Class of 1978

I was lucky. I had sent resumes to a number of different law firms when I got a characteristically brief letter from Albert Strauss, Q.C. It said:"Re: Position. Call me for an appointment." I met with him twice, the second time with his partners, Irwin Cooper and Sidney Troister, and I got the job.When I graduated from U of T Law School in 1978, a lot of my classmates were women. As far as I know, none of them had any trouble getting an articling position, or a job after they were called to the Bar. We knew there were barriers, but we kept our cool and applied with the rest. If we weren't satisfied, we changed jobs until we were. Looking back, we were a pretty determined bunch.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this very talented (albeit all-male) group of lawyers. I never experienced a moment's feeling of discrimination or exclusion from them. Their clients were similarly tolerant, although one of them, on being introduced to me, expressed his astonishment that the firm had finally entered the twentieth century! This got a laugh all round.

I spent fifteen years with Albert's firm, specializing in real estate law. After the firm dissolved in 1995, I briefly worked as in-house counsel to a development company, and then joined Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO).

At LAWPRO, I worked for six months in the Claims Department before transferring to the company's brand-new TitlePLUS Department, headed by Kathleen Waters. She needed an underwriter to assess the risks involved in residential real estate transactions. In 1997, title insurance was almost unknown in Ontario. Just about every file I worked on involved breaking new ground. It was an exciting time for me and the company.

Now it's 2007, and I'm still with LAWPRO. I manage an Underwriting Group that works with many kinds of properties, and with lawyers all across Canada (except Quebec, for now). The TitlePLUS Department has grown from five people to forty. I feel privileged to have been one of the people who helped start our business and made it grow.

My story is not uncommon, or even unusual. But I'm happy to tell it because I want new women lawyers to know that through their own abilities, and with good mentors and colleagues, they can look forward to a satisfying career.