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Gowlings spearheads introduction of Justicia Project by Law Society of Alberta

Jul. 25, 2012
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Led by partner Sandra Mah and managing partner Kenneth Warren, QC, the Gowlings Calgary office is supporting the Law Society of Alberta in its efforts to introduce and implement the Justicia Project, an initiative designed to retain and advance women in private practice, in firms across the province.

Originally developed by the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Justicia Project is a voluntary program aimed at supporting women lawyers in private practice, and includes written commitments by law firms to participate in the project. Each participating firm commits to achieving goals in four core areas: tracking gender demographics, reviewing/introducing flexible work arrangements and parental leave policies, adopting initiatives to foster women’s networking, business development, and promoting leadership skills for women.

Encouraged by the success of the Justicia Project in Ontario, the Law Society of Alberta, through its Retention and Re-Engagement Task Force, resolved to launch its own two-phase program. Phase one is directed at national law firms with offices in Alberta that are already participants in Justicia in Ontario, and phase two will be directed at all other Alberta firms. Sandra and Kenneth volunteered to drive the initiative on behalf of the Law Society of Alberta and Gowlings and on June 19 they launched phase one of the Justicia Project and report 100 per cent attendance at the first managing partners’ summit.

“The Gowlings Calgary office is thrilled to be working with the Law Society of Alberta on this initiative,” said Sandra. “Gowlings is committed to incorporating these initiatives and to supporting all of our Firm members.”

In addition to Sandra and Kenneth’s work with the Justicia Project in Alberta, Susan Clarke, the Firm’s director of professional development and Firm diversity officer, has been actively working on the Justicia Project in Ontario since its inception.

The Justicia Project in Alberta is a precedent-setting initiative created in response to evidence that women leave private practice at a higher rate than their male counterparts in their first 10 years of practice. The Justicia Project has expanded to other jurisdictions and been adopted by the Law Society of British Columbia, the Law Society of Manitoba and the Barreau du Québec.

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