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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.

        • 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. 





        • 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  

        • 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.

        • 29 Mar 2020 1:15 PM | Anonymous member

          Keep yourself entertained at home with this list of five great books, podcasts and documentaries. Each choice is a different genre, meant to pull you out of your comfort zone and engage you in new and interesting material!


          My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward, Mark Lukach (2017): This raw, heart-wrenching and refreshingly hopeful memoir follows author Mark Lukach and his family as they navigate his wife Guilia’s struggle with mental illness. Lukach provides an unflinching look at the mental health care system in the United States, the profound impact of mental illness on their family and friends, and the unwavering love between them. I particularly enjoyed how thoughtfully Lukach portrays his wife’s fight to maintain her dignity, independence and sense of self throughout. Bring Kleenex.

          The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas (2017): Sixteen-year-old Starr is straddling two worlds: the low-income, predominantly African-American neighbourhood where she grew up and the upscale suburban prep school that she attends with her siblings. The story follows Starr’s changing understanding of the world after she witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend, Khalil, by a police officer. A masterful look at race, poverty and adolescence, this book lives up to its accolades. I was especially drawn to the story of Starr’s older brother, Seven, as he navigates his complicated family dynamics.

          The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey (2014): Set in a post-apocalyptic schoolroom, Melanie and her classmates learn about nature, literature and science. Through Melanie’s eyes, we learn about her favourite teacher (Miss Justineau), her favourite subject (math), and the strange, militarized world that she lives in. As the story unfolds, the world outside the classroom walls comes into increasingly sharp focus. Simply put, this is one the best sci-fi books I have read in years.

          Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell (2019): Using a series of real-life examples – including how Fidel Castro stayed two steps ahead of the CIA and the TV sitcom Friends – author Malcom Gladwell explores how and why humans misunderstand each other. Gladwell uses science and social science to meticulously unpack and explain complicated human interactions. His thesis? We have no idea how to talk to strangers.

          The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides (2019): This psychological thriller tells the story of Alicia Berenson, a gifted artist who murdered her beloved husband seemingly without warning, and Theo Faber, her psychotherapist. Theo is determined to unravel the mystery of Alicia’s crimes, but his patient refuses to speak. Author Alex Michaelides keeps you on your toes with a series of unpredictable twists and turns. While my tolerance for spooky is admittedly low, you’ll want to read this one with the lights on.


          Ear Hustle (2017-present): Recorded inside the San Quentin State Prison in California, this Radiotopia podcast explores the daily life of inmates. Hosts Nigel Poor (a Bay Area artist) and Earlonne Woods (an inmate incarcerated at – and later released from – San Quentin) explore the daily realities of prison life. Episodes cover serious and humorous topics alike, including solitary confinement, pets, life sentences, music, death row and more. This podcast is currently in its fifth season, so there are plenty of episodes to keep you hooked.   

          The Daily (2017-present): The Daily is (as you may guessed) a daily news podcast from The New York Times. Every weekday morning, host Michael Barbaro takes twenty minutes to break down one news story. He explains the history of the story, explores the impact, and hears from various individuals with different takes. The content is fairly American-focused, but occasionally veers into the wider world (including a top-notch spinoff series called Caliphate where reporter Rukmini Callimachi reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul). The genius behind this podcast is that it allows you to develop an actual understanding of important news stories without leading to news fatigue. “This. Is The Daily.”  

          2 Dope Queens (2016-2019): Hosted by comics Jessica Williams and Pheobe Robinson, this WNYC Studios comedy podcast will have you in stitches. Each episode begins with the hosts’ hilarious musings on life and pop culture, ranging from debates about Harry Potter to bits about long-term relationships. The hosts then introduce a series of comics who perform quick and dirty stand-up routines to keep you laughing. I especially appreciate the show’s focus on providing a platform for female comics of colour. In 2018, the show moved to HBO and into the realm of paid-programming, but the original podcast series is still available on most podcast platforms.

          The History Chicks (2011-present): The concept of this Wondery podcast is simple. Women’s history is under-told. Let’s change that. Hosts Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenwider record fascinating deep-dives on women in history. The subjects hail from various historical periods – you can learn about anyone from Julie Child to Joan of Arc. My personal favourite episodes are Zelda Fitzgerald, Harriet Tubman and Annie Oakley. This podcast is a history nerd’s delight, complete with an accompanying website with pictures, reading recommendations and links to outside sources.

          The Office Ladies (2020-present): If you loved NBC’s The Office, this is the podcast for you. Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, the actors who brought you the lovable secretary-turned saleswoman Pam Beesly and ice queen accountant Angela Martin, host this hilarious re-watch podcast from Earwolf. Fischer and Kinsey walk listeners through each episode of The Office, breaking down iconic scenes and providing behind-the-scenes trivia. Special guests include Creed Bratton, Rainn Wilson and many of the other talented people who made The Office a hit.


          Twinsters (2015): This film follows American actress and filmmaker Samantha Futerman and Parisian fashion designer Anais Bordier as they get to know one another after discovering that they are identical twins. The women, who were separately adopted at birth, reunite after Anais sees Samantha in a YouTube video and decides to reach out. Together they travel to each other's countries and then to the place of their birth. Written and directed by Samantha, Twinsters is a truly touching story of sisterly love.

          She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014): This documentary explores the second wave feminist movement and the women who made it happen. Not only does this film show the birth of the women's liberation movement and the issues that they fought for (equal pay, child care, education, contraception, abortion), it captures the determination and humour with which they did it. This documentary is a great way to learn about the women whose tenacity shaped the world that we live in today. The message is clear. You can change the world.

          Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993): This poignant film documents the 1990 Oka Crisis, a violent standoff between the Kanien’kéhaka (Mohawk) nation and the Canadian army that catapulted the issue of Canadian indigenous land rights onto the world stage. The situation escalated after the mayor of Oka announced plans to expand a golf course and build condominiums on land with a long-standing Kanien’kéhaka claim. Director Alanis Obomsawin and her crew spent 78 days behind the Kanien’kéhaka lines filming the standoff and its devastating effects. This documentary is available for free on the Canadian National Film Board website.

          Tiger King (2020): This seven-episode Netflix documentary explores the crazier-than-reality world of private “big cat” zoos in America and the eccentric people that own them. The documentary follows Joe Exotic, the owner of a tiger park and breeding facility in Oklahoma, and his decades-long feud with breeder-turned-activist Carole Baskin. Tiger King has it all – big cats, cult leaders, drug lords, magic shows, mysterious disappearances and at least one murder plot. This documentary is Blackfish meets The Sopranos meets Us Weekly. You will not be disappointed.

          The Hunting Ground (2015): This haunting documentary shines a light on sexual assault on American college campuses. It explores the complex network of college administrations, athletic departments, faculty, law enforcement and fraternities that prevented campus sexual assault from being properly reported and addressed. The film follows survivor-activists Annie Clark and Andrea Pino as they lead the wave of student-led activism that finally brought campus sexual assault to the top of the national agenda. Both the film and its soundtrack are critically-acclaimed. The Hunting Ground is hard to watch and something that everyone should to see.


          Author: Anastasia-Maria Hountalas

          Anastasia-Maria Hountalas is an associate at Steinecke Maciura LeBlanc, where she advises and represents clients in all aspects of professional regulation. Prior to joining the firm, Anastasia-Maria summered and articled in the litigation department of a leading national law firm, with a focus on health law. Anastasia-Maria completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History at McGill University and obtained her law degree from Queen’s University. During law school, Anastasia-Maria was actively involved in the Queen’s Law community, participating in the Prison Law Clinic and several study abroad programs. Anastasia-Maria Hountalas serves on the YWL Board of Directors as the Director of Marketing & Communications.

        • 21 Mar 2020 11:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

          With social distancing in full effect, a lot of us will be working from home for the foreseeable future. Whether you’re living alone or with others, in a large house or a tiny condo, it can be challenging to stay focused and motivated throughout the day. Here is some advice to help you get situated and build a foundation to thrive in your new working environment.

          Create a Designated Workspace

          If you don’t already have one, now is a good time to create a designated workspace in your home. Avoid working where you sleep or eat if possible. Natural light can be very helpful, as long as there is no glare on your computer screen. Be mindful of storing confidential files or other physical materials in a safe place. Most importantly, remember to distance yourself from that space when you’re taking breaks and, most importantly, once you’re done working for the day.

          Maintain a Routine and Make a To-Do List

          It’s easy to roll out of bed and work from home in your pajamas. However, try to stick with elements of your normal workday routine, including maintaining a regular bedtime, setting an alarm to wake up, getting dressed for work, having lunch, and taking breaks during the day. I’ve opted for a comfy alternative to pajamas (hello, Roots sweatpants!), but others suggest changing into office attire. Maintaining a routine is a small step that can make a big difference in your productivity for the day.

          Writing a daily to-do list is helping me stay organized and focused while working from home. I’m already losing track of what day it is and I’m sleeping, eating, exercising, and working under one roof, so everything is blending together. To-do lists keep me on track to attaining my goals during the work day and checking items off the list is very satisfying.

          Stay in Touch

          Many of us are used to daily social interaction at the office with colleagues and/or clients, so working from home can feel very lonely and isolating (even with kids or significant others at home with you). Consider alternatives to e-mail to keep in touch. Pick up the phone for a quick call or arrange a video conference meeting. It can also be helpful to allocate time to check-in with the people that you work with, not only to discuss work, but their well-being.

          Leverage the “Extra” Time in Your Day

          How are you going to spend the time in your day that would otherwise be dedicated to commuting to and from the office? The possibilities are endless. You could read for pleasure, start a new show on Netflix, try a new recipe, write a blog post, do a puzzle, reconnect with someone in your network or make a new connection, listen to an uplifting podcast, learn a new skill or language, or maybe just enjoy a little extra sleep.

          Practice Self-Care

          We have been inundated with news updates over the past couple of weeks and it can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Remain focused on your physical, emotional and mental well being. There’s no better time to turn inward and focus on what your body needs right now. Self-care can take many forms, and these are some of my favourites: avoiding excessive media coverage, facetiming with family members and friends, meditating, doing yoga, going for a run, and getting fresh air. I’ve also turned to Instagram Live for a lot of interactive content in recent days, including workout classes, impromptu concerts from my favourite artists, and even a daily 5PM dance party with 3,000 of my closest friends (all from the comfort of my home, of course).


          Working from home can be challenging, frustrating, and isolating; however, it can also be flexible, productive, and cozy. Ultimately, the ability to work from home means that we are fortunate enough to have jobs that allow us to do so. Let’s be patient with the situation and support each other as we navigate this time of uncertainty. We will get through this together!


          Authors: Ellen Dalicandro, Stikeman Elliott LLP

          Ellen Dalicandro obtained her J.D. and Honours Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ottawa in 2016 and 2013, respectively. Ellen is the Assistant Director of Talent Management at Stikeman Elliott LLP. Prior to her current role, Ellen was an associate in the corporate group at Stikeman Elliott where she practiced securities, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. Ellen is a member of the Sponsorship Committee of Young Women in Law and Vice President of Mentorship of the Toronto Telfer Alumni Network.   
        • 19 Dec 2019 12:37 PM | Anonymous member

          As young professionals, we are increasingly aware of the highs and lows of “adulting” – life insurance, property taxes, and the endlessly gripping fixed vs variable rate debate. We also know that we should have a will to protect our house and financial assets, and our young families. But what other assets should we plan to protect? As more facets of our lives are being lived online, it is more important than ever to ensure that our digital assets are included in our estate planning, not just to maximize their value, but also to ensure that our data ends up in the right hands.

          Digital Assets by the Numbers

          Digital assets include emails, social media accounts, blogs, digital photos, electronic folders, funds held in accounts such as iTunes and PayPal, online subscriptions, Air Miles or other rewards points, and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or other altcoins.

          • A report from the Social Media Lab(1) found that 94% of adult Canadian Internet users have at least one social media account.
          • A recent study by Bond Brand Loyalty shows that the average Canadian participates in 12.2 loyalty programs(2).
          • The same Bond Brand Loyalty study shows that Canadians are sitting on $16 billion of unused reward points.
          • And, 55% of collectors don’t know how many points they have, 41% are unaware of the value of their points, and 25% have never redeemed any of their points for rewards.

          If you want to make sure that your social media accounts, including dating apps, are deleted on your death, include instructions in your estate planning. You may have uploaded photos to apps like Instagram or Facebook that your loved ones will want. Similarly, provide for the posthumous management of your digital files and folders, such as content stored on iCloud. This is particularly important if you store any sensitive material in digital files, or if you store any intellectual property, such as a draft of a novel, or an unreleased recording of a new song.

          Loyalty and rewards points can be more complicated, and the requirements for transferring “points” are usually found in the terms and conditions unique to each company. For example, one company may permit your loved ones to transfer your loyalty points free of charge simply on request, while another may require a death certificate, a letter from the estate trustee, and a specific bequest in a valid legal will.

          Cryptocurrency is taxed in Canada like any other investment. Any gains on cryptocurrency should be reported as capital gains, which are added to your income and taxed at your marginal tax rate. If you are leaving cryptocurrency to loved ones in your will, you should consider the tax implications of such a gift, and plan accordingly.

          If you are a social media influencer or content creator, your digital assets can be particularly valuable. According to a recent study by Izea(3):

          • Influencer and content marketing is now among the top 4 most effective marketing approaches measured in Canada, far more effective than traditional print and radio marketing.
          • 1 in 4 marketers recently surveyed said that they dedicate more than $1 million per year for influencer marketing.
          • 3 out of 4 marketers surveyed have stand-alone budgets for content and/or influencer marketing.

          For example, Lilly Singh is a Toronto Youtube sensation with 14.9 million subscribers. Her social media presence is so strong that she has recently landed her own late night television show on NBC, called A Little Late. Engagement at that level translates to valuable sponsorships and partnerships, and it is a prime example of a digital asset that should be protected with comprehensive estate planning.

          Start-up companies, no matter how big or small, should plan for the future by including their online presence in an estate plan. darsbars is a Toronto company that makes handmade, organic, natural skincare products. The business currently has 709 followers on Instagram (and steadily growing), and a website, As darsbars continues to grow, its social media accounts and website domain will also become more valuable.

          If you do not have a will, or have not updated your will in some time, you should consult a reputable estates lawyer to discuss what qualifies as a digital asset, why it is worth including in an estate plan at all, and what, if any, tax implications may arise.

          (1) The State of Social Media in Canada 2017, Gruzd, A.; Jacobson, J.; Mai, P.; Dubois, E.; Social Media Lab, 2018

          (2) Love & Loyalty: The Loyalty Report 2017, Bond Brand Loyalty

          (3) 2018 Canadian State of the Creator Economy, IZEA, 2018


          Authors: Sheila Morris, Minden Gross LLP

          Sheila Morris is a wills and estates litigator at Minden Gross LLP. Prior to joining Minden Gross, Sheila gained a breadth of civil experience, from insurance litigation to commercial litigation, at two boutique firms in Toronto. Sheila is a member of the OBA’s Elder Law Executive, and regularly writes and speaks on estates and elder law issues. Sheila is a proud young woman in the law, with a mandate to refer to women, mentor women, and advocate for women’s issues. 

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