Canadian Lawyer

April 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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24 www.canadianlawyermag.com SPECIAL REPORT WOMEN IN LAW "Women feel that they are working in an unsustainable way, with no downtime and no separation between life and work." Yola Ventresca, Lerners LLP social interactions that are part of traditional office life. She said she has talked to women who have never had an issue with anxiety go to the emergency room thinking they're having a heart attack only to find it was a panic attack. "We're seeing the tipping point of productive stress turning to destructive stress, the kind that overloads your body. We need to bring this out in the open and talk about ways to manage that stress." Other panellists at the summit discussed the need to ensure a way of taking a break or create a boundary between work and home life. Heather Platt, chief legal officer with Metrolinx, talked about "video call" fatigue and how, early on in the pandemic, people felt meetings had to be done by Zoom or Microsoft Teams. "It was exhausting, very exhausting," she said. Over time, the firm started to look at how remote technology was being used and realized that not everything had to be done by video call. Sometimes, a simple phone call could do the trick. "There are still lots of video conferences," she said, "but it's really helped us to come up with some solutions that are practical." Sudevi Mukherjee-Gothi, a partner at Pallett Valo LLP, said she has realized that, as someone working from home and raising children who are learning online, "you have to prioritize your mental and physical health." She carves out "me time" and works with the school to determine the best time to schedule work-related calls to not conflict with online school. "My daughters are twins, and they have recorder practice, so I make sure not to schedule calls at that time because no one else needs to hear my kids learning the recorder." Mukherjee-Gothi said she also makes sure to walk with her children when the school day ends for mental and physical health reasons. "Don't hide what you are doing, and make sure everybody who needs to know understands your timetable. Direct your energy in the best way possible and know that it cannot just all be toward work or all toward family."

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