May 11, 2021
"My Experience" Project: Weekly Submissions
Each week, we will feature experiences in our eBulletins collected through the “My Experience” Project. We encourage you to read each experience in its entirety, so it is viewed the way the participant intended. To read more experiences, complete self-reflection questions or submit your own experience, visit the Law Society Listens website.
"...I have had my fair share of experiences that I can’t term as anything other than discriminatory and stereotyping, specifically by judges. Colleagues do it too but one can usually push back. The worst of it is judges and the way that I’ve personally experienced being spoken to, that I have witnessed my other fellow minorities spoken to, it is ridiculous. It is so inappropriate.

...I mean Justice [last name] literally forced me off a file. This wasn’t my file; this was a matter where the counsel of record had gone away on a family emergency and I had to step in. The opposing party had filed an application on a Friday, an application that was going to be spoken to on the following Monday. We were just served and when I attended, even though I explained the circumstances, Justice [last name] insisted that I had to get ready and up-to-speed and he gave me until Friday. I had to prepare and drop everything that I was doing. On that Friday, when I was trying to make my submissions, he allowed the opposing party to speak and when it was my turn, I was cut-off, interrupted constantly and at one point I had to say “If you would just allow me to get my words in..."

"...I am a proud Cree man. In law school I focused on Indigenous law and I learned about many awful things the law has done to indigenous people. I heard about problems facing many articling students and lawyers who are visible minorities. I was so worried about articling to the point that after law school I took over two years off. I had read stories from previous articling students and lawyers, and I was horrified. I was so worried that the law was not for me – that being a lawyer was not for me. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

A change in life brought me back to my home town [of a medium-sized city in Alberta]. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d find such amazing opportunities here.

I sent out a few emails to different firms asking if they were interested in taking on an articling
student. I ended up getting a meeting with the person who later became my principal. I was
offered a position. No resume, no transcripts, just a meeting and a handshake..."

International Association of Women Judges: ThoughtExchange
The retention of women in the legal profession has been examined extensively over the years and many reports have recommended change, including the 1993 Canadian Bar Association report, Touchstones for Change. 

Over the years, numerous other studies and reports have been written about women’s role in the legal profession, not only in Canada, but also in the United States and United Kingdom. While women have come a long way since Lillian Ruby Clements, the first woman to be admitted to the Alberta bar in 1915, and the first woman to receive a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta, the issue of retention is still in question. 

Women continue to graduate law school in equal numbers to men and join the profession, yet why are they leaving? A recent article in The Globe and Mail titled Power Gap, revealed that women continue to face barriers in the legal profession regarding maternity leave, rise to management positions within firms, pay equity and sexual harassment. And in many instances, women do not speak up in fear of reprisal. 

We know that change doesn’t happen overnight, but it is important to provide a safe space for women in the legal profession to share their thoughts and ideas about these important topics. And that is why, the International Association of Women Judges, Canadian Chapter, want to hear from you. 

The Canadian Bar Association Alberta Branch and the Law Society of Alberta support this important initiative and encourage Alberta lawyers to join the conversation.

Join Us

We invite you to participate in a ThoughtExchange and to engage with others in sharing ideas and ways to improve the retention and engagement of women in the legal profession. 

The question we want to discuss is what changes are necessary to address the unique obstacles faced by women in the legal profession?

Visit this page to participate in the ThoughtExchange and provide your thoughts before end of day on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. You can visit multiple times and in fact, participants are encouraged to visit more than once to read and rate new ideas, and continue contributing to the conversation.

We are committed to sharing the themes that emerge from the ThoughtExchange. We hope to learn about obstacles women are facing in the legal profession that may not yet have come to light, and we hope to use this information to explore ways for meaningful change in the legal profession. 

Thank you in advance for your participation. 
Notice from the Courts

In light of the ongoing public health crisis caused by the pandemic, access to all courthouses in Alberta continues to be restricted in accordance with this attached Notice dated November 27, 2020.

Masks must be worn by anyone entering a courthouse in accordance with the attached Notice dated July 3, 2020 subject to the exceptions noted therein.

Anyone claiming a medical or disability exemption from this masking requirement must provide proof thereof.

For those who do not have a face mask, one can be obtained from perimeter security at the entrance to the courthouse.

The Court asks for the cooperation of the members of the public and Bar in complying with these requirements designed to protect everyone attending courthouses in this province.
Court of Queen's Bench Announcements

Further to the Court's Announcement of May 5, 2021, the Court is taking additional steps to reduce in-person attendance at courthouses for the period of May 10 to May 28, 2021, per Master Order #5. See this order.

A Criminal Bail Release Form of Order is now available for Counsel and Court use here. Counsel may use this form of order where bail is being consented to, and to propose release where bail is being contested/spoken to at a bail/bail review/hearing. Read the full announcement.

Effective May 14, 2021 — Due to the continuing pandemic and the need to reduce the number of people attending EVV Hearings in person at the same time, the process for EVV Oral Hearings has been changed. Read the full announcement.

Further to the Court's Announcement of May 5, 2021 and its Master Order of May 7, 2021, Counsel and parties should be aware that the Court is directing additional judicial resources to desk applications and remote hearings. Counsel and parties are encouraged to utilize the increased access to remote and desk processes in civil, family, and surrogate matters.
Board Positions With the Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI)
ALRI is seeking applications for two Board positions. ALRI is committed to advancing just and effective laws for Albertans.

The Board meets for one half day each month to discuss proposals for law reform and provide governance. Most meetings are by video conference with two in-person meetings per year when circumstances permit. The anticipated time commitment is 50-80 hours per year. Board members may also serve on sub-committees. Board members may also serve on sub-committees. Board members are not remunerated. Expenses are reimbursed. More information about ALRI and our work is available here.

To reflect the diversity of the legal profession of Alberta, ALRI welcomes applications from First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons, members of racialized groups, persons with disabilities, persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas, particularly from those who have been under-represented. All applicants must have a law degree.

Interested applicants may submit their resume or questions about this opportunity via email. The deadline for applications is May 20.
Upcoming Events

Visit our Events page for a full list of upcoming events.