This year marked the 12th Annual TLABC Women Lawyers Retreat and we couldn’t be more pleased with how this inspiring event has developed over the past decade!
Every year, our planning committee works tirelessly to organize an amazing weekend of learning, collaboration and connection for women in law across the province, and the feedback we receive from the registrants never fails to warm our hearts. The event continues to sell out in mere minutes and is clearly one of the hottest tickets of our seminar season.
(It even won the National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives (NATLE) CLE of the Year and the Association of Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) award for Outstanding Achievement.)
We asked Candace Cho, who is a long time attendee, as well as a member of the Planning Committee, for her perspective on the event… and this is what she had to say:
It never ceases to amaze and comfort me on the simple concept of what a sisterhood women lawyers can be. The proof is the annual TLABC Women Lawyers Retreat, which just happened on October 20-22, 2017 at Nita Lake Lodge, Whistler. This was the third time we held the retreat at Nita Lake, and it was just as fun and relaxing as ever. I still remember the first time I attended the conference as a newly called lawyer. I was amazed at how welcome I was, how all the registrants were eager to socialize and share stories, mentor each other and have fun. The concept is the same every year, but the experience has transitioned as I have aged. I find myself in the privileged position of providing more advice and mentorship to the newer called registrants, but the sense of sisterhood and camaraderie is as strong as ever.
The learning components are also awesome – this year did not disappoint, with Supreme Court of Canada Justice Suzanne Cote headlining our all-star cast of speakers who all presented on how women can forge their way to leadership, changing the law and fulfilling their vocations as lawyers.
The Saturday night dance party and photo booth are always a hoot, and new friends are made, while much needed time is spent catching up with old ones – often friends that we first met at the same conference years ago.
The registrants’ backgrounds, ages, and years of call are completely varied, from brand new calls to senior members of the bar. There are often QCs, retired justices, sitting Justices, and Benchers running amuck in their spa robes. Lawyers come from different ethnic, cultural, and other backgrounds, and diverse practice areas. The common, unifying connection is simply that we are all, or have been, women lawyers in the past or present.
The culture is a casual and free-flowing one. It is completely unpretentious, and at times, can be wonderfully raw and personal. It is a safe place where women can share their triumphs and struggles, and offer encouragement and support for one another. Wisdom is generously doled out, advice given from varying perspectives, and all opinions valued and heard. Every year has a different theme, but in general, the conference is meant to empower, inspire and uplift women lawyers in one efficient weekend away.
You forget about your worldly concerns from time to time to get into a robe, chat with someone over a glass of wine, or have enough time to take a bubble bath or get a massage. There is opportunity for self-reflection, socialization in small and large groups, and general frivolity.
As part of the planning committee, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to put together this truly meaningful event every year. It is a rare conference which intersects continuing professional development, collegiality, friendship and mentorship; and acts as a respite from the everyday busyness of a woman lawyer’s life. I look forward to continue participating in the conference for the rest of my legal career.
For more information on our legal seminars & events, please visit www.tlabc.org