Canadian Lawyer

April 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 21 of 51

20 SPECIAL REPORT WOMEN IN LAW summit that private practice law is often incompatible with family life. "It is because law firms' business models were designed at a time when all lawyers were men, and almost all had stay-at-home wives." Despite the mass entry of women into the labour market, most firms still organize workplaces for the "ideal worker" unencum- bered with family responsibilities. Gershbain also said that law firms must move away from the "accommodation" model for women. "As long as we continue to treat tactics aimed at women's equality as accom- modations, we're going to perpetuate the idea that women, as mothers, bring a deficiency to the table that law firms need to work around. "The problem with the accommodations model across all industries is that it treats women's equality as a woman's issue, not as a business problem and a leadership imperative." Sandeep Tatla, chief equity, diversity and inclusion officer with Fasken, pointed to the importance of collecting data when looking to increase women's leadership roles in law firms. She said that one organization with which she worked was trying to boost the number of women in senior roles to 30 from 22 per cent. The data showed that the organization was doing a great job at hiring women, including more of them at the senior level than men. "I've too often seen lofty aspirations laid waste by gender and race- based exclusion, by imposter syndrome." Charlene Theodore, Ontario Bar Association

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