An overhaul of the legal business paradigm coupled with more women attaining positions of power and greater transparency over remuneration are key towards helping women achieve more parity and to stem their exodus from the legal profession, urges a report and legal pundits.
“We are all aware that there have been advances in recent years, but we cannot be satisfied with the current situation,” remarked Suzie Lanthier of Gowling WLG International Limited and head of the Forum of Women Lawyers at the Canadian Bar Association, Quebec Division. “Just because it’s better than before doesn’t mean we should do nothing to improve it.”
Women have made significant strides in the legal profession since they have become the majority of lawyers in Quebec nearly a decade ago. However, they still face considerable obstacles over pay equity, access to partnerships or leadership positions, work-life balance and suffer silently due to sexual harassment and discrimination, prompting many to shun private practice and leave the profession far earlier than men, according to a report and leading Quebec legal actors.
“There is still work to be done to ensure that the share of female members in our professional order and their contribution to their workplaces is fully recognized throughout their careers,” said Catherine Claveau, the head of the Quebec Bar. “What has changed is that maybe we are becoming more and more aware of the importance of women in the profession. But in practice, unfortunately, it’s not very much reflected in the statistics.”