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Joan Brockman receives 2008 CBA Cecilia I. Johnstone Award

Joan Brockman receives 2008 CBA Cecilia I. Johnstone Award
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For Immediate Release
August 15, 2008

QUÉBEC CITYJoan Brockman, a Professor of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, has won the 2008 CBA Cecilia I. Johnstone Award in recognition of her outstanding work to advance the standing and influence of women in the legal profession.

As a legal scholar and educator, Professor Brockman has persuasively argued that law remains a highly gendered field, but one that can be reformed. Her reports to law societies have been instrumental in the development of model workplace policies for law firms, changes to codes of conduct rules relating to sexual harassment, the provision of parental leaves, innovative new workplace accommodation, and revision to professional development in aid of eliminating gender disparities.

“It is impossible to enter a serious discussion about the advancement of women in the legal profession without mentioning Joan Brockman. She has demonstrated exceptional leadership in this area through her scholarship, her policy-related work, and her teaching and mentorship,” said Veronica Jackson, National Chair of the CBA Women Lawyers Forum. “Professor Brockman’s career has directly supported the advancement of women lawyers and encouraged the retention of women lawyers in the profession.” 

Collaborating with the Law Society of British Columbia in the late 1980s, Professor Brockman launched two large-scale surveys of the profession. The work was ground breaking in its focus on gender disparities in the profession. One survey, directed at past members of the profession, explored the reasons for exiting legal careers. Professor Brockman used the data to produce two reports to the Law Society of BC, and later, several scholarly papers.

Among her best-known writings is Gender in the Legal Profession: Fitting or Breaking the Mould, published in 2001. The book investigates the views and experiences of men and women lawyers through 100 in-depth interviews and is considered essential reading for those studying gender in the legal profession. 

During the early 1990s, Professor Brockman served on the steering committee of the National Association of Women and the Law and contributed reports directly to the CBA’s Task Force on Gender Equality, led by Madam Justice Bertha Wilson.

“Joan’s work has shown that although much change has occurred, considerable work remains to be done before women are fully equal in the profession,” said University of British Columbia law professor Susan Boyd, one of Prof. Brockman’s nominators. “Rather than despair, however, Joan has consistently worked towards improvement, by making concrete recommendations about what can be done.”

The Cecilia I. Johnstone Award was established in 2007 to recognize women who have achieved professional excellence in their field and influenced other women to pursue legal careers, supported other women in career advancement, or opened doors for women lawyers. It is named to honour an outstanding lawyer, judge, and CBA President who passed away in 2006.

The Award will be presented at the Women Lawyers Forum Reception at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 18, 2008 in the Ste-Foy Room at the Hilton Québec Hotel, held as part of the CBA 2008 Canadian Legal Conference. The event is open to accredited journalists who have registered with the CBA Media Centre.

The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 37,000 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.

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CONTACT: Hannah Bernstein, Canadian Bar Association, Aug. 15-19, Québec City Convention Centre, room 2103, Tel: 418-649-5218; E-mail: hannahb@cba.org.

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