals, whether you are just starting out, mid-career looking for that next opportunity, or a seasoned professional wanting to continue to make a difference.
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to network and build relationships with clients. Invite a client to come with you and share in this amazing experience – for a nominal cost, you can have two full days with your client and a lifetime of experiences to share.
Connect with women lawyers and professionals from across Canada and be the change you want to see in your world. Registration opens this spring.
Cecilia I. Johnstone Award
The Cecilia I. Johnstone Award recognizes women who have achieved professional excellence in their field and influenced women to pursue legal careers, supported women in career advancement or opened doors for women lawyers in a variety of job settings that historically were closed to them.
The next award will be presented bi-annually starting at the WLF Leadership Conference in Vancouver, B.C. (November 20-21, 2015). The application deadline is April 30, 2015.
Submission to Government
Judicial Appointments: Letter to Minister of Justice (March 2014)
National Sections: Children’s Law Committee
National Sections recently established a Children’s Law Committee to coordinate activities, provide advice, and respond to law, policy, and legal research developments on matters affecting Canadian children. More information is available on the new Children’s Law Committee webpage.
Join the Children’s Law Committee listserv!
Interested CBA members are strongly encouraged to join the Children’s Law Committee listserv. This is an ideal way to stay informed of Committee activities and get directly involved. The listserv also provides a forum to network and exchange ideas with leading practitioners who share your interests.
Membership is free to CBA members.
Join the listserv (CBA membership number required)
Linda K Robertson’s blog
Linda K. Robertson, our very own Women Lawyers Forum Co-Chair, has a featured blog on slaw.ca, a Canadian online legal magazine. To read Linda’s blog please visit: http://www.slaw.ca/author/robertson/
In order to create networking opportunities and a forum for discussion and exchange on subjects relevant to the Women Lawyers Forum, we have recently created a group on LinkedIn.
This professional networking site allows you to:
- Establish connections with other professionals interested in mentoring,
- Access liaising opportunities,
- Share cases and accomplishments; and
- Keep informed about upcoming Women Lawyers Forum events and activities.
If you’re already a LinkedIn member, we invite you to join the CBA Women Lawyers Forum group. You can easily do by clicking on the “Groups” tab type “CBA Women Lawyers Forum” in the search box and select the “Join Group” option. If you are not already a member, membership in LinkedIn is free and easy to join by going to http://www.linkedin.com/home
We look forward to meeting you on LinkedIn.
The Women Lawyers Forum wants to get the word out!
The WLF is one of the largest conferences within the CBA and many of its members are doing incredible things within their legal communities and beyond. These accomplishments reflect positively on the legal profession as a whole and on the contributions made by women lawyers across the country.
To ensure these accomplishments are broadly recognized, the WLF will be highlighting these achievements and triumphs in upcoming newsletters and on its website as a new monthly feature - “What’s She Up To?”
Let us know what our members have been up to lately. If you or a colleague you know has recently accepted a new position, appointment or award that you think should be recognized, pass it on to the WLF editorial board, and we’ll spread the word!
Contact Gathoni Njuguna.
The latest edition of The Common Room is now available.
The Section is currently looking for articles for its next newsletter. If you would like to contribute to the next edition, please contact CBA Newsletters.
View previous newsletters. (CBA Membership number required)