Cover Story: Baby talk

Part one: Timing isn’t everything

Illustrations by Emily Taylor

When Sara Cohen turned 29, she thought, Uh-oh. At the time, a decade ago, she was a commercial litigator at a large Bay Street firm and her proverbial biological clock was ticking. Cohen knew she wanted to have children, but she didn’t want to give up her career to do it.

“If you want to be a successful lawyer at a demanding firm, you need to be dedicated and available all the time,” she says. “Unfortunately, the reality is that when you have a family, you have fewer hours to dedicate to your practice. It’s naive to think that won’t affect your career. If you can’t be as dedicated, you may not be given the same quality of files.”

This makes timing a family tricky. Many women in private practice feel they must first make partner, often putting children on hold until their late 30s. Others simply abandon big-firm life. Take Cohen. After she had her first child, in 2010, she left her firm to start D2Law LLP — with her husband, Anatoly Dvorkin — where she practises fertility law (she now has two sons, aged four and seven).

Building up a career before having a child is widespread in the legal profession. “This is understandable,” says Sheena MacAskill, a legal-career coach in Toronto, who practised at McCarthy Tétrault LLP for 13 years. “It makes particular sense today, when it’s more difficult to make partner. I understand why women delay having children in the face of this uncertainty.”

The idea, of course, is that once a woman reaches a certain level of success, she’ll have the authority to take time off work — for maternity leave and to raise a child — without suffering in her career.

But here’s the problem: that isn’t really what happens. As Cohen explains, even though she runs her own firm, she still struggles to fulfill the needs of her clients and simultaneously pay enough attention to her kids. “Being a parent makes you look at things differently. You start asking yourself, ‘Is this valuable?’ and ‘What am I doing with my life?’”

At large firms, women with children still face unconscious bias even if they have a spot in the partnership. “When a male lawyer is absent from the office, it’s assumed he’s dealing with a client matter,” says MacAskill. “When a woman lawyer is absent, it’s assumed she’s dealing with a family issue.” The end result: no matter how strategically women may have timed their pregnancies, they still can’t win.

It’s no secret that some new parents flee private practice for an in-house role, hoping to have a work schedule that allows for more time to be at home. But this solution, too, is not as simple as it sounds.

Consider the story of Andrew Nisker and his wife, Sarah Nisker. Over the past decade, the couple has had three children. And, along the way, they’ve made multiple adjustments to their careers, always trying to strike the right balance between work and family.

Before the birth of their first child — a daughter, in 2009 — Andrew left a large Bay Street firm to work as a prosecutor, where he was able to log slightly fewer hours.

In 2010, the couple had a second daughter. A year later, Sarah left her job at Stikeman Elliott LLP for an in-house gig at Loblaws. “And yet, I worked just as hard, if not harder,” she says. “There are fewer associates or admin staff to help when you work in-house.”

Not all parents want to be home all the time, but the Niskers did. “We wanted one of us to be there for our kids after school,” says Andrew. “That was important to us.”

Shortly after having their third child — a son, in 2013 — they scaled back their careers even further. Sarah switched her role at Loblaws to vice-president of food safety, quality assurance and regulatory affairs, a less-demanding gig than in-house counsel. The couple then moved to Guelph, for the low cost of living. This allowed Andrew to start job sharing and be home three days a week.

Their solution is not for everyone. But it demonstrates that simply “going in-house” won’t solve all your problems. “Parents have to get creative,” says Andrew. “Once you find something that works, it’s totally worth it.”

Part two: When babies don’t come easy

Illustrations by Emily Taylor; Photography by Vicky Lam

When Christine Davies of Goldblatt Partners got married five years ago, she was 29. Her partner, Meaghan, also a lawyer, was three years older. Both women wanted children and they decided that they should each carry one. In 2013, Meaghan gave birth to a daughter.

Unfortunately, when Davies’s turn came, she discovered it wasn’t going to be easy. She underwent several unsuccessful fertility treatments. First, they tried intrauterine insemination (in which sperm are inserted directly into the uterus after ovulation). When that didn’t work, they opted for in vitro fertilization (in which eggs are removed, fertilized, then returned to the uterus).

Though IVF is a scientific marvel, it has its downsides. It involves regular hormone injections, which can be deeply unpleasant. Eventually, the doctor has to perform a trans-vaginal egg retrieval, which can be painful. But, for Davies, the hardest thing might have been coping with the stress and grief of not being able to get pregnant. “I tried to manage my job as best I could,” she says. “Sometimes work even helped because it offered a distraction. The emotional part of fertility treatment was so much harder than the physical.”

In the end, Davies was unable to carry a child. So the couple decided to transfer a fertilized embryo from Davies to Meaghan. They had a second daughter in 2016.

“I know many lawyers keep quiet about infertility because there’s still a lot of stigma around it,” says Davies. “Or they don’t want others in their firm to know they’re trying to start a family.”

Dr. Marjorie Dixon, the founder and medical director of Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health in Toronto, sees the power of stigma in her medical practice. “I often bring women into the clinic after hours so no one will suspect,” she says. “No matter how educated and self-assured these women are, there’s a lot of shame and guilt around infertility and they don’t want anybody to know.”

When Jennifer Hunter, a partner at Lerners LLP, went through fertility treatment, she found it difficult. Seven years ago, when she was 30 and still an associate, she decided to have a child with her husband, Scott Hunter (who’s now a stay-at-home dad, but previously worked as a restaurant manager).

At first, things went well: she got pregnant. But one morning early on in her pregnancy, she started spotting and suspected that she was having a miscarriage. She still went to court that day. “I felt I had to put my personal problems aside,” she says, “and put on a professional face and just do my job.” When court was over, she saw her health-care provider, who confirmed it was a miscarriage.

After that, Hunter had difficulty getting pregnant a second time. By 2014, she had started IVF treatment. “I didn’t know how invasive it would be, both physically and emotionally,” she says. “There are a lot of needles, internal ultrasounds, hormones and physical examinations. Sometimes daily.”

At the office, it was often very difficult to leave for injections. “You kind of hope nobody notices,” she says. “But it’s a hard thing to hide.”

After two rounds of treatment, she got pregnant. And in 2016, she gave birth to a healthy son. “The reward is absolutely worth it,” she says, adding that it was a long, tiring journey. “I don’t think we all need to be talking about infertility all the time, but if more people understand the struggle, then the women and the men going through it might feel a little less lonely.”

Infertility can be particularly stressful for lawyers because they tend to be high achievers who are used to reaching their goals through hard work, explains Dr. Prati A. Sharma, a reproductive endocrinologist in Toronto.

“They come to see me, they’re of reproductive age, they’re healthy and they feel great,” says Sharma. “So they can’t understand why, in this one situation, they’re unable to be successful.”

Part three: Father figures

Illustrations by Emily Taylor; Photography by Vicky Lam

The day you bring a new baby home is the day things get complicated. “Even for lawyers who have help at home — like a nanny or extended family — it can be overwhelming,” says MacAskill. “You have to manage your practice along with all aspects of home life, from medical appointments to school activities.”

Historically, women have had to perform this balancing act alone. But a positive new parenting trend has found its way into the legal profession: an increase in the availability — and acceptance — of paternity leave.

In most of Canada, parents can split up to 35 weeks of leave, on top of 15 weeks that biological mothers can take on their own. (In Quebec, the benefits are more generous.) In Ontario, the government will pay parents taking time off 55 percent of their salary. Every employer then has the option of topping up that government benefit.

When female lawyers take parental leave, most large firms generously top up the government payments. Historically, men were left out of the equation.

But in the past half-decade, most large firms have started to offer new fathers four weeks of paternity leave at full pay. For heterosexual couples, this allows men to take time off alongside their partner, immediately after she has given birth. Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP is one firm that has put in place such a policy.

“We recognize that becoming a dad is a life-changing event and that child care is a shared responsibility for both parents,” says Frances Mahil, the director of associate and student programs at the firm. “There’s also lots of research to support the fact that, when dads take a leave, they are more involved in the long run. We’ve been excited to see male lawyers take advantage of the policy, as it helps lessen gender imbalances.”

Ryan Elger, a 33-year-old associate at Davies, recently made use of this policy. When his son was born in April, he took his newly allotted four weeks of leave.

“I was really happy when my firm adopted the policy a couple of years ago,” he says. “I was happy to be home following delivery, during my wife’s recovery, to spend time with both of them.”

Meanwhile, Sunil Gurmukh, counsel with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, is in the middle of a 17-week paternity leave, which he took to spend time with his new daughter. With the top-up he’s receiving from his employer, Gurmukh will earn 93 percent of his salary during this period.

Gurmukh’s wife is also on leave from her job at the family’s business. The couple plans to sneak some travel into their time off.

Although Gurmukh does respond to the occasional email and remains engaged with what’s going on at work and in human-rights law, he’s asked colleagues not to copy him on most emails. “I want to make it a full parental leave,” he says. “It gives me time to bond with my daughter and to have an impact on her life. That’s why I took leave in the first place.” He spends entire mornings at the St. Lawrence Market with his daughter, Amaia, and they’re taking music classes at the community centre in his Harbourfront neighbourhood. They also read a lot of books. “I’m definitely not bored,” he says. “She’s at the smiling-and-laughing stage — and I love it.”

Andrew Nisker also sees the social importance of men taking parental leave. He took time off after the birth of each of his children: five months with his first, seven months with his second, eight months with his third. (Since he’s a Crown, his top-up brings him close to his full salary.)

After each birth, Sarah, his wife, took off some time, but didn’t want to wait a whole year before returning to work. “If a family chooses for the woman to go back to work early and have the husband take a leave, it should be okay to do that,” says Andrew. “I don’t see why professional men and women should be treated any differently when it comes to parental leave.”

For her part, Sarah loved that her husband wanted to take as much leave as he did. “It’s so important for both parents to build a strong foundation for their family.”

But there’s another side to this trend. Although a growing number of men have taken parental leave over the past several decades, there’s no guarantee that this will continue. In 2014, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada, 27.1 percent of recent fathers either claimed or intended to take parental leave. That’s not a bad number, but it’s actually a slight drop from the previous year, where that figure sat at 30.9 percent.

To Gurmukh, that’s a shame. “Parenting is a joint responsibility,” he says. “I hope there is a cultural shift, in which more men are able and willing to take parental leave.”


Precedent Magazine winter issue 2017 coverThis story is from our Winter 2017 Issue.

 

 

 


Illustrations by Emily Taylor; Photography by Vicky Lam

Secret Life: The best four photos of lawyers revealing their hobbies

What’s the hardest thing about taking highly stylized portraits of lawyers showcasing their hobbies? “Well, they’re fucking lawyers,” says photographer Daniel Ehrenworth, with a laugh. His work has appeared in Precedent for the past eight years and his favourite “Secret Life” shots appear below. Though he’s not photographing models, who are used to sitting in makeup chairs and posing under studio lighting, Ehrenworth’s found a certain charm that comes from working with lawyers — and he loves it.

“Lawyers are very cerebral people,” he says. But, at the same time, when the photographer pulls out all the stops to get a great shot (like holding that dead fish next to litigator Alex Curry’s face), the lawyers are usually game. “That makes it easy to do my job,” he says. Which is, ultimately, “to make them look really cool.”

 

Lidiya Yermakova

Lidiya Yermakova, Lerners

Brian Temins

Brian Temins, Minden Gross

Dan Giantsopoulos

Dan Giantsopoulos, Blaney McMurtry

Alex Curry

Alex Curry, Beard Winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fall 2017 CoverThis story is from our 10th anniversary issue, published in Fall 2017.

 

 

 


Photography by Daniel Ehrenworth

The Circuit: Lerners’ 12th annual Extraordinary Women’s Extravaganza


What: Lerners’ 12th Annual Extraordinary Women’s Extravaganza
Where: Main Lobby, 130 Adelaide Street West
When: Thursday April 6, 2017


In the theme of Hollywood Glam, Lerners LLP threw its the twelfth edition of its annual bash: the Extraordinary Women’s Extravaganza.

The popularity of the event has shot up over the past decade. “In its early incarnation, this event was an intimate social gathering, attended by 20 to 40 women,” says Meredith Jones, a partner at Lerners. “It has since evolved into an eagerly anticipated, hugely popular signature event for our firm, attracting more than 200 women professionals every year, helping us to strengthen, develop and nurture our reputation for leadership in gender parity and broader diversity initiatives.”


To learn more about Lerners LLP, visit the firm’s website.


Photography by 5ive15ifteen Studio

The Referral: Why you need David Bowie’s Five Years vinyl box set

lawyer, Josh Koziebrocki

Recommended by: Josh Koziebrocki, Lerners LLP 
 
 
 

Making the case: “I bought it the day he died,” says Josh Koziebrocki, a partner at Lerners LLP, referring to the 13-piece David Bowie Five Years vinyl box set. “It’s every album that he produced, including live albums, during the first five years of his career. And it’s named after the song ‘Five Years’ that’s on Ziggy Stardust.

“It’s something I listen to when I’m done work and want to take myself to a more fun place. It’s very excitable music but complex at the same time: it’s full of very interesting lyrics, incredible melodies and just a great sound. It’s the perfect soundtrack for going home, relaxing and enjoying life. And everyone should listen to this on vinyl, so they can appreciate it properly.”

Where to find it: Sonic Boom at 215 Spadina Ave. or online at store.davidbowie.com.

How much you’ll pay: The vinyl box set costs $250 (USD) online, and up to $285 (CAD) in stores.

Bonus material: The whole box set includes six original studio albums, and a book with technical notes from the producers of each classic Bowie album.


Cover of the Summer Issue of Precedent MagazineThis story is from our Summer 2016 issue.

The Circuit: Lerners’ 11th Annual Extraordinary Women’s Extravaganza


What: Lerners’ 11th Annual Extraordinary Women’s Extravaganza
Where: Main Lobby, 130 Adelaide Street West
When: Wednesday April 6, 2016


Now in its 11th year, the Lerners LLP Extraordinary Women’s Extravaganza saw close to 200 attendees at its Wonderful Women-themed event, which paid respect to strong, female role models from the past, present and future.

“This year’s theme, inspired by feminist icon Wonder Woman, who influenced not only the classic comic book colours in the invitation and décor, but also the slide show of iconic women from all walks of life,” says Meredith Jones, a partner at Lerners.

And so, while a jazz trio played softly in the background, large photos of inspiring and revolutionary women were projected onto the wall, such as Betty Friedan, Joan of Arc, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jane Goodall and Beyoncé.

“Arguably the highlight of this year’s event, the photos reminded us that there has been a long history of heroic women who lived remarkable lives and achieved incredible goals, often in the face of considerable odds,” says Jones.

For some guests, those heroic women are actually ones a little closer to home. Guests were given name-tags that provided a blank space for them to complete the following sentence: The woman I admire most is. Many filled in “my mother,” “my aunt,” “my daughters” and “my grandmother.”


To learn more about Lerners LLP, visit its website.


Have an event coming up? Invite us to your party!


Photography by Yvonne Bambrick.

Secret Life: This tennis-playing litigator nearly turned pro before university

As a teenager, Lidiya Yermakova faced a life-defining choice: leverage years of intensive training as a tennis player and take a crack at going pro, or leave it all behind and go to university in the hopes of getting into law school.

“It was a big decision,” she says. Yermakova had been playing since she was a toddler growing up in the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih. (Both her dad and her older brother were also serious tennis players.) “But ultimately, I really wanted to be in court.” And here she is now, an Osgoode Hall alum nearly two years into her health-law practice at Lerners LLP.

Lidiya YermakovaThough she chose a career in law, Yermakova has not let go of tennis. “After my undergrad, I took a break,” she says. “I probably didn’t play at all for four months. But I missed the competition.” So she picked it up again during law school, even getting named a York University all-star. And she still plays about once a week. “I have a lot of competitive drive. And that’s the same reason I like litigation: it takes hours of prep to be able to stand up and feel good about the argument you’re making. It takes a lot of work, but the days I get to do that are the greatest.”


Lidiya Yermakova

Lerners LLP

 

 

 

 

 

 


This story is from our Spring 2016 issue.

 

 

 


Photography by Daniel Ehrenworth. Hair and makeup by Shelbie Vermette.

Making It Work: Unfiltered advice from lawyers with kids

Can you be a killer lawyer, a great parent and a well-adjusted non-zombie-like human despite the sleep deprivation that parenthood entails? Yes. Is it easy? Well, no. But these working moms and dads have a few tricks for making the process less painful. We’ve got advice, war stories and real talk from Toronto lawyers who’ve had kids, excelled in their careers and lived to tell the tale.


Katherine Hensel

Katherine Hensel

Founding partner of Hensel Barristers
First Nations litigation

Age: 44
Mom of three: ages 18, five and one

She knows when her kids need her most. It’s not just the early years that you have to make time for — it’s also the teen years. “It’s a short time when they’re this young,” she says of her little ones. “They need you again at adolescence. It’s the most difficult time in their lives. They’re struggling to form an identity.”

planeShe tries to limit travel to day trips. Even if she travels as far as Saskatchewan, Hensel will fly home that night. “Psychologically it’s much better for everyone than me sleeping away.”

She relies on lots of domestic help. “It’s real work running a house, raising kids and caring for two dogs. It’s time-consuming,” says the single mother. So she’s hired a cleaner, a live-out caregiver and a backup babysitter. “If you’re going to be a professional and a parent, somebody has to be doing the housework.”


Cynthia Kuehl

Cynthia Kuehl

Partner, Lerners LLP
Commercial litigation

Age: 41
Mom of two: ages 10 and four

She’s made peace with her wacky schedule. The only way she can get home for dinner and make the occasional parent council meeting is to leave the office at 5:30 or 6 p.m. “I go home, hang out, we do what we do. I put the kids to bed at nine,” she says. A few times a week, she heads back to the office for 9:30, where she works until 12 or 1 a.m. A full-time nanny, even though the kids are in full-day school, helps things run smoothly for her and her husband, an assistant Crown attorney.

She makes fitness a priority. In 2008, a senior lawyer said to her, “You need to start working out,” when she looked run-down and tired. Instead of being defensive, Kuehl took the advice to heart. Now she sees a trainer twice a week and unapologetically carves the hours out of her workday.

She makes time for herself. She takes a few weeks off each summer. She goes on an annual ski vacation. She even has a board game night with co-workers. “If you don’t have fun for yourself, this profession is tough. It can be demanding, overwhelming and stressful. You have to balance that.”


Rohit Parekh

Rohit Parekh

Legal counsel and director of innovation, Conduit Law; Founder, Grapplelaw.ca
Intellectual property law and civil litigator

Age: 43
Dad of three: ages 11, nine and six

gavelHe became the parent-on-call. He left Gowlings in 2004 at the end of his wife’s first maternity leave (she’s a criminal defence lawyer). “Something had to give, because it would be daycare and a nanny,” he said of the away-from-home hours both were working. Big-firm culture was not for him, anyway.

He clumps his kids’ extracurriculars together. “The deal I made with my wife is the kids will do activities at the same place at the same time,” he says. “Turns out two of them figure skate and one swims in the same facility. We’re there every Saturday from 9:20 to 2:30.”

The Crock-Pot is the weekday dinner hero. On Sunday, Parekh throws simple ingredients into the slow-cooker to make, say, a huge batch of tomato sauce that he’ll use as the base for pasta dishes all week.


Jake Sadikman

Jake Sadikman

Partner, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Energy and infrastructure

Age: 38
Dad of three: ages seven, six and three

He sacrifices weeknights at home. “I generally work later hours during the week, so my weekends are as clear as possible,” he says. “We’re Jewish, so Friday night Sabbath dinner is an important tradition I try not to miss.”

His wife is a stay-at-home mom. “She’s the secret to making it all work,” he admits. “There’s no way I would be able to devote so much attention to work without her keeping everything together at home.”fork & knife

Saturdays are Family Date Night. “We go out to dinner. It does a lot of cool things: it bonds us, and it teaches the kids about eating out, about manners and about trying different types of foods.”


Jason Woycheshyn

Jason Woycheshyn

Partner, Bennett Jones LLP
Commercial litigation

Age: 37
Dad of two: ages three, two and a baby due in May

He used to wake up at 4 a.m. to get in a workout, catch the train from Oakville and hit Starbucks at 5:30 a.m. before getting to his desk. Obviously that’s crazy, so nowadays he catches the 6:55 a.m. train. “I also make a strong effort to get home by 6:15 to have dinner with the kids.”

As a senior associate, he brought his baby to a meeting. “My wife said, ‘I’m exhausted, I need some me time.’” So she dropped off the baby at his office. “An emergency strategy session came up and I was holding my daughter. Then she starts crying, and I’m rocking her.” As he remembers, one of the firm’s partners was not impressed. “I thought, ‘Well, this is the right thing to do for my family. If that’s the difference between staying here or not, that’s how it goes.’” Everything blew over the next day.

He would have had his kids when he was younger. “If I could do it again, I probably would have started a couple years earlier.”


Sudevi Mukherjee Gothi

Sudevi Mukherjee-Gothi

Partner, Torkin Manes LLP
Civil litigation

Age: 40
Mom of three: ages three (twins) and one

Her husband used to work in Quebec City as a lieutenant commander in the navy. After their twins were born he could only come home some weekends. “It didn’t work for our family,” she says. He requested a transfer. Now he works near Barrie, a long drive to their Oakville home, but he starts early so he can be back by 5 p.m.

6 p.m. onward is firmly family time. “I leave my phone in my purse and I don’t usually feel the urge to check it.”

diamondsShe takes cat-naps on the GO train. “Sleep has become a premium,” she says. “If somebody were to ask me if I wanted two hours of uninterrupted sleep or a diamond necklace, I’d choose sleep. And I love jewellery.”


Brian Calalang

Brian Calalang

Partner, Hansell LLP
Corporate and security

Age: 41
Dad of two: ages 10 and eight

His home, his office and his ex-wife’s house are all on the Yonge subway line. “You have to think about these things,” he says. “Being close to them is a high priority.” He and his ex share custody. Calalang usually spends time with his kids on the weekends and on one weekday.

He sometimes takes work calls while driving to coach his son’s hockey practice. “Technology today makes it easier to be available to your clients and spend time with your family — you can step away from the office.” He spends a lot of time outside with his kids, going on weekend getaways to the Niagara region and spending a week at the cottage. “Being present goes a long way.”

He’s on-call 24/7. Hansell LLP is a new firm that takes on “mission-critical” cases. But his kids have accepted it. “They’ve come to appreciate that they enjoy a life that a lot of kids don’t.” Technology and the support of his firm allow him to attend to both work and family without sacrificing either.


Maxine EthierMaxine Ethier

Associate, Baker & McKenzie LLP
Energy and infrastructure

Age: 34
Mom of two: ages three, two and another baby on the way in April

She cabs home to save time. “We live near Trinity Bellwoods. The decision to live central allows more time at work.”

The transitions between home and work are stressful. “When you’re trying to get the kids out the door, and when 6 p.m. starts to near and I want to get home for dinner — that’s the struggle. Otherwise, I’m generally fine.”

To succeed in law, you need a partner that supports you. “I know I wouldn’t be able to do it if my husband wasn’t there.” He sells dental equipment, so his time is more flexible.

Starting over isn’t easy. At Heenan Blaikie, where she worked for nine years, “There were a lot of parents with young kids. That was a luxury.” At Heenan, her team had the same motivation to get home for dinner. “Here, the group’s age ranges. A lot of them are single, or they are senior partners with older kids. When I take a call at home and there are small voices in the background on my end of the line, I don’t feel as comfortable because they may not have the same understanding. It was nice to have the certainty.”


Jake Sadikman and family

Jake Sadikman and his family at the cottage in Muskoka.

Cynthia Kuehl and co. on the slopes in Vermont.

Cynthia Kuehl and co. on the slopes in Vermont.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This story is part of The Precedent guide to getting it all done, from our Spring 2015 issue.

 

 


Illustrations by Naila Medjidova

The Circuit: Lerners’ 9th Annual Extraordinary Women’s Extravaganza


What: Lerners LLP Extraordinary Women’s Extravaganza
Where: Main Lobby, 130 Adelaide St. West

When: April 2, 2014


This year’s spring break-themed event was the 9th Extraordinary Women’s Extravaganza hosted annually by Lerners. Given the record attendance of over 150 guests, it seemed everyone was happy to enjoy a break from the weather and the office for a fabulous evening among colleagues, peers and mentors. Fish tacos, sliders, wine, cocktails and a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres provided the comfort food and drink that accompanies any good getaway.

“The Lerners Extraordinary Women’s Event brings together hundreds of professional women who enjoy, inspire and support each other,” said Jennifer Hunter, partner at Lerners. “Our goal every year is to create an opportunity to reconnect with women they never have time to see, and also to meet the women that will be an important part of their lives and careers in the future. Every year we get thank-you cards from our guests saying that they appreciate the effort we take to provide this opportunity to the women that have become important to us in our careers. It’s great to be at the centre of something that’s had such a positive impact on the women who are the current and future leaders of law and business in and around Toronto.”

Interestingly, over half of the lawyers in Lerners’ Toronto office are women. Intended to better connect new and established women in the field of law, this now signature annual networking opportunity has become extremely popular.

One of Canada’s largest litigation groups, Lerners LLP has offices in Toronto and London, Ontario, and is committed to continuing to support women in attaining partnership and leadership roles.


Yvonne Bambrick is an Urban Cycling Consultant, Coordinator of the Forest Hill Village BIA, and a Toronto-based Event & Portrait Photographer. Have an event coming up? Invite us to your next party!