Class of 1973

When I started, I was "juniored" to a senior partner, the late John T.Weir Q.C. and then the late R. B. Robinson Q.C. These, and several others, were my mentors. I was trained by them and given work on interesting files, just as my male colleagues were trained. My mentors encouraged me to develop my own practice and to participate in the profession's associations such as the Canadian Bar Association, the Advocates' Society and the Women's Law Association of Ontario. This mentoring and the association activities were critical to my overcoming the isolation and my developing skills and my client base.My perspective on my years since law school is focussed because of my recent change in direction in my career. I articled and practiced law for over 30 years at WeirFoulds LLP. I was the first woman hired there as a lawyer and in 1980, the first woman partner. I was the first woman partner in the firm to take maternity leave. My being "different" in the social and business context was a factor in my daily life. Sometimes, I was conscious of it and sometimes, not.

It would be misleading to suggest that the support I received, inside the firm and outside, allowed me to feel fully integrated into the male culture of the profession. But as long as those I worked with fairly assessed my contribution to the firm and associations, I decided that I was getting what I wanted to get out of my job. I defined full integration in the profession in ways other than through participation in the events that were "men only." I chose to ignore my exclusion from those elements of life in a professional firm and celebrate what I had, a satisfying and challenging career as a respected advocate, blessed with my mentors, my family and supportive colleagues.