Class of 1978

When I started practice, I found that while having women lawyers providing legal services was still somewhat of a new experience for some of the lawyers and clients I worked with, we were treated professionally and I did not feel limited in the opportunities I had. Again, I benefited from the women who had started practicing before I did, and from the fact that by the time I started practice women were entering all areas of the working world in large numbers.By the time I started law school, the number of women students had been increasing for several years, and my class was about 1/3 women. We weren't trailblazers to the same extent as the women who had come through the law school earlier. My classmates and I regarded ourselves as equal to men in every respect, and expected to be treated that way in the law school and in our careers. If someone had asked us whether we needed role models or mentors, we would have said we didn't need them.

Not all attitudes changed as quickly. I decided to change my name after I got married, which was just before I began the Bar Admission Course. After filling out the forms to change my name on my driver's license, credit cards and other ID, I went to the office at Osgoode Hall to ask for the form to change my name in the Law Society's records. I was told that there wasn't a form, and that I would need to petition the Benchers of the Law Society for permission to use my married name. I was astonished and indignant. I filled in the required "petition" under protest, and complained about the process to the only woman who was a bencher at the time. Her response was "Don't worry, dear. We like to see what the young women are doing." After that, I found a male bencher to complain to. My petition to change my name on the rolls of the law society was approved, and I believe the rule was changed not long after that.

I'd say that my two most significant successes have been (1) combining a full-time Bay Street practice with a great family (my husband and I have three children who are all now in university), and (2) achieving success and recognition in my practice area, which is insolvency and financial restructuring. I couldn't have achieved either without a lot of work, and a very supportive husband, family and colleagues.