Not a goodbye… but a thank you.

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As I begin to wrap up my final week at TLABC, it’s impossible not to ride a rollercoaster of reflection of the past 12 years of my life at this association.  It has been a wild and wonderful time and certainly not without its challenges, but every twist and turn has brought me to who I am now – and for that, I am enormously grateful.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with an AMAZING team, I’ve grown as a person and a professional, and I have had the support and love of my colleagues every step of the way.  Choosing to move into a new realm is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
– Winnie The Pooh

I want to send my appreciation for our Board, members, associates, sponsors and friends.  There aren’t adequate words to express my gratitude for your passion, your work and your commitment to justice in BC.

Instead, I will leave you with my final column for the Verdict magazine, as it encompasses my thoughts as I move forward.

All the best,

Megan Ejack
Development Director – TLABC

 

THE ETHICS OF PAC –
from the upcoming issue of the Verdict magazine

“Do the right thing.  The ethical path can be lonely, hard, costly… but you’ll never lose self-respect, and that’s priceless and fragile.”  – Waylon Lewis

They say that to have integrity means to do the right thing, even when no one is watching.  In our profession, however, they’re all always watching – the media, the government, our members and the public.  What will TLABC do, say, or respond in the face of the issues that affect BC citizens…?

It can be a double-edged sword – or, it can be an opportunity.

In the face of sometimes unfortunate misperceptions about the legal profession, TLABC embraces the opportunity to show the citizens of our province that we are willing to stand up for their rights, and the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) is what gives us a voice to carry though with that promise.

It’s all about integrity – of the work itself and of those who dedicate themselves to doing that work.

At TLABC, we have a small, specialized staff, but our network of committees, including the Board of Governors and Executive Committee, is made up entirely of volunteers.  These volunteers are regular members – BC lawyers who choose to go above and beyond to help protect our justice system.  To support those who give their time on these task forces, many others also choose to contribute dollars to the PAC fund.  Some of them donate to a specific cause or campaign, while others are ongoing monthly donors, trusting in the process of the TLABC leadership.  Every dollar is extremely appreciated – no amount of time or money is insignificant.

As Development Director for the past ten years, I have seen the frontlines of this commitment to justice, firsthand.  I have worked with these ‘volunteers’ and I’m proud of what we have all been able to achieve in the name of this association.  We have made great strides, yet we will continue to push for justice in BC.  It is often hard and sometimes thankless and we don’t always take the time to celebrate the successes, so today I say… thank you.

From me to all of you:

Thank you for your time, your energy, your ethics and your integrity.  Thank you for the early meetings and late-night strategy sessions, for your humour after long days and all the inside jokes, for the friendship and support, the banter and respect, but most of all for your dedication to the cause. 

Integrity is defined as both “the quality of having strong moral principles” and “the state of being whole and undivided.”  Both of which we do and are. 

Regardless of what challenges may arise, I’m confident that the work will get done because of this. 

This will be the spirit of our legacy, and I’m proud to have been part of it.

 

Future Leaders – Feature Member, Lindsay Frame

Meet Lindsay Frame! 

Lindsay is one of our law student members who has been stepping up in helping to engage her peers at UBC, particularly with raising awareness about the many issues that the law profession is currently facing.  Recently, she helped to facilitate a presentation to her classmates by one of our mentor-lawyers, the now-retired, Mr. Larry Kancs, and we can see many more opportunities for her to find her place as a future leader of TLABC.  Lindsay is the daughter of long-time TLABC Governor & Past-president, Steve Frame, and we look forward to seeing how she is able to continue to grow within our association.

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Q & A…

What were some of the main reasons that you have chosen to pursue a legal career?

Both of my parents are practicing lawyers, but in a kind of ironic twist, the person who convinced me to apply for law school was actually my molecular genetics professor, Don Moerman. I was in the process of completing my Bachelor’s degree at UBC in Integrated Sciences, and my chosen integration was Neuroscience & Immunogenetics. I was very engaged with my courses at the time, but my distaste for lab work made me acutely aware that a career in research was probably not in my future. Professor Moerman was the first person who ever explained to me how a science background could be valuable in law. It was a perspective that I had never really considered – so when he set me up to have coffee with a former student of his who had recently started practicing IP law, I think that’s when I first started to see a place for myself within the field. My interest was initially focused towards genetic patent work, but I have since expanded my horizons and am interested in anything that intersects at all with science or medicine – especially areas like intellectual property, personal injury, criminal and medical malpractice law.

Were there mentors, leaders, or others who have inspired you?

My parents have been my biggest mentors. My dad is a personal injury lawyer, and my mom is a prosecutor, and although their practice areas are quite different, what they have in common is that they are both very enthusiastic about their work. Growing up, a lot of my friends’ parents would come home from work exhausted, but most of the time, mine would come home excited to tell us about their day – so that has always pushed me to find work that I genuinely love doing. Having been to court a handful of times, I am certainly starting to understand their excitement, which I think is a good sign. My parents also share the philosophy that lawyers have a duty to do work that helps people in the community, and that philosophy has always pushed me to get involved with organizations like the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) and the Special Olympics, which have been some of my fondest memories.

Growing up, I was also a competitive athlete, so naturally, my coaches were big inspirations. They pushed me quite hard, with a very “tough-love” attitude. During training, as one of a few girls on a mostly-male team, I was generally held to the same standards as all of my male peers – I was expected to run as fast, jump as high, and do as many push-ups. That was sometimes hard because they were big guys, and I was weaker than a lot of them. But nobody ever “went easy on me” because I was a girl, so I had to work harder. I think that experience made me driven, and it made me expect a lot of myself. It really helped to prepare me for this moment, as a young woman entering a somewhat male-dominated field.

How do you handle the pressure that can often accompany the heavy course load of being a law student?

I have always found the ocean to be very calming, so one of my favourite ways to manage stress is to go for a jog on the seawall on a sunny day. I am a fair-weather runner, though, so throughout the winter I’ll often substitute spin and kickboxing classes. I generally find exercise, as well as cooking, to be very therapeutic.

Additionally, the nice thing about law school is that on any given “bad day” another law student is likely within arm’s reach that has also had a bad day for the same or similar reasons – so, I have found a lot of support in my peers this year, as well as from the many lawyers I have spoken to who can relate with their own 1L experiences.

What do you enjoy most about law school?

One of my favourite experiences has been my involvement in the LSLAP. It has given me a lot of exposure to different areas of law, and I have been lucky enough to pick up a few trials which I will be working on over the summer! I have always wanted to be a litigator, so I feel lucky to have hands-on experience like this so early on in my career. Every lawyer I have dealt with so far has been incredibly supportive, and very forgiving of the inevitable embarrassing moments which happen when I am not entirely sure what I am doing. I had always imagined the courtroom to be an incredibly adversarial environment, but I quickly learned that the opposite seems to be true, at least for law students.

What do you find most challenging
about law school?

Time management was one of the things that I have found to be the hardest about law school. The course load is much heavier and more reading-intensive than what I had become used to in undergrad. There is also a constant flow of networking events, and a number of exciting opportunities (such as LSLAP, or other pro bono initiatives) to do in one’s “spare” time. Juggling my academic, extracurricular and personal commitments was sometimes challenging, and at times I certainly felt that I had over-extended myself. At the same time, though, I know it is a rite of passage and that it builds useful skills for the practice of law.

What advice would you give to those thinking about pursuing law school?

Some of the best advice I got at the beginning of law school was not to narrow my focus to one area of law right away. It seems like the first question that anyone asks a law student is “what kind of law do you want to practice?” My answer to that question is ever-changing because I have gained exposure to more practice areas than I would have imagined existed when I first started 1L. I will admit that in the summer before law school started, I complained incessantly about one particular class being a required course… and that class was actually my favourite this year! So, I would tell people who are thinking of pursuing a career in law to do so with an open mind.

If you weren’t studying to become a lawyer, what career path would you pursue?

Occupational therapy. Prior to coming to law school, I spent a number of years working as an “aide” for people with disabilities, and I found the work to be very enjoyable and very rewarding. I contemplated applying for occupational therapy school at one point, as I hoped to be able to directly support victims of traumatic brain injuries, and help them regain control of their lives. Ideally, in my future career as a lawyer, I hope to be able to do this same thing through advocacy, as well as by being involved with volunteer organizations like the Special Olympics.

Why is being a member of TLABC important
to you?

My dad was very involved with TLABC throughout most of my childhood, so while I was growing up, I learned a lot about the types of advocacy that TLABC engages in. I have always found those endeavours to be things that I felt passionately about, as well. I think that TLABC’s access to justice initiatives are particularly important, because they give a voice to those who might not otherwise be able or willing to self-advocate. What I think is most important about TLABC is that their initiatives are powerful: they bring together some of the best and brightest minds to solve problems, together. I think it is so much more effective than branching out alone, and I am happy to have an opportunity to be a part of it.

Additionally, I think that TLABC provides amazing opportunities to meet litigators and learn about their practice areas. To a law student,
the experience is invaluable, because we get a good amount of exposure to corporate firms, but not as much to the types of small firm litigation that a lot of TLABC members practice.

If you could ask a senior lawyer one question, what would it be?

If I had the opportunity to pick senior lawyers’ brains, I would likely ask them what advice they would give to someone who is brand-new to litigation?, or what mistakes they made on their first trials?

Editorial Note:   Would you like to help Lindsay answer her question?
Email julia@tlabc.org

@tla_bc

Women Lawyers Retreat ’18

WOMEN LAWYERS RETREAT – 19-21 OCTOBER 2018 at Nita Lake Lodge
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We are currently accepting applications for bursaries to our annual Women Lawyers Retreat, which will take place over the weekend of 19-21 October 2018 at Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler. We are encouraging all women who think they might be eligible to apply! (Please note: applications will be kept confidential.)
Bursary recipients must be one or more of the following:
·        Newly called to the profession
·        A great part of your practice includes Pro-Bono work
·        Experiencing financial hardship
·        Preference will be given to TLABC members
Bursary includes:
·        Accommodation in a triple occupancy room for Friday & Saturday
·        6 hours of CPD
·        All social events and meals over the weekend
·        $150 spa gift card for the Nita Lake Spa (can be used that weekend or at another date)
Write a brief description of why you think you are eligible to receive a bursary, and email it to erin@tlabc.org by Monday July 9th.

Member Perspective – The Women Lawyers Retreat – #TLABC

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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:

Member Perspective; By Candace Cho, (Onyx Law Group)

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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.

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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.

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Follow the TLABC Women’s Community – on Facebook or with the hashtag #TLABC_women on Twitter & Instagram!

@tla_bc

For more information on our legal seminars & events, please visit www.tlabc.org

Women Lawyers ReTWEET

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It’s that time of year again!

As we lead up to the 12th annual Women Lawyers Retreat, which will be held this October at Nita Lake Lodge, in Whistler, we invite you to participate in the ever-popular Women Lawyers ReTWEET!

The Retweet is a fun way to connect our members and community, and encourage collaboration, inspiration and discussion.  This year, the Retweet will compliment our new initiative – Wellness In the Workplaceand we would encourage you to consider how wellness plays a role in both your personal and professional life.  As we support and inspire each other, we fuel the fires of success.

Post or send your favourite links, websites, quotes, tips or photos… anything that inspires you as a professional and as a woman.

There are 3 easy ways to participate…

  1.  Follow us on Twitter @tla_bc, Facebook (TLABC) & (TLABC Women), and on Instagram (tlabc)
  2.  Use the hashtag #TLABC_women or tag us in your posts that inspire you as a woman & a professional!
  3.  Send us your favourite posts, images, articles, photos or quotes and we will include them in our posts.  Please email megan@tlabc.org

 

Wellness Wednesday – October

“We are what we repeatedly do. Success is not an action but a habit” – Aristotle.

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Last weekend, we held our 11th annual Women Lawyers Retreat at Nita Lake Lodge, in Whistler.  It was a wonderful weekend of inspiration, collaboration and learning.

Despite what some people might think, the challenges women face, (especially in business and in law,) have certainly not disappeared… and it’s crucial that while we acknowledge how far we’ve come, we also recognize what we can do to continue to progress and create change.

As we continue to move forward and support one another, let’s remember that healthy habits are the foundation of growth.

Here’s a Wellness Wednesday pick from our publisher, Julia Chalifoux, from the Centre For Women in Business…

Five Healthy Habits for Women in Business

Take care of yourselves!

@tla_bc

#tlabc_women

 

End of Winter Update

It’s been nearly a MONTH since our last post, because we’ve been bu-sy!  Busy is good.

February has gone by in a flash.  Our Community program, ‘TLABC Cares – Lawyers Helping People’ has been working towards some new projects, including taking part in Pink Shirt Day – the campaign to end bullying

Check us out:

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Bullying is not just about school-aged kids – ‘bullies’ can be found everywhere from the workplace to the courtroom and it’s crucial that we recognize the signs of disrespect.  We pride ourselves on having a strong team, from our leadership to our newest faces, as well as in our community, and the strength in our team lies in just that – respect.  We hope to act as an example in the community, as we work with our friends and partners towards continued justice.

On that note, TLABC was recently invited to attend the CBABC Women’s Forum at Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, BC, and we were so pleased to be there!  Anytime the CBA and TLABC can join forces, whether it’s at an event like this, or with justice-related issues in the community, we’re thrilled.

I was asked to give a presentation on an Introduction to Social Media For Lawyers (“Confessions of a Twit”) and had a great time speaking to an intimate group of lawyers, judges and Thompson Rivers University Law (TRU law) students before hitting the spa.  The event was organized by Kerri Priddle of Chahal Priddle, in Kamloops, BC and her (amazing) articled student (soon to be associate), Jasmine Kooner.  Kerri is a member of both TLABC and the CBA, and a longtime attendee of our own Women’s event, the Annual TLABC Women Lawyers Retreat, which we hold each October at Tigh Na Mara Seaside Resort in Parksville, BC.

The program included some great presentations and the weekend, as a whole, was wonderful.  It’s so great to see law firms and schools who value these types of seminars for women.  The inspiration and collegiality that comes from a setting in which women are able to support other women in the field of law, is so important to the growth of the profession.

The weekend was not without a bit of wine and fun either – the Saturday night event was an organized murder mystery party!  What better way to get to know each other than in some ridiculous costumes and crazy characters..?  It’s nice to be able to combine learning and levity once in a while.  (I won’t even get into the top-secret karaoke parties I’ve witnessed at other events…)  But I digress.

The business of law is a very serious business indeed…

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