For those of you who don’t know, the Law Practice Program (LPP) is created by the Law Society in partnership with Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa that offer curriculum in English and French, respectively. It is designed to provide a licensing pathway to becoming a lawyer without having to article. This program is a pilot project that started in 2014, and was scheduled to run for three years before the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) evaluated the success of the program.
My colleagues inspire me on a daily basis. For this post, I’m taking my cue from one of them. Interestingly enough, this particular colleague tends to write about the people in our profession who inspire her. She chooses to amplify the strides that members of our profession make, perhaps because she recognizes that if one of us moves the profession forward, then we all have the potential to do so.
When I was working in Big Law, partners and associates sometimes looked at in-house counsel as those who couldn’t make it on Bay Street. In-house counsel were the weaker lawyers, the ones who couldn’t compete, or the ones who could not handle the long hours. Lawyers went in-house because they wanted work life balance. In fact, articles are written about women leaving Bay Street and entering in-house practice because they just can’t put in the hours anymore.
Are lawyers suffering from an identity crisis? Is it an occupational hazard that our training has made us good at our jobs, but bad at life? In many instances, we are legally and ethically compelled to subvert our personal interests and identities in favour of our professional interests and obligations. As lawyers we are typically pessimistic, risk-averse, adversarial, argumentative, confrontational, overly opinionated, critical, over-achieving, “type-A” and blame-avoidant on our clients’ behalf. Admit nothing. Say nothing. Give nothing. Defend, defend, defend. Attack, parry, thrust. Are our personal identities slightly subverted to these interests or have they been completely eradicated?
The Ghomeshi trial is all the rage right now in the criminal world, and rightly so. The case goes to the very heart of many issues that are commonly debated when discussing sexual assault. However, the issue mainly picked up by the media in this case is, “can we prove that consent was present at the time of the alleged assault given the complainant’s behavior following the incident?” More specifically, if the complainant “goes back” to the alleged perpetrator, is his/her credibility damaged to the point where they cannot be believed about the incident in question? Whether this is the case or not, it got me thinking about my own behaviour when I was met with workplace harassment and discrimination as a female lawyer.