Jacquelyn Stevens
President of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario

Welcome to 2020 – Year 101!

After celebrating our 100th anniversary in the last twelve months, here we are embarking on Year 101.  The focus of this year’s activities continues to be on advancing and advocating for women in the legal profession with an understanding of intersectionality so that all women, regardless of race, ability, sexual orientation, religion and age are included.    Women in the profession continue to face discrimination and harassment.  We cannot achieve equity and inclusion while discrimination and harassment exists.   Our work in the coming years will continue the work and mission of our sisters over the past 100 years.

We have been furthering our mission through our programming.  We kicked the year off with an engaging roundtable discussion about challenges to equity initiatives and changes at the Law Society of Ontario.  We also are planning several more roundtable discussions where we can illuminate issues including: promoting women into leadership positions such as becoming a bencher, strategies to achieve equity and inclusion in the legal profession, and the unique challenges faced by younger women in our profession

We are so thrilled to have 100 years of the work of the WLAO commemorated through the unveiling of the Ontario Heritage Trust plaque. The unveiling ceremony will take place on February 27, 2020 at Convocation Hall.  The plaque will be installed in the spring in the south gardens at Osgoode Hall.

To continue to move WLAO forward into its next century, we have restructured our governance model and are focusing more on member involvement in our various committees.  If you are interested in volunteering with WLAO please go to www.wlao.on.ca/about/committees/ and fill out the volunteer application form.  We are currently looking for volunteers for each of our committees: mentoring, membership, programming, communications, advocacy and finance.  Our hope is to allow more members to be engaged in planning activities to make WLAO as relevant to our members as possible.

We are revamping our mentoring program.  The link to the application forms at www.wlao.on.ca/mentoring/ will be open soon to accept both protégé and mentor applications.  WLAO is committed to providing support and encouragement to our members through our mentoring program. Regardless what stage you are at in your career, we all benefit from being a protégé and a mentor.

A few dates to put in your calendar to attend and celebrate with WLAO:

  • WLAO Improv(e) Your Communications Skills with Bad Dog Theater, Wednesday, February 19, 2020
  • Ontario Heritage Trust/WLAO Plaque Unveiling, Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • WLAO Roundtable #2  Monday, March 30, 2020
  • WLAO President’s Award Dinner Thursday, June 18, 2020
  • WLAO/CAWEE Deb Snead Memorial Golf Event August 17, 2020.

WLAO continues to be dedicated to our mission of empowering women in the legal profession by providing a collective voice and advocating for equality, diversity and change.  Since 1919, WLAO has embodied and lived this mission through leadership and support.  We provide an active voice for women in the profession and a vital resource to members in their pursuit of fulfilling and successful legal careers.


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