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  • The YWL Blog provides a forum for writing and discussion on various topics of interest to young women in law. Click on the dark grey icons below to read more or leave a comment. Use the hashtag #YWLBlog and share your thoughts on social media!

    • YWL is now accepting submissions for blog posts. Send your submissions to info@youngwomeninlaw. 

      Please note that the views expressed in individual blog posts are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of YWL.


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        • 08 Aug 2021 1:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

          The time has come in your life to grow your family. Congrats! You might be like me and have every emotion possible. Joy. Excitement. Anxiety. For young women in law, there is the added question of maternity leave. For young women in law with their own law practice (or your own clients), this really does become a huge question mark.

          For me, I have my own practice and the buck starts (and stops) with me. Then the pandemic hit, and then I was expecting and I had to figure out what my firm would look like with a baby in the picture. I didn’t find many resources on how to do it all (as I later learned – no one can do it all). So, I figured it out as I went, and I’m excited to keep this discussion ongoing as there are so many tips we can learn from each other. My baby girl is 4 months old, and I am learning everyday how to be the best lawyer and mom.

          Here are some tips I learned along the way.

          #1 It takes a village

          I am here to tell you the words you already know – it takes a village. I learned very early on that I needed an assistant. This doesn’t surprise you, but law is very administrative heavy. That admin work ties you up from doing other things to grow your business, like marketing, heck even just spending time recharging the batteries.

          I also highly recommend having a bookkeeper who can reconcile your books by the 25th of the month for the previous month to stay compliant with the LSO rules. When you’re in the thick of baby and keeping your practice afloat, your future self will thank you for it!

          #2 Put systems in place

          Do you have systems in place which allow others to jump in if you’re not available? Does your current software need an upgrade? Are you able to work/continue to work remotely? Is there a system and procedures for intake calls, opening new files, sending out Zoom calls, collecting on accounts in arrears – ie. all the fun stuff!

          For me, I switched from PC Law, which was not remote/ cloud based, to Cosmolex. It was an expense, and it took a significant amount of everyone’s time to migrate and then learn the new software. But looking back, it has streamlined a lot of our docketing, invoicing, and accounting. My bookkeeper can log in remotely. Goodbye TeamViewer!

          How can you make your life easier?

          #3 Build your team

          Another decision was growing our team. I hired an associate, not even very mindfully, but I was swamped and had found a newly called lawyer to help me with legal research and finalizing drafts. I was impressed with his skills and realized that having another lawyer, which means having another pair of eyes and ears, was a value add. If things continue in this trajectory, I see the value of adding another junior lawyer. The same reasoning applies. Another lawyer to draft materials, to speak to clients regarding certain issues, and draft correspondences, frees up your time to delegate, market, and spend the cuddle time with your newborn. I get it. Hiring another associate is an additional expense and the future is that big question mark. The truth is you are building a thirty-year career and it is helpful having another lawyer by your side to help ensure your practice runs smoothly as you recover from having a baby (and go to the millionth and one doctor’s appointments).

          Preparing for a time where you will be more hands off forces you to be more efficient. I took the time while pregnant to look at my needs and wasted no time to fill them. This ramp up period helped me to take time away, my next tip.

          #4 How to briefly take time away

          I took a three-week vacation to go to London, England in 2019, and I had serious anxiety about being away. Of course, everything could wait and what couldn’t wait my summer student at the time handled. I hopped on to my emails only a few times. Planning my time away post-pregnancy felt different. I didn’t know how much time I would need, and what I could/ couldn’t do. Of course, there is no right answer. You will soon have two babies – your practice and your human (maybe you have more human babies!) This is a venture into the unknown.

          If you have your own firm, you can decide whether it makes sense to have a cooling off period. For example, we didn’t take on new clients for about four months. You might think it was four months after baby but it was three months at the end of my pregnancy and one month post-baby. I was exhausted beyond belief being so pregnant (and then I was two weeks overdue).  Saying no to new clients allowed us the time to focus on our current clients. My due date gave us a great deadline to move court proceedings forward before my “maternity leave.” This is in quotes because I never really set an out of office reply and to my clients, someone was always around and I was still there making sure they were happy. I will say not taking on new clients during that time permitted me time away. It also gave me time to train my new associate and put all those systems in place I mentioned. We are now back to full speed and forging new relationships with new clients.

          Do I have fomo of what could have been? Yes. It is normal to have that knee jerk reaction that you should be taking on clients. The truth is it makes you a better lawyer to know what you have time for because it means you’ll be focused on your existing files. There is plenty of time for the make-your-year file.

          #5 Power of the Pen  

          I am a huge advocate for printing off drafts, marking them up, and then taking a picture-to-scan to send to my associate or assistant. I find this is the easiest and quickest way to move things along the approval process. My associate sends me one email with his drafts, I print everything and throughout my day I mark it up and send it back. I sometimes draft paper to pen, or in my notes section of my phone. If there is time in my day, it is easier to return to writing in a notebook or writing in my phone then drafting on my computer. I actually wrote my first draft of this blog post in my notebook! Shout out and thank you to my assistant Jessica for typing it up!

          #6 Plan in advance

          It is tempting to have the “I’ll just do it myself” mentality, but this is not sustainable – especially when sleep is a finite resource. Looking at the month or even months ahead, what deadlines are coming up? Impress upon your team what is priority, what are the deadlines and have no hesitation to send drafts back well in time for this back and forth. If there is any aspect that can be delegated - delegate.  

          Plan an extra 2-week lead time to allow for the back and forth of re-drafts. This removes stress of last-minute drafting and re-doing the work. This extra lead time has been a game changer as it only required my feedback along the way which is much less of my time than re-drafting. Your work time, like sleep, at the beginning stages are finite. Last-minute is a thing of the past. It is a win-win-win when you can plan in advance and stay on top of your deadlines.

          #7 Phone-a-friend

          Do you remember the show Who Wants to be a Millionaiire? The ways to get the answer were called “lifelines”. One lifeline is called phone-a-friend. Lifeline is a good word for it! Support during this time is crucial, and the friend you call doesn’t have to be a lawyer. It can be anyone who gives you the confidence and always needed cheerleading boost.

          If you’re stuck on a legal issue, and you don’t have another lawyer to call, there are organizations you can contact. If you head the Ontario Bar Association’s website, go the practice areas section and reach out to someone on the section. Lawyers are always happy to help each other. I’m always happy to hop on a call and discuss estate litigation. There are also resources available for legal research including the Great Library and also the Toronto Lawyer’s Association (“TLA”) (by membership). I work closely with TLA and I can attest that they are a fantastic resource for young lawyers. Reaching out to friends, in any capacity, helps us navigate this new role of mom and lawyer.

          #8 Structuring home life

          What are the ways you can structure your new mom role that allows you to have time to recharge and also get out that case conference brief? What has helped me is having a magic erase calendar on the fridge with my call/ Zoom schedule and all appointments (with colour-coded markers, of course). If everyone is working from home, it helps us figure out where to be and who is doing what.

          Structuring your day so you can co-ordinate schedules will help you carve out some time for the work zoom calls, and personal doctors appointments. I made the decision, for now, to not accept calls before 11AM so I have time to sleep in if the baby keeps me up, to look presentable (if on Zoom), and to read anything and catch up. I also put all my non-work meetings, in my calendar (both fridge and Outlook) so I’m not double booked. One thing I do recommend is weekly video chats with your team to discuss the status of files, marketing, etc. We just started this a month ago and it has been extremely helpful to know where we are at.

          #9 Matt-leave activities

          This new baby phase is A LOT. Especially still maintaining an entire practice. Then there’s a pandemic on top of it. I joined a mom Zoom group and I figured if I meet one person it would be worth it. What I found was a whole resource of friends and activities – and as park hangouts became permitted, most were just across the street from my house!

          I signed up for a baby music class Friday mornings and I look forward to it every week. What activities and people can you meet to keep you grounded, supported, and invigorated?

          Warren Buffet surprised us all when he shares with Bill Gates his really blank calendar. In his words, “you can’t buy time”. This is a monumental time of your life and I hope these tips will help you with this time with your new baby and maintain your law practice!

          _______________________

          Author: Kimberly A. Gale, Gale Law Estate Litigation 

          Kim has honed her advocacy skills in a variety of settings and is a fierce advocate for her clients.

          Kim is a pioneer in the legal community and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the field of law. She had envisioned becoming a barrister from a young age as she enjoys solving problems and negotiating. In 2007, she attended Western University and graduated in 2011 from the media program. After working in shipping and logistics and marketing, she worked as an assistant to an estate litigator in 2013. Kim enjoyed working in this area of law and pursued her dream of going to law school with the plan to one day open her own law firm. In 2015, Kim graduated from City University of London and worked as a paralegal at a Bay street firm equivalent in the UK. She returned to Toronto and completed her equivalency exams, barrister and solicitor exams and articled with the same estate litigator. In January 2018, Kim was called to the bar and launched Law For Millennials and NCA Network while working at a boutique estate litigation firm. In January 2019, Kim launched Gale Law.

          Kim's experience and peaked interest in estate litigation began in 2013. She has worked on dependant support applicationsdisputes over who should be estate trustee, and capacity issues relating to will challenges. Kim is passionate about helping clients solve their legal issues.

          Kim is founder of legal blog Law For Millennials, diversity and inclusion group NCA Network, and law firm Gale Law.

        • 12 Jul 2021 8:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

          It is that time of year again, when Big Law firms can breathe after wrapping up another summer student recruit, and those students who were successful during the recruit can celebrate and start thinking about their "3LOL" year. 

          However, while there is a lot for those students to be excited for, there are many other students who were not offered a summer position during the recruit and are left asking a very important question: "What now?" 

          Ask any student director at a Big Law firm and they will tell you that some of the most heartbreaking moments in the recruitment process are the inevitable emails and phone calls from unsuccessful students asking where they "went wrong." The tragic part is that often there was nothing "wrong." These students are the same before and after the recruit regardless of the outcome: smart, talented and successful, with a promising career ahead of them. 

          While law schools do a great job of preparing students for the recruitment process, students who are unsuccessful in securing a position are often unsure of what to do next. Many of these students are left with the feeling that just because they did not get a summer student or articling position at a Big Law firm, that "door" is closed to them forever. 

          As two associates at a Big Law firm, who did not get hired here during their summer or articling recruits and took a "non-conventional route" to get to where we are today, we can safely say that nothing could be further from the truth. 

          Neither of us had any connection to Fogler, Rubinoff LLP prior to being hired. After not obtaining a summer position at a Big Law firm, both of us went on to summer and article at fairly small boutique firms. Both of us used that opportunity to obtain hands-on experience, enough so that when we did apply to our firm down the road, our resumes stood out. There was no magic to it. We worked hard, taking what we could from our experiences, so that when the time came and we had an interview, we could have something worthwhile to talk about. 

          In fact, we are not the only ones who came to practice at our firm through "non-conventional" methods. Here are some stories from our colleagues who also carved their own paths: 

          My first "legal" job was as a summer student at a boutique firm in northern Ontario where I practiced wills and estates law. Although I was grateful for the opportunity, I learned that area of practice was not for me and started looking for new opportunities in corporate law. I was fortunate to then complete my articles at a private equity firm. Traditional advice would have told me that I needed to article at a Big Law firm or my goal of becoming a corporate lawyer would be a done deal (no pun intended). However, during my articles, I gained insights into what's important for business professionals and what it feels like for a "client" to engage with external counsel. I also met an amazing mentor, who pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone. He encouraged me to take the Canadian Securities Course while articling, which peaked my interest in securities law, and ultimately to apply for a role as a Securities Associate at Foglers. Through my experience, I've learned that, regardless of the path you take, staying true to who you are and recognizing your values, strengths and weaknesses will lead to success. Surround yourself with people who inspire, motivate and push you to be your best, whether it be mentors, colleagues, friends or family. This will lead you to success and satisfaction in your role as a future lawyer, whatever that might look like. – Jennifer A. Humphrey, Securities Associate, 2018 Call 

          I was dead set on landing a summer position through OCIs. When my phone didn't ring at 5pm on offer day, I was devastated. I let that define me for my entire 2L year. Nine months later, I dove into the articling recruit, which allowed me to hone in on firms that appealed to my interest in litigation. I landed an articling position with a boutique firm, which provided with a fantastic articling experience. Unfortunately, I was on the hunt for an associate position not far into the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, I was hired into Foglers' litigation department. I was led to this opportunity entirely through my network: recruiters and lawyers that I had kept in touch with over the course of my job searches, who then connected me with new connections. My advice to disappointed 2L students who hope to end up at a Big Law firm is to stay in touch with as many people as you can and leverage those relationships. You are more likely to land a position through a connection than through a formal job posting. Not only will strong networking potentially land you your dream job, but you will benefit professionally from having made those connections. Lawyers and colleagues are usually happy to pass your name along or chat. Don't be afraid to ask. – Adam Varro, Litigation Associate, 2020 Call 

          My best advice is to stay the course, even if things don't work out at first. Following the linear path and landing a student position through a recruit is great, but there are lots of other opportunities for young lawyers. Your work experience, the people you meet and the reputation you build for yourself will be increasingly more important once you're outside of law school. Not everyone's path is linear and no two journeys are the same. – Sasha Kraus, Wills and Estates Associate, 2014 Call 

          While each of these associates had a slightly different story, they shared one commonality: they did not give up in the face of adversity. If working at a Big Law firm is your dream, then there is no reason why you cannot continue to work towards it. 

          So Where Do You Go From Here? 

          The answer is simple, you keep pressing on. While your summer or articling position might not be what you had hoped for, knowledge and experience are never wasted. Use this time to: 

          • Develop your legal skills and work on your experience; 
          • Reach out and build relationships with lawyers and mentors; and 
          • Keep working hard and working on yourself. 

          Eventually, you will find a great position where you can excel at and be happy. We hope that this article shows that you are not alone; there are many associates who are building successful careers in Big Law firms who came from other paths outside of the formal recruits. 

          So, if you were not successful during this summer recruitment process, take a breath. As you can clearly see, there is life, and success, after this if you just keep moving forward. 

          _______________________

          Authors: Rachel Fielding & Alexander Evangelista (Fogler, Rubinoff LLP)

          Rachel Fielding and Alexander Evangelista are both litigation associates at Fogler, Rubinoff LLP. 

        • 12 Jul 2021 9:00 AM | Nathalie Siah (Administrator)

          A few years ago, I was part of the Law Placement Program (LPP) which placed me in a small IP law firm in Ottawa specializing in Trademarks. My goal was to work in IP law, my dream come true. However, my hopes were dashed at the end of my time there. The firm was run by a sole practitioner and they did not have the budget to keep me. This left me devastated.

          At the time, I had circled to a dark place. However, upon reflection I realized that there were a lot to gain from this experience.

          Here are some of my tips that got me through the ‘fire back’.

          1)      Rest

          You’ve been working hard, so just take a break! You have the rest of your life to work so enjoy the time off. Take care of yourself. You will find a position, I promise.

          2)      It’s Not You

          Let’s face it, you’re incredible. You endured three years of one of the most challenging subjects in the world and everyone knows it. This is only a minor setback in the grand scheme of things. Articling and work placements are only short term.

          After any job, you can always find another. Do not take this business decision personally and move on.

          3)      Be Open

          When I was not hired back at the firm, I was narrow minded at the start. I was motivated to find a career in IP law and didn’t understand why I wasn’t able to achieve this.

          But soon after, I began working at a legal tech firm which seemed to peak my interests similarly to IP law. In this position, I worked with people in varying fields and gained insight into the needs of legal professionals. I had the chance to dip my toes in sales, marketing, design and the ‘coding world’. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.

          I also found an opportunity back in law in a completely different, real estate law. With nothing but my old notes, I was surprised to learn that not only was I interested in the topic, but also good at it.

          If you are struggling to find clarify after articling or your LPP placement, remember there is always a place for you.

          You just have to find it.

          Learn more about dealing with hire back, and join us for our Life After Hireback Event on July 13th. You can register here: https://youngwomeninlaw.com/event-4391207

          Author: Anonymous

        • 09 Jun 2021 8:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

          I was born and grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a beautiful country with the Iguazu Falls in the North and incredible glaciers in the South, full of natural resources. At an early age, I was determined to become a lawyer and work in my father’s law firm. Although I did several internships with my father’s firm as well as other firms during my years at the University of Buenos Aires Law School, I met my future husband Roberto (Uruguayan) at the age of 17 and my destiny changed dramatically and for the best. He graduated from the University of Leeds (U.K.) as a textile and chemical engineer and was hired by DuPont in Argentina. I made it clear to him that I would graduate as a lawyer and raise a family while continuing to practice law. And I did just that! While in law school in Argentina I raised my first child and graduated in 1974 as a lawyer while expecting my second child who was born one month later.

          As my husband’s career progressed, he was appointed as the President of the first Levi Strauss & Co subsidiary in Argentina and as a result, my professional career became more exciting. The exposure to the LEVI’S trademarks and my contacts with several companies’ Intellectual Property (“IP”) legal counsels inspired me to look into the IP practice especially in the areas of trademarks and copyrights. I recall so many issues that captivated my attention. At the time there was an organization called Agencia Ayacucho located in Buenos Aires, very well known for registering famous trademarks without the approval of the legitimate owners.  I visited its principal for an interview and was shocked to be welcomed by several columns of well-known magazines such as VOGUE and ELLE. Ayacucho was instrumental in creating companies that registered famous and new trademarks in Argentina. Designs and combinations thereof were offered for sale to the legitimate owners in the US and Europe for substantial amounts of money. This Agency became familiar with the new trends and trademarks that appeared in the worldwide market and could register these trademarks. Argentina and many other countries follow the principle of first-to-file which establishes that the right to a trademark belongs to the party that first applies for it. The earliest filing date prevails over the date when the mark was first used in commerce. Nowadays, companies maintain watch services and are more vigilant on improper filings on a worldwide basis that permits them to file oppositions or cancellations. Although the laws have adopted the concept of “notoriety” to challenge these registrations, the court cases could take a long time in deciding these issues, especially if the legitimate owner does not own trademark registration in the first-to-file country.

          I became aware of the many instances where the LEVI’S trademark and logos were copied with exact duplications or confusingly similar terms or designs. Many stores have seamstresses in the back dedicated to sewing the LEVI’S trademark when a customer required this particular product. In addition, somebody registered ROBERT LEWIS for jeans and used ROBERT in small letters and LEWIS in a prominent manner creating obvious confusion in the Argentinian marketplace. Counterfeiting and trademark infringement was rampant at the time and I was more and more immersed in learning how to prevent these actions. 

          After a few years of both working in Argentina, my husband got a great offer from Levi Strauss that resulted in our moving to their Latin American Headquarters in Florida, United States of America. Although I was excited, I was also sad to leave my family and friends but as an ambitious woman, I felt that this could be a great opportunity for me as well. The big break came two years later when we were asked to move to San Francisco, where Levi Strauss’s main Headquarters is located. During my time here I took a lot of courses in International Law at the University of San Francisco where my interest in IP law continued to develop and I worked on improving my English.


          (Diana pictured in the middle, with Pony and athletes)

          As a woman and immigrant, it was not easy to develop an IP practice, as it was a field dominated by men, but drive and determination made the difference for me. Due to another great opportunity, my husband and a former VP of Levi Strauss decided to form a company in New York City in the athletic footwear sector that became quite successful in the 1980s. The company was Pony International, Inc, which quickly became a famous manufacturer of athletic footwear and apparel and was eventually sold to Adidas.  We moved to New York City and my friends in San Francisco asked me: “why are you leaving this beautiful city”. My answer was: “I missed pollution!” I grew up in Buenos Aires which had plenty of it. I handled the protection of the PONY brand and the Chevron Design on a worldwide basis and also got the chance to meet famous sports figures who were interested in the protection and enforcement of their names and likeness. 

          I got my first job in New York City at Haseltine, Lake and Waters, a firm dedicated to the protection and enforcement of IP on a worldwide basis. My mentor at this firm was the famous professor Eric Offner who introduced me to the various authorities on IP. Many members of the firm taught me about trademark practice and prosecution at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and also, in foreign countries. I got to correspond with many foreign practitioners. Soon I learned that the best foreign contacts would be made by attending IP Conventions. I recalled hearing that the USTA (United States Trademark Association) was organizing a Convention in San Francisco. I was not selected by the firm to attend since senior lawyers had priority over me. I figured out that the only way to attend this Convention was by organizing my trip as a vacation, paying for the registration fee and staying with my friends in San Fransico. It was the beginning of a successful career. There were 800 attendees from all over the world, very few of whom were women. At the end of the USTA Convention in San Francisco, the professional ladies made their mark and were known and respected by the male population who remembered us by our first names. I was able to meet the most prestigious IP lawyers from various countries. Many of them became family friends and loyal colleagues. Soon thereafter, I learned that ASIPI (Inter-Americanx Association of Intellectual Property) was looking for new members from the United States. I became an active member of this organization and was selected as the US representative for several years.

          The USTA was renamed and it is now known as INTA (International Trademark Association). Their current annual meetings average more than 10,000 attendees.


          (Diana pictured second from the left, with her family)

          Looking for more opportunities while working for Haseltine, Lake and Waters, brought me to a subject that the US companies were desperate to understand and deal with. All developing countries (including the Latin American countries) and some industrialized countries were enacting new stringent transfer of technology laws that required the approval by their Governments of transfer of technology/IP license agreements for the remission of royalties abroad.  The subject was quite complex because many of the countries did not have proper translations of their applicable laws or any understanding of the Governments’ behavior as to the ultimate decisions. After discussing the matter with Mr. Offner, I became the person in charge of the negotiations and lectured on this matter. The first was organized by the Fieldstone Press at the Waldorf Astoria.

          I handled plenty of negotiations with authorities of various countries about the reasons why the agreements were justifiable as well as the remission of royalties to the licensors. I will never forget a comment from a male lawyer with the Mexican Transferring of Technology Office that questioned the need for Maidenform’s Mexican licensee to pay a royalty for the technology involved in the construction of a bra. We proved that there was plenty of innovation and technology in designing and constructing bras and the license agreement was approved!

          A few years later, Eric Offner, decided to leave Haseltine and form his own firm. He invited me and my friend Perla Kuhn (a lawyer also born in Argentina) to join him. It was a challenge for me to leave the security of Haseltine and start something new. However, it was the right decision. While working at this firm I had my third child and also raised my nephew that was a high school student and lived with us. After 19 years of working together, Offner retired and Perla Kuhn joined a large corporate law firm in Wall Street. Since I wanted to remain in an IP boutique, I contacted George Gottlieb, a founder and senior member of Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman. I knew him and his wife socially and admired his ability to handle IP litigation and give creative solutions to many important clients. I also liked the GR&R patent department at a time where sophisticated patent lawyers were very much on demand in the electronic and digital world. I reached an agreement and brought my practice and clients to GRR.  I have been very happy with this firm since 1997.


          (Diana is pictured second from the left, during her presentation for Oscar de la Renta)

          The most important thing through my career has been witnessing the increased number of IP professional women as patent, trademark and copyright lawyers, agents and paralegals. I mentored several IP female students and lawyers and have enjoyed seeing their successes and helping them along their way.  We have long discussions about how women need to multitask at so many levels, which is difficult and exciting at the same time. 

          The opportunities and challenges come and go but we should remain alert and interested in progressing in our respective careers. It has not been easy for an immigrant like me to get to this point but the United States is certainly full of opportunities!

           _______________________

          Author: Diana Muller, Counsel to Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, P.C.

          Diana Muller is a recognized expert in international trademark and copyright law, worldwide licensing, and in the transfer of technology and security interest agreements. Her work with sports marketing firms, sports agents, and professional athletes has also made her a driving force behind the creation of programs, here and abroad, for the protection of the names and likenesses of famous sports figures and entertainers.

          Ms. Muller has written and lectured extensively on such topics as licensing, trademark developments, foreign investments, and the protection of intellectual property rights in developing countries. She has spoken at the New York Women’s Bar Association and the National Conference for Women in Business, on the subject of careers in entertainment and fashion licensing. Ms. Muller has been a guest lecturer on intellectual property at New York University and at Inter-American Association of Industrial Property (ASIPI) conventions where she has given talks on sports licensing IP licensing, and the protection of images in Costa Rica and Mexico. She is also actively involved in ASIPI’s Trademark and Administrative Committees.

          Ms. Muller has taken part in panel discussions for many institutions and publications, such as at the inaugural Women’s Wear Daily Legal Roundtable on Protecting Intellectual Property, where she spoke about the financial losses companies face when they fail to see global counterfeiting as a serious threat.

          Ms. Muller is the president of the Entertainment Law Committee of ASIPI. She has been involved in the preparation of a Seminar on IP in the Entertainment Industry in Puerto Rico in 2017 and a webinar and article involving IP legal protection of video games. Ms. Muller has assisted in the protection of IP rights in the hospitality business including, restaurants, hotels, spas as well as wellness and health industries.



        • 20 Apr 2021 7:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

          The saying “the days are long, but the years are short” could easily apply to the first few years of practice for lawyers. Despite the inevitable long days and nights, your first and second years of practice go by in a flash – you are learning lots of new skills, taking on many different types of transactions and files for the first time, and working with new lawyers with different styles. The learning curve is steep and, at times, can be exhausting, but these years serve an important purpose – figuring out how you want to shape your career.

          Many candidates find that by the time they have reached third year, they now have refined their goals about their career path; you may have a better sense of what you enjoy, what you don’t, and what direction you’d like to take your career in the years ahead. You may have also noticed that a lot of the job postings out there specify that magic 3 to 5 years of experience – it’s no coincidence. Not only are you ready for the next step, your next employer is ready for you too.

          If you’re feeling like a change, it’s a great time to explore your options, as mid-level associates are often in high demand. Before you start plugging “legal” into every job search engine you can find, here are some ways to make your search more efficient and more successful.

          Narrow It Down

          Before you start your search, take the time to figure out what you are looking for. This is not to say you should have a singular focus or job title in mind at the outset, but you can save a lot of time during your search, as well as the pain of making an impulse move, if you have some direction. To figure this out, consider the following:

          • What have you learned so far?
          • What are you good at?
          • What do you like doing? (This may not be the same as what you’re good at)
          • What do you enjoy about your current role?
          • What don’t you enjoy?
          • Why have you decided to look elsewhere?
          • What kind of environment are you looking for? Consider the size of the team, and support available


          There are no right or wrong answers - some people might value more flexibility over salary. Others may want a larger platform with more sophisticated deals, understanding that this may mean a less flexible work schedule. Whatever you value, it’s good to know your “must-haves”, your “nice-to-haves” and your “deal breakers” before you start looking. Now you can weed out the roles that aren’t a fit early on.

          Think Practically 

          The past year has made many of us realize that there is a lot more to a job than the actual substantive work. The pandemic has forced us all to adapt to new ways of working and the silver lining has been increased flexibility that we previously have not seen in the legal profession. The million dollar question is, of course, how will working look under the “new normal”? While no one can answer this yet, it is important for you to consider the practical points as well, such as:

          • What salary range are you targeting?
          • What geographic location are you considering? How open are you to commuting or moving?
          • How important is title to you?
          • Do you need or want remote/flexible working on an ongoing basis?
          • Do you need or want a certain level of mentorship? Or are you open to taking things on more independently?

          Update That Resume!

          Now that you have some direction, it’s time to update your resume. Proper resume drafting is an entire blog in itself (check this blog out for our best tips!), but the crucial point is that it should be tailored to the job you’re seeking and should highlight your skills accordingly.

          Think of your resume like a newspaper: what needs to be “above the fold” to catch the eye of a hiring manager? Draw attention to the experience and transferable skills that match the direction you’re heading, and understand that your resume is not carved in stone. As you start reviewing job descriptions and applying to suitable roles, you should consider if your new and improved resume highlights what you need for each particular role. If it doesn’t, change it. It’s worth the effort early to hopefully move on to the interview stage.

          While you’re updating your resume, don’t neglect your LinkedIn account. Make sure your job history, with details regarding your area of practice, is up to date and consistent with your resume if you’re looking to make a change.

          You’re now ready to start your search! Stay tuned for our next blog which will explore our best tips for mid-level jobs search and an update on current hiring trends.

           _______________________

          Author: Melanie Shields 

          Melanie is a Recruitment and Communications Consultant with The Heller Group. She is involved in the recruitment and placement of lawyers into law firms and corporations. Melanie is also responsible for the corporate communications related to The Heller Group.



           


        • 25 Feb 2021 9:14 PM | Nathalie Siah (Administrator)

          Every February, we commemorate the accomplishments and sacrifices of notable figures in the Black Community. Black History Month is a time to educate and re-educate ourselves on significant milestones, from the abolishment of slavery to raising global awareness on police brutality. Names of most notable figures that come to mind include Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. However, there are also many remarkable women who, through their social activism, have and continue to pave the way for women's rights. This year, I would like to give recognition to a few of these remarkable women.

          Rosa Parks

          Rosa Parks is best remembered for refusing to give up a front seat on a segregated bus during the 1950s in Montgomery, Alabama. It is unknown whether Ms. Parks' stance was an act of protest or simply a personal reaction to stand her ground, but Ms. Parks' actions (and subsequent arrest) inspired the local Black Community, including Martin Luther King Jr., to protest bus segregation. As a result, a U.S. Supreme Court found bus segregation in Alabama unconstitutional in 1956.

          Ida B. Wells

          Ida B. Wells founded the first suffrage group for Black women in Chicago called the Alpha Suffrage Club. Even though Ms. Wells had the support of a number of white women advocating for a woman's right to vote, Ms. Wells and other Black women were banned from participating in the historical 1913 women's suffrage parade. Ms. Wells and her allies wrote letters to the event organizers to allow for the Alpha Suffrage Club's participation in the parade. They finally agreed to allow them to march in the back of the parade. Ms. Wells refused to march in the back; instead she stood side by side with her white co-suffragists. Ms. Wells will be remembered for her unwavering dedication not only to moving the Black Community's demand for civil rights forward, but also for her participation in the eventual legalization of women over 21 to vote in Illinois.

          Ernestine Eckstein

          While pushing for recognition of basic civil rights for all citizens, Ernestine Eckstein also played a significant role in the advancement of LGBTQ rights. Ms. Eckstein was involved in a variety of civil rights groups including the NAACP, but will be remembered for being the first Black female to be a member (Vice President of the New York Chapter) of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian civil and political rights organization. Starting in the 1960s, Ms. Eckstein was one of the first Black women to argue that LGBTQ rights are civil rights.  

          Amanda Gorman

          Through the power of a five-minute poem recited for the world to witness, Amanda Gorman's words have, and will, continue to leave a graceful mark on this world. By way of art, Ms. Gorman illustrated varying degrees of social issues through persuading her audience on the importance of acceptance, resilience and looking within. Being the youngest poet to perform at a presidential inauguration, she has inspired women of colour to carry forward her message through their own work of art and activism.

          To mark the end of Black History Month, I implore you to take time in learning more about Black History and the impact it has on where women are today. You can do so through reading books, embracing pop culture and art, and having open discussions on anti-racism.

          _______________________

          Author: Farrah Rahman

        • 10 Feb 2021 11:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


          YWL is excited to invite Eve Wahn to lead a workshop on creating a life and career that you love. Sign up here to join us on February 24th for the event.

          More About Eve Wahn

          Eve Wahn is an Ontario lawyer, inspirational speaker and transformational life coach.

          She has been personally involved in health, wellness and the personal development field for over 30 years, studied with world-renowned teachers, including Mary Morrissey and Les Brown, and is certified to teach and coach a number of programs.

          Eve has been an Ontario lawyer for 33 years, initially with the Department of Justice (Canada), then Oslers (in downtown Toronto), a small firm and solo.  She is currently on the Law Society of Ontario roster as a coach and advisor, and has coached lawyers and other clients for over 12 years.  Her passion is to inspire and help people build their dreams, accelerate their results, and create richer, happier and more fulfilling lives.

          What are we doing with the proceeds?

          All proceeds for this event are going to the Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic.

          What is the Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic?

          The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is a specialized clinic for women experiencing violence, established in the memory of Barbra Schlifer – an idealistic young lawyer whose life was cut short by violence on the night of her call to the bar of Ontario on April 11, 1980.  In her memory, the Clinic assists approximately 4,000 women a year to build lives free from violence through counselling, legal representation and language interpretation. We amplify women’s voices, and cultivate their skills and resilience. Together with our donors and volunteers, we are active in changing the conditions that threaten women’s safety, dignity and equality.

          Read more about their mission here.



        • 16 Dec 2020 3:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


          YWL is excited to announce that in 2021 we intend to launch our long-awaited Coaching Program, exclusive and complimentary to YWL members only!

          What is Coaching?

          YWL will connect interested members with professionally certified coaches who are experienced in coaching lawyers and members of the legal community.

          Coaching refers to a thought-provoking and creative partnership between a member and a coach that inspires such member to maximize her personal and professional potential, often unlocking previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership. Specifically, coaching may help a member identify strengths and values, recognize challenges, develop career plans, enhance career skill development and create a balance between work and personal life, among other things. If you are interested in the coaching program, let us know by completing a quick survey here


        • 26 Nov 2020 8:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


          It is no secret that retention of women in the law has always been, and continues to be, an issue. Women are relatively well represented at all three associate levels (junior,midlevel, and senior), where they account for about 46 percent of attorneys. However, this picture changes sharply as attorneys advance to more senior levels. Men continue to be more likely than women to be partners at law firms, 2018 statistics from the Law Society of Ontario show. The statistics, released as part of the Law Society of Ontario’s 2018 Annual Report show that about 12.4 per cent of lawyers in Ontario were male law firm partners, compared to only 4.3 per cent of lawyers who were female partners.[1]

          Jennifer King, a partner at Gowling WLG in Toronto and chair of the firm’s Recruitment and Retention committee of its Diversity and Inclusion Council,  states that “We can't be complacent, because although there has been some progress, there's still the glass ceiling; there's more women in leadership positions, but still underrepresented.[2]

          “I can see the progress, but I can still see the frustration,” she says. Far more women are graduating from law school and working in law firms, but “there's still a drop-off by the time you get to partnership.” 

          King quotes a lawyer friend, Adrian Ishak, as saying that “women have been in the majority of graduating lawyers since the mid-nineties. Unless you really believe that women are worse lawyers than men, then if there aren't at least 50 per cent of them around your partnership table you don't have the best lawyers at that table.”[3]

          The struggle between work/life/family balance for working mothers in all different professions has never been more prevalent then during the novel coronavirus pandemic that we are currently experiencing. During COVID-19, women’s participation in the Canadian workforce has fallen to a level not seen in decades. The trend of women bearing the brunt of pandemic child care while trying to continue working has been the topic of countless articles. The New York Times recently referred to the phenomenon as a "shecession.”[4]

          Now is the ideal time for us to think about ways in which we can promote success among female lawyers and how law firms should focus on retention over recruitment to encourage women with familial obligations to remain and to flourish in the practice of law.

          It has been my experience, beginning in law school, that whenever I met a fellow mom law student and/or lawyer there was an instant connection and mutual feeling of support and encouragement. Below are a few tips and advice that I have gained from fellow lawyers that are moms, and that I have learned from balancing my own law career with raising young children:   

          1. Find a Mentor

          Find someone who you respect and look up to personally and professionally, and who can support you in your journey; someone who can guide you through difficult  and complex situations and can see the bigger picture as well as the important details.

          2. Don’t Drop the Glass Balls

          I look at the balance as if I’m constantly juggling a set of balls; a mixture of work, personal and family. Balls will be dropped, there is no question about it. The key is to never drop the glass balls. The glass balls morph and change constantly; sometimes they can be family and sometimes they can be work, depending on the situation. Different things in different categories need to be prioritized at different times. Make sure you are flexible and can recognize the glass balls, and let the plastic ones drop if need be. You can have everything, but not at the same time!

          3. Stay Present and Focused

          I try and be present in whatever I am doing; if I am at work, I am focusing on work. When I come home and have those hours with my children, my focus is on them and not on checking work emails. 

          4. Let Go of the Guilt and Be Kind to Yourself

          The striving to be a perfect lawyer and perfect mom can sometimes feel like a no-win situation, and it fuels feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion that can lead to burnout. Lower the bar and the expectation of the perfect lawyer and perfect mom. Give yourself the credit that is due for all that you are accomplishing, utilize your support system and ask for help when you need it!

          The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and Women’s Rights Activist, once said "When I'm sometimes asked 'When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?' and I say 'When there are nine,' people are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that." 

          I was recently having a discussion with my five year old son about what he would like to do when he grows up. He listed a few ideas, none of which included my chosen profession. I asked him, “How come you don’t want to be a lawyer?” To which he responded, “Silly mommy; only girls can be lawyers!”

          We may not have nine women on the Supreme Court of the United States yet, but I believe we are well on our way!

           _______________________

          Author: Estee Nemetz

          Estee Nemetz is an associate lawyer at Keslassy Freedman Gelfand LLP (KFG Law), where she practices in the area of real estate law and financing. Estee is at the forefront of the  creation of the "Women In Law Initiative" at KFG Law, an innovative program that aims to create an environment in which women succeed and reach leadership and partnership levels at the firm through internal mentoring, business development training, review processes and striving for proportionate representation across all levels of the firm. 




          [1] https://www.lawtimesnews.com/resources/practice-management/ontarios-law-firms-were-mostly-led-by-men-again-in-2018/263551#:~:text=Men%20continue%20to%20be%20more,men%20in%20partnership%20is%20troubling.

          [2] https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/news/general/how-female-lawyers-are-redefining-success/333828

          [3] https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/news/general/how-female-lawyers-are-redefining-success/333828

          [4] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/09/us/unemployment-coronavirus-women.html



        • 03 Nov 2020 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


          University studies, licensing and articling are just some of the many requirements for young women setting out to build a successful career in law.

          Another requirement that can be easy to overlook? Financial literacy.

          As November is Financial Literacy Month, this is a good opportunity to highlight the meaning and importance of financial literacy in the context of a legal career.

          Empowering your financial life

          For young lawyers, becoming familiar with financial topics is about empowerment and being an active participant in the shaping of your financial future.

          Being financially literate doesn’t mean you have to become an expert in financial matters.

          However, it does mean getting to know the basics so you can ask relevant questions and have meaningful conversations with financial professionals.
          After all, people lean on you for your legal expertise, so it makes that you would lean on a trusted advisor when you require financial expertise.

          Financial literacy 101

          Similar to law, personal financial management can be incredibly varied and complex. Yet learning some of the fundamentals can go a long way in demystifying this important topic.

          The following are some of the building blocks of financial literacy:

          1. Managing your debt. Pursuing a legal career involves many years of studies, and often significant student debt. Financial literacy means understanding the impact of this debt on your finances – including your credit score – and how different strategies can help you pay it off more quickly and at a lower overall cost.
          2. Growing your wealth. Working in the legal sector can be hard work and high stakes, yet these careers are often well rewarded with generous compensation. Financial literacy means understanding how your income is taxed, learning how best to balance spending and saving, and identifying opportunities for growing your wealth through wise investment choices.
          3. Protecting yourself and your family. Legal sector jobs often provide insurance as part of the overall remuneration package, but this coverage typically falls short of actual needs. Financial literacy means understanding the role of life insurance as a powerful investment tool, the importance of disability and critical illness insurance for protecting your financial well-being, and the value of locking in lower premiums when you’re younger and healthier.
          4. Working toward goals. A legal career can be incredibly rewarding in itself, yet it can also be a means to achieving any number of life goals. Financial literacy means understanding the steps you can take now and throughout your career to help you achieve major goals, whether that’s buying a house, starting a family, retiring early or other important personal objectives.

          Adopting a holistic approach

          Adopting a holistic approach to your finances means ensuring that all decisions and strategies are thoughtfully aligned with your current situation and future goals.

          A base level of financial literacy will help you put in place a comprehensive financial plan that covers all the bases and can evolve throughout your lifetime.

          In addition to giving you greater peace of mind regarding your financial security, it will also leave you free to focus more time and energy on progressing in your legal career.

          Securing your financial future

          As a young female lawyer, you have exciting opportunities in a rewarding career stretched out ahead of you.

          Incorporating financial literacy into your diverse skill set will help you make informed decisions about managing your money along the way.

          We are waiving all planning fees for members of YWL. If you’d like to discuss your financial situation with a trusted advisor experienced in helping lawyers secure their financial future, please contact Rubach Wealth to schedule a call.

           _______________________

          Author: Elke Rubach

          Elke Rubach is a former practicing lawyer and President of Rubach Wealth, a Toronto-based firm that supports lawyers with tax-efficient wealth, retirement, and estate planning so they can focus on developing their careers. Contact Elke at 647.349.7070 or by email at elke@rubachwealth.com.  


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