About

Who We Are

Young Women in Law (YWL) is a not-for-profit organization that aims to provide young women lawyers in their early stages of practice with a platform and the tools to connect with other lawyers, enhance their skills and give back to their community. YWL also provides support to young women lawyers as they navigate the early stages of their career, seek to make career transitions and strive to balance work with their personal life.

 

YWL hosts several networking events throughout the year to provide our members with opportunities to meet and establish connections with other YWL members, develop and enhance life and career skills, and get special access to conferences and deals offered by our strategic partners. Explore our events >>

Mission Statement

Young Women in Law’s (YWL) strives to facilitate dialogue, learning, and ultimately, change.

Our mission is to:

Encourage and support female lawyers to obtain positions of influence and leadership within their workplace, the legal profession, and the community.

Provide networking and collaboration opportunities for female lawyers in both social and professional environments.

Encourage female lawyers to use their legal education to give back to their communities.

Engage all members of the profession to create conversation and dialogue about issues facing female lawyers.

Promote the retention of women in the legal profession.

Assist female lawyers in their personal and professional lives.

Photo by: 5ive15ifteen Photo Company

Board of Directors

Anna Alizadeh, Articling Student Officer

Anna Alizadeh obtained her J.D. from the University of Ottawa in 2015, and her Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Biology from York University in 2012.  Anna is an Associate at de VRIES LITIGATION LLP, and practices in the areas of estates, trusts and capacity litigation.   While at the University of Ottawa, Anna was the Vice President of the University of Ottawa Association of Women and the Law.  She was also the Communications Executive for the Health Law Students’ Association, where she organized social events and informative talks.

Giselle Davidian, Director of Marketing

Giselle Davidian obtained her B.C.L./LL.B. degrees from McGill University in 2014 and her M.Env.Sc. and H.B.Sc. degrees from the University of Toronto in 2008 and 2007, respectively.  Giselle articled at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP where, following her call to the Ontario bar in 2015, she returned as an associate lawyer.  Giselle has a broad practice in the areas of environmental law, environmental litigation, energy, natural resource and Indigenous law.  Prior to law school, Giselle was an environmental scientist at a consulting engineering firm in Toronto.  Giselle is a research contributor to the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law.  In addition to her involvement with YWL, Giselle is an Executive Member of the Ontario Bar Association’s central Young Lawyers Division and is on the organizing committee for Law Day.

Amrita Dhillon, Communications Officer

Amrita Dhillon obtained her J.D. from Bond University, Australia in 2013 and graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2010 with a B.A. (Hons) in Political Science. Amrita articled with Elections Canada’s Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Department and was called to the bar in 2015. Currently, she is a Content Development Lawyer at LexisNexis Canada.

Mariana Fonar, President

Mariana Fonar obtained her J.D./MBA from the University of Western Ontario and the Richard Ivey School of Business in 2012 and a Bachelor of Administrative Studies (Honors) in Marketing from York University in 2008. Following her call to the Bar in 2013, Mariana practiced as a Corporate/Commercial and Employment lawyer followed by a role as in-house counsel for one of the most successful developers and owners of utility-scale solar energy projects in the world. Mariana is currently Legal Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Lift & Co. a tech company that empowers consumers and businesses with superior knowledge and insight to make informed cannabis decisions.

Laurel Hogg, VP and Director of Membership

Laurel Hogg obtained her J.D. from the University of Ottawa in 2015 and Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from Simon Fraser University in 2010. Laurel articled with the litigation firm Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffiin LLP. Following her call to the Bar, Laurel returned to the firm as an Associate practicing in a broad range of civil litigation, including class actions, commercial, intellectual property, and professional liability matters. Prior to joining Lenczner Slaght, Laurel worked at the Federal Court of Canada and as a caseworker in the Criminal Division of the University of Ottawa Community Legal Aid.

Jessie Lamont, Events Officer

Jessie Lamont received her J.D. from Queen’s University Faculty of Law in 2015 and graduated with a B.A. (Honours) in History and Women’s Studies jointly from Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College in 2011. Jessie summered, articled, and began her career as a litigation associate at a full-service international law firm before she moved to Goddard Gamage LLP, where she practices in the areas of estate, power of attorney, and capacity litigation. While attending Queen’s Law, Jessie received several academic awards and was a volunteer with Pro Bono Students Canada and Queen’s Legal Aid, Events Co-Chair of the Queen’s Law Orientation, a peer counsellor for the Queen’s Happiness Project, and an Upper Year Buddy. In addition to her involvement with YWL, Jessie is also an Honorary Committee Member for the Person’s Day Event fundraiser for the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund.

Sarah Naiman, Director of Events

Sarah Naiman obtained her JD from the University of Windsor in 2013 and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2014. Sarah is currently in-house counsel with Intact Insurance and prior to that, worked at a commercial litigation boutique. While attending law school in Windsor, Sarah volunteered at the Community Legal Aid of Windsor where she represented individuals who could not afford to pay for legal services. Sarah currently volunteers with Law Help Ontario PBO. 

Shannon Paine, Sponsorship Officer

Shannon Paine obtained a joint Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration from Dalhousie University in 2013 as well as a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies with a Minor in International Development Studies from the University of New Brunswick in 2009. She articled with the City of Calgary and was called to the Bars of both Alberta and Ontario in 2014.  After moving to Toronto, she began practicing as a corporate and regularly lawyer with a firm focused on food law matters. Shannon is now Legal Counsel for the Electrical Safety Authority. In addition to her role as Sponsorship Officer at YWL, Shannon is Vice-President of Dalhousie Law Alumni’s Southern Ontario chapter and a member of Newchoir Toronto. 

Stephanie Provato, Events Officer

Stephanie Provato obtained her J.D. from the University of Windsor in 2015, and graduated from the University of Toronto in 2011 with an Honours B.A. in Criminology. She has also studied abroad at both the University of Oxford in England and the University of Lucerne in Switzerland. Stephanie was called to the Ontario Bar in 2016, and currently practices entertainment law at Buchli Goldstein LLP. Prior, Stephanie worked at two national law firms and was in-house at the Toronto International Film Festival. During law school, Stephanie was an Editor with the Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues, and was actively involved with Pro Bono Students Canada. Stephanie has multiple published works, and currently runs her own website, reporting on intellectual property and entertainment law developments and hot topics. Outside of her practice, Stephanie is an advisor for the Lighten CASL initiative, and was invited to speak at and work with the House of Commons to offer recommendations and contribute to the statutory review and re-drafting of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).

Alla Segal, Treasurer

Alla Segal has a dynamic corporate commercial practice, with a strong focus on advancing client goals in the commercial real estate industry. Alla is a long-standing advocate for the advancement of women in their professional careers, frequently guest lecturing at the Osgoode Professional Development LLM on topics of corporate governance and women on boards. She is a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of Young Women in Law. Prior to this, she was the Secretary to the Ontario Chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors, as well as a member of the External and Joint Events Committee of Women in Capital Markets and the Women in Leadership network.

Sasha Toten, Secretary

Sasha Toten is currently a Director and the Secretary of Young Women in Law. She obtained her J.D. from the University of Ottawa in 2013 and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2008 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. While in law school, Sasha co-founded the uOttawa chapter of the Women’s Legal Mentorship Program to help women develop a support system throughout their legal careers from the classroom to their careers and beyond. Sasha practices corporate law at Minden Gross LLP.

Stephanie Voudouris, Independent Director

Stephanie Voudouris is an associate at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. She has an active commercial litigation practice with a focus on securities litigation and class actions. Stephanie has appeared before the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Securities Commission, and other commissions and tribunals, and has experience with private arbitration and mediation proceedings.  Stephanie received her J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2013, where she graduated in the top ten percent of her class. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Young Women in Law and an active member of the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers’ Association.

Adrian Walrath – Independent Director

Adrian Walrath obtained her J.D. from the University of Western Ontario in 2010 and graduated from the University of Victoria in 2006 with a B.A. (Honours) in Political Science. In law school, Adrian was Chair of the Community Outreach Committee. Adrian then summered and articled with Cassels Brock and Blackwell LLP. Following her call to the Ontario bar in 2011, she became corporate counsel for a private company. Adrian then joined the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) in 2012. Her areas of expertise include securities law, financial regulatory matters and US and international tax. Adrian was previously a member of the YWL Board of Directors from 2012-2014 as corporate secretary and co-director of events. She is also involved in local women’s charities, including supporting the Red Door shelter.

Advisory Board

Delee Fromm

Delee Fromm is a lawyer, psychologist and author and has taught and coached for 30 years. As a former partner at a large Bay Street law firm, she practised commercial real estate for 17 years. Prior to her career in law she was a neuropsychologist and now, as a consultant, she provides services to international law firms, corporations, banks, and governments. She is a coach with the LSUC and a guest lecturer at several universities including Ryerson University, the University of Western Ontario, York University and the University of Toronto, including both Rotman School of Management and the Faculty of Law.

She has contributed content for Lexis Practice Advisor Canada. She is the author of two books – Advance Your Legal Career: Essential Skills for Success published by LexisNexis Canada and Understanding Gender at Work: How to Use, Lose and Expose Blind Spots for Career Success. For more information about her, and to read her blogs, please go to www.deleefrommconsulting.com and her profile on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/deleefromm.

Ratika Gandhi

Ratika Gandhi is Director of Legal and Compliance at Alcon Canada Inc. where she is responsible for overseeing all legal and compliance matters relating to the organization. She manages various regulatory and privacy matters, as well as issues relating to the sales and marketing of Alcon products and local employment issues. She also works with the business to draft, revise and negotiate various commercial contracts and internal policies, and also assists with implementing relevant industry codes and standards of practice.

Ratika joined Alcon from McMillian LLP, where she was an Associate and obtained a depth of experience in Health Law, Regulatory Law and General Corporate Commercial Law. In her practice at McMillan LLP, Ratika also assisted with a number of mergers and acquisitions as well as assisted clients with privacy and general business issues.

Ratika received an Honours B. Arts Sc. Degree from McMaster University and a Juris Doctor degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. Ratika has also obtained Osgoode’s Certificate in Health Law. Ratika is a committed volunteer, mentor and member of the legal community. She previously served on the Board of Directors of Peel Senior Link and was also on the Health Law Executive Committee of the Ontario Bar Association. Since 2013, Ratika has had many roles on the Board of YWL, including Director of Membership, and most recently, Co-President. Ratika is now thrilled to be an Advisory Board member of YWL.

Adrian Lang

Adrian Lang is Head of Business Management, Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, at Bank of Montreal, where she has accountability for a broad range of business and strategic priorities. Prior to that role, she was Associate General Counsel at BMO where she led the litigation team for personal and commercial. Prior to joining the Bank, in 2013, she was a partner with Stikeman Elliott’s Toronto litigation group. She was awarded the Canadian General Counsel Award for litigation management in 2015, and the Community Builder Award by the CCCA in 2014. She has been recognized by The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory as a leading practitioner in a number of practice areas, and was recognized by Lexpert® in 2008 as one of the “Leading Lawyers Under 40″. Ms. Lang is on the Advisory Board of the Class Action Defences Quarterly, sits on the Board of Governors of Royal St. George’s College, is a past director of The Advocates’ Society, and is the past Chair of the Board of Canadian Stage Company. She is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Directors Education Program, and has her ICD.D designation.

Wendi Locke

Wendi Locke is a partner with McCarthy Tétrault LLP in its Business Law Group in Toronto. She advises on a broad range of corporate and securities law matters, including corporate governance and compliance issues. Wendi regularly acts on both public and private offerings of equity and debt securities in Canada, with an emphasis on initial public offerings, medium term note programs and the issuance of capital trust securities by financial institutions. She frequently acts on behalf of Canadian issuers in connection with cross border securities offerings into jurisdictions such as the United States and United Kingdom. Wendi is also an instructor for the advanced securities law programs offered by the University of Western Ontario and University of Windsor law schools.

Wendi received her BA (Public Administration) from the University of Western Ontario in 1995, her B.Comm. (Hons.) from the University of Windsor in 1997 and her combined MBA/LLB from the University of Windsor in 2000. She was called to the Ontario bar in 2002.

Shanin Lott

Shanin Lott is Managing Director, Talent and Professional Resources.  She is responsible for leading the overarching talent management strategy and overseeing all people functions as they relate to lawyers, law clerks, students and business services professionals. This is a diverse role requiring legal, human resources, organizational development and people management expertise. Shanin is responsible for developing talent programs to align with broader firm strategic plans. She works closely with practice group heads and firm senior leaders to develop innovative recruitment strategies to attract, retain and advance the best people and to create a diverse and inclusive firm culture.

Prior to this role Shanin was a lawyer practicing Corporate Commercial Litigation in the Toronto office. She then spent several years practicing law in New York City where she specialized in complex criminal and civil white-collar defense and securities litigation.

Shanin leads the engagement strategy and diversity initiatives. The firm has been rated as one of Canada’s 50 Best Employers (Aon Hewitt) for the last 7 years and one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (Mediacorp Canada) for four of the last five. 

Shanin frequently gives interviews on a range of Talent, HR and Diversity topics including to Lexpert Magazine, The Lawyers Weekly and the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. She is also a frequent speaker, including recently speaking on unconscious bias at the Women Legal Conference in May 2016, American Bar Association’s Women in M&A Task Force Meeting in April 2016, at the Conference Board of Canada in October 2015 and at the Catalyst Awards Conference in New York City in March 2015. 

Shanin was honoured with the 2014 Zenith Award for her people-management strategy, commitment to diversity, and the advancement of women. In 2013, Shanin was named one of Profiles in Diversity Journal’s “Women Worth Watching”, recognizing her advancement of diversity and inclusion principles through strategies and initiatives promoted in business and the community.

Hatty Reisman

Hatty Reisman is a seasoned corporate and entertainment lawyer, with over 30 years of experience and many accomplishments. She is the owner and founder of the boutique law firm of Reisman Law Offices, which focuses primarily on the film and television industry, technology start ups, and on other industries that are founded in intellectual property. Hatty sits on the Board of Directors of numerous organizations, including The Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, Canadian Women in Communications & Technology, and Kids Help Phone.

Laurel Turchin

Laurel Turchin joined BMO Financial Group in 2013. In her current role in the BMO Enterprise Regulatory Office she advises several of BMO’s lines of business during examinations by the bank’s primary regulator, OSFI. Laurel has practised securities law with the Ontario Securities Commission’s Investment Funds Group, corporate law with MDS Laboratories Inc., and estates/trusts with TD Trust and Canada Trust. Between 2006 and 2013, Laurel took a hiatus from her career to raise her three children. During this time she led a women’s networking group and served as president of the board of a not-for-profit organization.

Erica Young

Erica Young works as Policy Counsel in Member Regulation Policy at the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). She works on policy initiatives relating to the development, revision and approval of new and revised Dealer Member regulations and guidance. She works closely with other IIROC staff and stakeholders in the securities and investment industry.  Prior to joining IIROC, Erica practiced as a commercial litigator at a boutique business law firm.  She obtained her J.D. from the University of Torontwalo and graduated from Queen’s University with a B.Comm (Hons.).

Erica is committed volunteer, mentor and member of the community.  She served as President of YWL from 2013-2015 and is now a proud member of the Advisory Board of YWL.  Erica also the Chair of the Toronto Branch of the Leaf Education Action Fund (“LEAF”).