Class of 1974

While at Day,Wilson, I was the first lawyer to take a maternity leave, both as an associate and later as a Partner. A framework had to be worked out with the Management Committee in each case for compensation and other administrative matters for such a leave, setting new guidelines for the firm. Because of the novelty of the situation within the firm and the commitment we all had as associates to our work and to our Department Head, extensive time-off was not a consideration and two months seemed reasonable. I continued work from home on my files and was back in the office within two months. At that time, we had no greater expectations and I was grateful for the firm's support.My career since graduating from U of T Law School in 1974 has spanned several venues, including small and large law firms and a sole practice. My introduction to a downtown law firm while articling at Cassels, Brock was an enriching experience. The firm at that time had only one female lawyer, a young associate. I was well received and was provided, along with the other articling students (all male), with good mentorship from senior and junior counsel. I had a similar positive experience when I later joined Day, Wilson, Campbell (later merged as Holden, Day Wilson) in 1979 as an associate in the Litigation Department, specializing in Civil and Commercial Litigation. The firm at the time had about 25 lawyers. There were only two other women associates at the time (both U of T graduates, one from my year and the other from'76) and no women partners. Our Department Head, a well recognized and respected litigator, was a great mentor and was very supportive of the two women associates in his department. We were treated equally and were continuously exposed to interesting files and learning opportunities. I remained with Day, Wilson until 1988, becoming a Partner in 1983 and expanding my areas of practice to include Employment Law and Intellectual Property Litigation. During that time, I spent a year studying International Law in the French language at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

A significant step in my career was setting up a private practice as sole practitioner in 1994. I had been the Senior Litigator in a small International law firm with a growing practice. By that time, I had three children and wanted more control over my work in order to spend additional time with the family. It was a great move! I was fortunate to eventually liaise with my former Partner, Mary Porjes (U of T Grad '76) and became Litigation Counsel to her boutique Employment Law practice. Mary is a leading expert in this field and carries on her practice with another associate, Helen Walsh. I have had a rewarding and exciting experience with these two remarkable women lawyers over the past several years and have thoroughly enjoyed the "lady power" environment. In terms of scenario, it is almost a reversal from the time I first entered practice.