Class of 1974

When I started to practice law the older male lawyers called me "dear." I was occasionally asked to type if I was around the office after 5, which of course as a junior lawyer I usually was. Fortunately I type very badly - and those were the days before word processing when we used carbon paper. Sometimes I was expected to get the coffee. Once I was so incensed by a demand from a client that I left the meeting, sent in the coffee and did not return, perhaps a career limiting move at the time. I was one of the first, if not the first, lawyer in Toronto to go on paid maternity leave (I expected to be fired when I announced my pregnancy).When I graduated from University in 1965 with an Honours English degree, women married lawyers; they did not become lawyers. I became a teacher. It did not occur to me to be a lawyer myself until six years later. I wrote the LSATs on spec with no preparation and scored so high the decision was obvious. Incidentally,my experience as a teacher has been of great assistance to me as a lawyer. I am still explaining, but I get paid better.

I have had no fewer than six careers/jobs as a lawyer, in private practice, in government and with an actuarial consulting firm. I have loved them all. I have broken some glass ceilings.

The wheel turns and spirals. Now, nobody calls me "dear" (professionally anyway) or anyone else for that matter because of the fear of an allegation of sexual harassment. But we all do our own typing on computers. We get our own coffee, as the politically correct thing to do. Many if not most women are still prejudiced by child-rearing, because it does change your priorities. The glass ceilings are still there but getting higher. As for me, I am back in private practice, where I started over thirty years ago, in a firm of the same very comfortable size (26 lawyers).

I have always been surprised and delighted at the intellectual challenges law presents. I cannot think of a more stimulating or rewarding career.