Law Society to begin consultations on landmark proposals to enhance advancement of women in private practice

    TORONTO, Feb. 21 /CNW/ - The Law Society of Upper Canada released a
landmark report today identifying best practices to promote the retention and
advancement of women in the private practice of law.
    Women have been entering private practice in record numbers for over two
decades. However, they have also been leaving in great numbers, largely
because private practice has not adapted to their realities, such as
childbirth and taking on a significant portion of family responsibilities.
    "More needs to be done to improve the retention of women in private
practice," says bencher Laurie Pawlitza, Co-Chair of the Law Society's
Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group. "This is a key
initiative in improving access to justice for everyone in Ontario. The Law
Society has a role in helping to lead the changes that the profession must
make to retain women in private practice," she explains.
    The establishment of a parental leave program for sole and small firm
practitioners, as well as a practice locum service are two of the most
forward-looking proposals in the report. A Justicia pilot program -- which
would enable the Law Society to work with a group of large- and medium-sized
firms to implement pilot programs aimed at improving the retention of women --
is also among the proposals contained in the report.
    "The public and the profession as a whole would benefit from the report's
proposals. The parental leave and the practice locum programs would provide
much-needed support to both male and female sole and small firm practitioners
- who are the gateway to the justice system for most individuals," says Law
Society bencher Bonnie Warkentin, Co-Chair of the working group that prepared
the report.
    The consultation with the profession will continue through the spring.
Written submissions will be accepted until April 18, 2008. The working group
will then return to Convocation with recommendations based on the

    The Working Group on the Retention of Women was formed in 2005 to
identify strategies to enhance the retention and advancement of women in
private practice.

For further information:

For further information: Roy Thomas, (416) 947-7619,
or Denise McCourtie, (416) 947-3362,

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