It is the time of year for the Canadian Law Blogs Awards, and this year will be the 10th annual awards. Firstly, thanks to all our readers for following us since we launched April 2015. It has been a fun ride so far and we have managed to meet some really interesting people doing innovative things in the legal market. Our goal with this blog is to highlight the great things Canada’s legal industry is up to. Please take a moment to nominate us for a “Clawbie” – you can read about the process here.
We want to spread the love and nominate a few of our favorite law blogs:
Best Practitioner Blog:
1) Erik Magraken who runs BC Personal Injury blog – this is a British Columbia specific blog but a great tool for anyone who practices personal injury, insurance defence or general civil litigation. Erik is always on top of the latest developments in case law.
2) Lisa Feldstein’s Blog: She runs a Family Health Law blog, an interesting niche area that is increasingly becoming a growing area of law, especially as technology surrounding reproductive health advances.
3) Michael Geist: He runs a tech law blog that is chock-full of interesting and timely posts.
Gender quotas in the corporate sector are something that many people are advocating for. Law is no exception – many lawyers are advocating for some form of policy to help ensure there is gender balance in the legal profession. But is it necessary to go the quota route when some firms are achieving gender parity without them?
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Lisa Munro, a partner at Lerners LLP – a London, Ontario based litigation firm. Lerners has managed to achieve something that many firms dream of: gender parity. And they did it without implementing gender quotas.
Munro, who is a commercial litigator in the Toronto office of Lerners, explains that gender parity simply happened organically, over time. It was not necessarily a hard objective or a set goal. It happened as a result of making it a goal to attract good lawyers and keep them. Keeping good people is just a good business decision, stresses Munro.
Munro believes that firm culture is essential to ensuring that women lawyers stay practicing law (we know the attrition rate for women in private practice is high). Having women among the leadership in a firm is key. Munro points to a past female managing partner at Lerners who was a real trailblazer. She helped shape the overall culture of the firm, acting as a role model and mentor, and making it easier for women to succeed. Others partners at the firm have also made the advancement of women a priority, notes Munro.
Lerners is part of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Justicia Project, and has such things as flexible maternity and parental leave policies. But according to Munro, policies are not enough. “There needs to be demonstrated support for these initiatives from the top and ingrained in the culture”, says Munro.
To be clear, Lerners parity is at the associate level and not at the partner level. But it is still a huge achievement, especially given that almost half of the women lawyers at Lerners are partners. More firms can follow their example of how to achieve parity without resorting to quotas.