The Women’s Law Association of Ontario is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing issues and causes relevant to women in the legal profession through education and awareness programs. The association has existed since 1919 as a vibrant, active voice for women in the profession and a vital resource to members in their pursuit of fulfilling and successful careers in law. WLAO provides valuable networking opportunities via social and educational events in a professional and supportive environment.
Women’s General Counsel Chapter (“WGCC”)
WGCC is a proud chapter of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario
WGCC is a grassroots organization established by senior women in General Counsel roles who recognize that:
- The role of GC is a unique leadership role bridging law and business
- The role of GC involves unique leadership challenges and opportunities
- Women in the GC role face additional challenges and opportunities
Our mission is to help women in general counsel and executive legal leadership roles succeed as legal and business executives through:
- Networking with other senior women
- Relationship-building with other business leaders
- Leadership skills development
- Advocacy for the in-house profession
- Mentoring and teaching future female in-house leaders
- Giving back to the broader community
Our History and Practice:
The WGCC was found in 2012 by a small group of women lawyers working in high level legal and business leadership roles. The WGCC meets quarterly in and around the Greater Toronto Area. Meetings are hosted by our members and are held around personal and professional development topics.
Alexa Abiscott – Chair
Marni S. Dicker – Past Chair
Laila Brabander – Vice Chair – External
Julia Shin-Doi – Vice Chair – Internal
Cheryl Foy – Secretary
The founding members of the WLAO General Counsel Chapter are:
Julia Shin Doi
Please register for membership in the Women’s Law Association of Ontario in order to become a member of, or continue your membership in, the Women’s General Counsel Chapter.
Registration is available online through www.wlao.on.ca. If you require further information please contact the WLAO office through email@example.com or call 416-410-7267.
Congratulations to 2017 General Counsel Chapter Award Winner – Doris Stamml
Doris Stamml, Chief Legal Counsel at Ernst & Young, received her award at the Annual Award Gala at the Rosewater Room in Toronto on June 5th.
Past Award Winners include:
2016 – Dorothy Quann, Vice President and General Counsel, Xerox Canada
2015 – Norie Campbell, Group Head and General Counsel at TD Bank Group
“Pitch Perfect” Event on June 18, 2015
The “Pitch Perfect” event hosted by McCarthy Tétrault on June 18, 2015 saw 17 general counsel group members working with McCarthy Tétrault lawyers, 15 partners and 6 associates, to support the development of the McCarthy women lawyers’ business development skills.
It was a beautiful late spring afternoon and the backdrop was a fantastic view of the Toronto Islands. After the opportunity to informally chat over wine and hors d’hoeuvres each GC was seated at a table ready to hear the business pitches of their McCarthy colleagues. The McCarthy associates and partners were asked to pitch to three GC’s in a speed-dating-like arrangement. The GC’s provided comments and feedback on the pitches and the themes were summarized at the end.
Atrisha Lewis, McCarthy’s Associate said, “My pitches got better each time, highlighting the importance of practicing the pitch. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to practice this important skill early on in my career. One of the valuable lessons I gained from the event is the importance of closing the deal. While asking for something you want may appear daunting, it can be as simple as saying ‘I would really like to work with you’.”
The GCs appreciated the opportunity to explain the client’s perspective and to meet and learn about lawyers who can be added to their databases as potential future legal advisers. The GCs also enjoyed the opportunity to help their McCarthy’s colleagues in a friendly, non-threatening environment. “This really was a tremendous event. Women need more pitching opportunities and we typically don’t get great feedback after pitches, even if we ask for it”, said Suzanne Murphy, McCarthy’s Partner.
General Counsel Chapter Meets to Build Leadership Skills
General counsel act as both lawyers and senior leaders within their organizations. Making the transition from private practice law to become legal leaders in an in-house role is challenging and requires the development of leadership skills that are often unaddressed or underdeveloped in the law firm context. As lawyers working inside enterprises in different sectors, GC’s are often perceived as lacking in awareness and understanding of the organizations or businesses they are serving and of being too “lawyerly”. This perception interferes with the lawyer’s ability to effectively do her job and diminishes her influence. This is an ongoing challenge for in-house lawyers.
On May 7, 2014, twenty members of WLAO’s General Counsel Chapter invited leadership expert, Karen Hanna (www.tkbhanna.com )to talk to them about “Evolving as a Leader: Keeping the Best and Acquiring the Rest – Succeeding at the lawyer/leader transition”.
Ms. Hanna has worked extensively in management and strategic senior roles and works on leadership and skills development with many lawyers working in private practice. She encouraged participants to keep and value skills acquired or developed in the private practice setting indicating that private practice training uniquely develops and enhances resilience, discipline, capacity for complexity and volume, drive, sense of urgency, awareness of time, intellect, and goal-focus.
Ms. Hanna observed that private practice is less likely to provide opportunities for leadership development and organizational strategic thinking. She delivered a group leadership coaching session packed with recommendations for managing and developing talent, leading exceptionally well, and maximizing individual excellence. The attendees engaged in an open and active discussion of the challenges they face in the workplace. Julia Shin-Doi, President of the Women’s General Counsel Chapter, said “Karen Hanna was excellent. The presentation was action-packed, informative, entertaining and helpful”.
The WLAO General Counsel Chapter meets quarterly over lunch and focuses on networking and professional development for women working in general counsel and senior legal leadership roles.
New members are welcome. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on the next meeting.
Interested in starting a chapter in your area? contact us