Julie Maciura is the Managing Partner at Steinecke Maciura LeBlanc. Julie has practised administrative law, with an emphasis on professional regulation, for over 20 years. She acts as general counsel, prosecutor, and independent legal counsel for numerous Ontario regulators. Julie’s general counsel work includes training specific to the needs of statutory committees, guidance to regulators on Registration and Quality Assurance matters, as well as drafting regulations, by-laws, standards and policies. Julie has also performed comprehensive legal audits of various statutory programs and processes for regulators and has experience with strategic planning. Julie has appeared in all levels of court in Ontario representing the interests of regulators on appeals and judicial review applications.
Julie regularly gives presentations to regulators, law school classes and at professional conferences on health law, administrative law, and professional regulation. She has written numerous articles for the firm’s newsletter, Grey Areas, as well as its blog, Regulation Pro. She is co-author of the first and second editions of The Annotated Statutory Powers Procedure Act.
Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Lethbridge, a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. She also obtained a Master of Laws degree (Administrative Law) from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2007. In 2012, Julie received her specialist certification in health law from the Law Society of Ontario.
Julie is a past member of both the Financial Services Tribunal and the Council of Health Quality Ontario.
1. How did you get involved in your current area of practice?
It was pure luck that I was hired back after articling into this particular area of law (professional regulation). I was working for a mid-sized firm at the time and this is where there was an opening. For that I am forever grateful because I have really grown to love this area of law.
2. What qualities and/or skills are important for leaders?
I think a good leader needs to have a multitude of qualities and skills. While I’m not sure that I possess all of these, I think a leader needs to be decisive, fair, patient, hard-working, be able to delegate, be a good communicator and have a sense of humour. I really think that it’s important to be able to make decisions quickly. While considering the factors relevant to the decision is of course important, once you have all of the information you need, it’s important to act quickly and decisively so that things can move forward.
3. What qualities and/or skills do you look for in a junior?
I look for a detail-oriented person who can meet deadlines. It’s important that they be approachable and personable and a certain amount of maturity, or even gravitas, is also good so that clients are comfortable putting their trust in them. I also value someone who will go the extra mile and will give me the very best product they possibly can. When a junior treats their work product as though it is going directly to the client, and doesn’t assume that I will catch mistakes/polish it up, etc., that’s something that impresses me a great deal. I also look for someone who can prioritize and juggle many things at one time without getting frazzled. Our work entails many very long, detailed research projects as well as routine questions from clients who expect answers quickly – it’s key that a junior be able to maintain focus on the longer projects knowing that they will frequently be interrupted by other matters that need to be given priority in the meantime.
4. What advice would you give a young woman starting her practice?
Find mentors and lawyers in your field who will look out for you. It might take a while but you will be able to make connections and those connections will pay dividends when you least expect it. I would also tell young women to speak up in meetings and make sure their voice is heard. Contribute your thoughts and ideas because they are just as important as those of the men in the room. If anyone views that as being pushy then those are not the kind of people/clients/lawyers you want to work with anyway, so keep talking and keep looking until you find “your people”.
5. What advice would you give a mid-level junior looking to advance her career?
Network, network, network; write articles and papers in your field, volunteer to speak at conferences, and get on the board of a charity or organization that means something to you so that you can give back and at the same time you will gain that governance and leadership experience that you can benefit you in your law practice.
6. What can we do to address the continued attrition of women in law?
I think this will require an overhaul of the way that most law firms function and that means changing the way legal work is billed. The emphasis on billable hours makes it very difficult to be a parent, at least when children are young. And most marriages (I can only speak to heterosexual marriages) still put the burden of child-rearing on women, so their careers stall when the children are young, which of course is when a lawyer’s career is just taking off. This is no doubt why many female lawyers leave private practice to go in-house or work in government.
7. If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you were starting out in law, what would it be?
Speak up more and don’t be intimidated because you know more than you think you do. Your ideas are just as valuable as anyone else’s.
8. Is there anything else (advice, an interesting experience, tips, etc.) that you would like to share with our members?
For your members who are single, I would tell them to choose their life partner very wisely. Who you choose as a partner will have a huge impact on your ability to manage both career and home life. If you want to have children, there is a lot to be said for marrying someone whose job has more manageable, consistent hours. Also, make sure that person likes to cook.
This post is part of YWL's Managing Partner Series. This series features Q&A-style blog posts where women managing partners from small, mid-sized and large law firms answer questions about their path to success and share their advice for young women in law.