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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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        • 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.  


        • 21 Jul 2020 10:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


          Just as there have been significant changes to the way we work in recent months, companies have also had to change the way they recruit in order to continue to connect with candidates remotely. While we have previously blogged about tips for conducting successful video interviews,  a new challenge has emerged for candidates – how do you go about assessing a company’s culture in a remote interview?

          The new normal means that you may have to make decisions about the fit of a role and a company without having the opportunity to visit the office in “normal” conditions. You will not be able to observe how the office is organized, how employees interact with one another, or any of the many other contextual clues you might have previously relied on to gauge company culture. In the absence of these sources, it is important to consider and prepare questions in order to gather the information you need to make an informed decision.

          We would suggest considering the following questions:

          1. Ask them to describe the office set up – is it open plan, shared or private offices? Where does the team sit in relation to each other and how do they interact with other business units?

          2. What IT is in place to support remote workers? This may include hardware (laptops, headsets), as well as any subsidies to set up a home office (perhaps you need to buy an ergonomic chair, etc).

          3. Have they onboarded candidates remotely in recent months? If so, what did that look like? If not, how do they envision this taking place? The size of a company will have an impact on the amount of experience a company has with remote onboarding; however, what is key is knowing that they have a concrete plan in place to achieve the necessary training and integration.

          4. What systems do teams use to communicate during the day? Is there a heavy reliance on emails (and will you go most of the day without verbally interacting with others) or are there collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, in place?

          5. Have there been any social activities organized remotely? I have heard examples of teams organizing quizzes, virtual cooking classes, and book clubs. These may be especially important to you as you work to develop new relationships in the early months of a new role.

          6. Have working hours shifted during the remote working period? You may have childcare or other obligations that mean a strict 9 to 5 schedule is not achievable for you and you will want to figure out how the company manages this.

          7. What challenges have they encountered with remote working? What feedback have they received from employees since the start of remote working and what changes have been implemented? First, and importantly, this will show you if they have sought employee feedback. Next, it will help you gauge where the shortcomings are so you can decide how you feel about those.

          There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. What is important is for you to be prepared to collect this information and then assess how the answers align with your own priorities and needs. Just like the interviewer will want you to provide concrete examples of instances where you have demonstrated skills, you need to make sure you are getting the same from them. Push to get specific examples of initiatives that are in place and challenges they have faced rather than high level statements about the value of collaboration and connectivity. This article provides even further examples of questions you may want to put to your interviews to suss out the culture.

          Some hiring processes are moving faster than others and, depending on the company’s timeline, you may have the opportunity to have a “distanced” in-person meeting with the team but you will certainly not be able to replicate the full office experience that would have taken place pre-COVID. Thinking through what you value in a company’s culture and preparing questions will be key to ensuring you get the information you need to make an informed decision.

          _______________________

          Author: Jennifer Mitchell 

          Jennifer is a Recruitment Consultant with The Heller Group. She is actively involved in the recruitment and placement of lawyers into law firms and corporations. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys hiking with her two dachshunds.



        • 22 May 2020 11:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


          This time last year, I was getting ready to graduate from law school. I had started my final year at Dalhousie Law without an articling position lined up. In fact, I was actually in Los Angeles for an exchange semester at Southwestern Law School. Conventional wisdom told me that if I was looking for a position in Canada, maybe moving to sunny California for five months wasn’t the way to get one.

          My law school career didn’t exactly follow conventional wisdom. After all, if conventional wisdom had its way, I wouldn’t have been preparing for a move to Toronto this time last year so I could begin my articling position in the city.

          Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the world is realizing that conventional wisdom, or the way things have always been done, isn’t working. In these past few months we’ve been turning to creativity – using the tools we already had in a new way. For a profession that has so often resisted change, this is a big deal.

          Like many of my classmates, I went into law school under the impression that the OCI (On-Campus Interview) was the way to get a job. And why wouldn’t I? Schools put a – perhaps outsized – emphasis on OCIs. The path from law student to summer student to student-at-law seems pretty cut-and-dry.

          Unfortunately, it’s a path that leaves little room for nuance. And when I was dealing with unforeseen health issues in my first year that affected my final grades, the path quickly narrowed.

          In second year, I realized I would have to make my own path. I’d have to rely on creativity. When I learned that my school had an exchange program with Southwestern, I decided to take advantage of it and study entertainment law in the world’s entertainment capital. While I grew my practical skills that summer at a non-profit, I also researched small to mid-size firms in Toronto. I had an end-of-summer trip to the city planned – why not extend it by a few days and pitch myself to a few firms?

          I made up a cold email and sent it to my list of firms – as a journalism graduate, I learned that a cold email can be your best first step. Sometimes I received a “no.” Sometimes I got no response at all. But a handful said “yes.” Days after my trip to Toronto, I was off to LA to start the semester; I kept in touch. The tools for communication were already there – time zones and borders don’t matter as much when you have internet.

          By this time last year, my creativity had paid off. That April, I was offered a job at a small commercial law firm in Toronto. Thanks to one of my meetings that previous summer, I was set to be the firm’s first articling student. I had successfully bucked conventional wisdom.

          As my articling term comes to a close and the world learns to adapt to a new normal, I think about how creativity can keep working for me in this unprecedented time. While times have rapidly changed from one year to the next, I’ll keep channeling that spirit as I look to my next move.

           ______________________

          Author: Emma Chapple

          Emma Chapple is a J.D. graduate of the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. She is scheduled to be called to the Ontario Bar in May 2020. Emma articled at a small commercial law firm in Toronto, where she worked in litigation, contract drafting and business advisory.


        • 13 Apr 2020 10:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


          There’s a lot happening in the world right now.

          And if you’re like me, you’re feeling anxious and uncertain amidst all of the chaos of the crisis, and all of the quiet of the self-isolationparticularly if you're self-isolating solo. 

          It feels uncomfortable, and it’s so easy to want to numb these feelings with Netflix and a nice, healthy glass of Cab Sauv—and sometimes that’s okay! I get it, and I was right there with you a couple of days ago!

          But here’s the thing:

          We are being given the opportunity to stay home and take a deep breath. To pause. To reflect. And to reconnect with what is truly important to us, whatever that may look like to you.

          Ask yourself this (and be honest): before all of the coronavirus chaos, how often would you think: “if only I had a bit more time, then I would be able to ________". Fill in the blank with whatever passion project, favourite activity, or loved one you used to wish you had more time for. 

          Now ask yourself: how would it feel if you chose to use this time of self-isolation to do the things that you never seem to have time for? Why wouldn’t you choose to use this time productively?

          I’m not suggesting that you have to be living every minute to the fullest or that you should never watch Netflix (I recommend Workin' Moms if you're looking for a new show). I’m simply suggesting that you be aware of how you choose to spend your time. 

          How amazing and satisfying would it feel if you choose to use this time to reconnect with your core values and your passions, to do something for yourself, something that feels expansive and uplifting!

          Maybe you want to learn a new language or reconnect with your artistic side. Maybe you want to start meditating or take some time to plan the next chapter of your life.

          At a time when so much seems like it is out of our control, it is comforting to know that we always have the ability to choose where we direct our focus. 

          How would it feel if you choose to focus on opportunity amidst the uncertainty? If you choose to focus on reconnecting with yourself amidst the self-isolation?

          So if you’re finding yourself with a little extra alone time, I challenge you to think about where you want to place your focus. Do you want to spend all of your time watching Tiger King and eating your quarantine snacks or do you want to use this opportunity to do something that will feel rewarding and fulfilling? There is no right or wrong answer, it’s simply a choice that you have to make for yourself!

          ***

          PS: If you’re interested in using this time to focus on what you want for the next chapter of your life, here are my top 5 favourite journal prompts to get you started: 

          1.       Who is your ideal self? How does she act? How does she show up? What does she believe about herself and her world? What does she believe is possible for her?

          2.       What are you most passionate about? What lights you up?  What makes you feel most rewarded?

          3.       What does your ideal day look like? What are you doing? Who are you with? How do you feel?

          4.       How do your ideal self and your ideal day differ from your current reality (maybe think pre-quarantine)?

          5.       What needs to change so that you can start being your ideal self and living your ideal life? Be honest with yourself. What 3 things can you do today to start embodying your ideal self and start acting as if you are already her?

           _______________________

          Author: Elizabeth Mountford

          Elizabeth Mountford is a certified Mindset Coach & Accountability Expert. She specializes in helping young lawyers beat burnout and build unshakeable confidence so that they can grow their dream careers with intention and ease. Prior to coaching, Elizabeth obtained her B.C.L./LL.B. from McGill University and practiced family law at one of Toronto’s top family law firms. Now she uses her experience of landing and leaving what she thought was her dream job as a family lawyer, along with her passion for subconscious reprogramming, to help ambitious young lawyers get clear on their career goals and start taking real action to turn their day-dreams into their reality.

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