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19 March 2024

International Women's Day: An Inspiring Q&A With Our Accomplished Women Lawyers

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Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP

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Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP (HSH) was formed in 2000 by three lawyers who envisioned a firm that provided exceptional legal services to injury victims in a clear, compassionate, and caring way. To us, HSH represents not just our firm name but also our mission: Hope Starts Here.
The theme of 2024's International Women's Day is "Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress". This year there is a strong emphasis on recognising the importance of diversity and empowerment in various aspects
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The theme of 2024's International Women's Day is "Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress". This year there is a strong emphasis on recognising the importance of diversity and empowerment in various aspects of society and the important role of inclusion in advancing gender equality. This year's International Women's Day is more than a celebration; it's a declaration of unity and understanding.

Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP is a firm dedicated to creating an inclusive and safe environment for women in business and especially law. We are proud to have many female lawyers and exceptional staff among us in an industry dominated by men, particularly in decision-making roles.

In this blog, we asked our female lawyers what inspired them to become lawyers and to share some of the valuable lessons they learned through their diverse experiences.

Q. What steps do you feel could be taken to increase equality for women in the industry?

Samantha Shatz, Medical Malpractice Lawyer:

Providing mentorship by pairing women lawyers with more experienced mentors who can help them navigate the challenges of the legal profession.

Training programs to raise awareness of unconscious biases and discriminatory behaviours within the legal profession. Establishing procedures for reporting and addressing instances of discrimination.

Offering flexible work arrangements and supporting work-life balance initiatives such as parental leave, child care assistance, and other family-friendly policies to help women lawyers manage the demands of their careers while also fulfilling their responsibilities. Equal pay and compensation transparency to ensure women are paid fairly and to close the gender pay gap.

Q. How do you, as a woman, empower other women?

Kaitlyn MacDonell, Personal Injury Lawyer:

Women need to uplift and support other women, especially in the field of law. I have had the benefit of the wonderful mentorship at HSH and with other colleagues who are women leaders in the industry. These women have encouraged, promoted, and inspired me during my career.

Empowerment takes on many forms. It can be as simple as having a relatable conversation about shared experiences, commending a colleague for the work done either through nominations or awards or a simple encouragement email. It can be advocating for support for women be it in the form of flexible work arrangements to facilitate parental obligations. The most important thing for me is to lead by example and break the barriers for women to come forward in this profession.

Sandra Train, Personal Injury Lawyer:

We should support each other whether it is in victory or loss and share what we have learned to spread the knowledge rather than reinventing the wheel. We should mentor younger women lawyers to help them succeed and support them to ensure they have a work/home/family life balance.

Mariana Attia, Personal Injury Lawyer:

Throughout my legal journey, I have been fortunate to receive guidance and mentorship from remarkable women. We must extend this support to aspiring female lawyers, offering insight and encouragement to navigate their paths confidently.

While we may encounter systemic barriers along the way, sharing our experiences and showing empathy is crucial. I find that belittling others and their experiences is unnecessary; instead, fostering approachability is key. Being approachable cultivates an environment where female lawyers feel comfortable seeking guidance. Conversely, an unapproachable demeanor can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration among young female lawyers. The key is always to be approachable and empathetic.

Q. Please share a piece of advice you received in your career that would be helpful to other women.

Valerie Lord, Class Action & Mass Torts Lawyer:

One valuable piece of advice I received in my career that I believe would be helpful to other women is to prioritise building a strong professional network. Networking is essential for career growth and advancement in any field, including law.

In the legal industry, networking can open doors to new opportunities, help you stay updated on industry trends, and provide support and mentorship from more experienced professionals. As a woman in law, it's important to actively seek out networking opportunities, both within your firm or organisation and through external events, conferences, and professional associations.

Additionally, don't underestimate the power of mentorship. Find mentors who can offer guidance, advice, and support as you navigate your legal career. Look for both female and male mentors who can provide different perspectives and insights.

Finally, don't be afraid to advocate for yourself and your career goals. Speak up in meetings, express your ideas and opinions, and take on challenging assignments that will help you grow professionally.

Q. How will you celebrate International Women's Day?

Mariana Attia, Personal Injury Lawyer:

I look forward to spending time with my closest female friends and mentors, who have been the cornerstone of both my personal and professional growth. Cheers to continuously uplifting one another!

At HSH, we are not just a law firm.

We are a community deeply committed to nurturing the growth and success of women lawyers through mentorship, collaboration, and support.

We believe guidance and shared experiences can positively impact a young female lawyer's journey into law. If you're a young female lawyer seeking direction and eager to connect with our female personal injury lawyers, please connect with our team.

At HSH, you won't just find a law firm; you will discover a supportive network of like-minded women united by a common goal – to be the best lawyers we can be while making a meaningful difference in both the legal profession and the lives of our clients.

Learn more about why today is internationally recognised here:

https://women-gender-equality.canada.ca/en/commemorations-celebrations/womens-history-month/women-history-canada-timeline.html

https://www.internationalwomensday.com

https://www.un.org/en/observances/womens-day

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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