Class of 1975

Following graduation with the Class of '75, I moved from Ontario to British Columbia, articling with the Provincial Attorney General in Victoria and then clerking for the Supreme Court of British Columbia. In the spring of 1977, I began searching for gainful employment as a lawyer. At some law firms I encountered questions such as, "Do you intend to practice law or to have a family?" In the fall of 1977, I joined the Vancouver Regional Office of the Department of Justice, which did not ask such questions. There were not many female lawyers there at the time. The few women lawyers in the office were eventually accepted by our male colleagues as "honorary men", although we had good reason to believe that there were "girl files" and "boy files", and in order to enter certain establishments in town with our male colleagues we were required to utilize separate entrances. 

About a year after joining the Justice Department, my husband (law school classmate John Hunter '75) and I began a family. With the birth of the first of our three children, the challenges of balancing family life and career began. After a couple of years of struggling with putting these two aspects of my life together, I was fortunate to persuade the Department of Justice to permit me to reduce my work hours substantially for a considerable period of time. This was a concept that had not been entertained previously. Now, thirty years later, alternative work arrangements - working part-time, or working from home - are frequently accommodated in the public sector.

As the Director of the Citizenship, Immigration and Public Safety Law Section of the Department's B.C. Regional Office, I am now able to exercise my discretion to accept requests of women lawyers (and in a few cases, male lawyers) to adjust their work arrangements from time to time in order to assist them in juggling the demands of parenting or other family commitments, with the requirements of professional life. It gives me a good deal of satisfaction to serve as a mentor for younger lawyers who are making their way through their professional lives, and to facilitate some of them in reaching a satisfactory balance between competing demands in their particular personal circumstances.