Women Lawyers Forum
History and Transition
The Feminist Legal Analysis Section (“FLAC”) of the OBA was the first and for a long time the only group in the OBA/CBA to focus on women lawyers and the laws affecting women in society. FLAC celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2013, when it changed its name to "Women Lawyers Forum" (“WLF”) to be identified and move forward with other women lawyers across Canada as part of the national women's conference of the CBA.
As the Women Lawyers Forum, our focus and mandate remain the same: forging bonds among women lawyers and advancing women in the legal profession, critically examining from a feminist perspective how the law affects women in society, and serving the profession and society by sharing in the OBA's advocacy and professional development work.
The Feminist Legal Analysis Section was formed as the Feminist Legal Analysis Committee ("FLAC") in June 1992, inspired by a highly successful program at the Annual Institute that spring. The Committee achieved section status in June 1993. For ten years, it remained unique in the CBA.
Women in British Columbia started the Women Lawyers Forum in 2003. WLF became a national Conference of the CBA in 2005 and branches began emerging in the provinces. In 2007, the Feminist Legal Analysis Section gained recognition as the Ontario branch of WLF, while continuing to be a Section of the OBA.
Since then, all WLF branches, now established in every province and territory, have become sections of their provincial CBA branches. By changing our name to "Women Lawyers Forum," we are making our relationship with the national Conference clear. Every member of the Ontario section is automatically a member of national WLF.
Continuing into the future with our new name and maintaining our feminist perspective and goals, our objectives are to:
- Keep a critical eye on the law as it affects women and contribute to substantive analysis of the law from both a practitioner and academic perspective
- Participate in OBA advocacy including adding a feminist voice to OBA submissions to government
- Promote the advancement and fair treatment of women in the legal profession, including honouring women lawyers with our Award of Excellence in the Promotion of Women’s Equality
- Bring women together across generations and across the stages of their legal careers, working in different areas of law and in different modalities - small firm, large firm, in-house, clinic, government, education, social action.
- Honour our diversity and learn from each other's experiences and perspectives
- Welcome and work with our allies from other sectors of the OBA/CBA and the profession as a whole