Canadian Lawyer

April 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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12 www.canadianlawyermag.com FEATURE CROSS EXAMINED LISA BILDY has always avoided fitting her- self into an institutional mould. As a law student, Bildy found law school classes a bit dull but loved working at a legal clinic. "I really loved helping people and solv- ing their problems." So, when she started to look for articling positions, working at a large law firm did not appeal to her. She wanted something more practical that gave her more independence. "I did not want to be carrying a briefcase for a senior lawyer for five years," she says. Bildy ended up articling at Seabrook Epstein Ste. Marie & Miller in London, Ont., where, she says "there was just so much autonomy and so much opportunity to get on my feet in court from a very early stage in my career." While the firm historically did not hire back its articling students, Bildy broke the mould and joined as an associate after her articling term. Bildy was then on a track to a successful career as a litigator. She recalls a case of hers "Three months later, I had a baby and I never went back. And that surprised nobody more than me." Bildy decided to pause her career and look after her child. As a career-minded lawyer, Bildy says, the fact that she eventually home- schooled her first and second child and only did part-time work for over a decade and a half was an about-face. "I had thought negatively about stay-at- home moms. . . . I was a little judgy [and] I would never have seen myself as a stay-at- CHALLENGING NORMS AND COURTING CONTROVERSY Lisa Bildy always valued freedom, but the StopSOP fight and lockdown challenges have brought her views to the entire profession that went to a full jury trial as a high point in her initial career trajectory. "I had a courtroom full of senior counsel watching me do my first jury trial. . . . And after I cross-examined one doctor, he got down off the stand at the recess and he shook my hand and thanked me for the great sport. And I had a lot of positive feedback from the lawyers in the room." So, Bildy just assumed her career would be her focus in life, even though she was six months pregnant at the time of the trial. "If you are going to try and shut down a complex society . . . and not expect there to be repercussions that are extremely damaging and extremely long-lasting, I think [it] is crazy."

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