Ontario Lawyers Turning Momentum into Action

  • October 09, 2018

New OBA President Sets Agenda for Addressing Gender
Equality in the Profession

TORONTO, ON – Ontario Bar Association (OBA) President Lynne Vicars has outlined the association’s agenda for the upcoming year, including significant efforts to advance gender equality in the profession.

“From innovation to education to access to justice, the OBA will continue to equip the profession with the tools they need to thrive,” Vicars told the crowd of more than a 100 lawyers recently at the OBA’s Fall Provincial Council meeting.

Called to the Ontario bar in 2001, Lynne Vicars is the OBA’s 84th President and ninth female president. She is currently senior legal counsel at a leading Canadian financial institution. She is the present Chair of the OBA’s Compensation and Human Resources Committee and has chaired both the OBA’s Governance Committee and its Technology and Practice Innovation Committee in the past. She holds an MBA in International Business, a JD from the University of Alberta, and an LLM in e-Business Law from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Among the OBA’s many activities, Vicars has promised that efforts to build up gender equality will feature prominently in all of the association’s work.

“In the year since the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements began, I’ve seen a broad willingness across the profession to examine and challenge the social context and structures in which we operate,” said Vicars. “Together, the profession can build on that momentum and do what lawyers do best – and that is find practical and productive ways to build a society centered on equality and that serves us all.”

Building on the association’s strength in harnessing the skill and expertise of the profession, the OBA will undertake efforts to bring issues to the surface, identify solutions and supply resources and tools to help the profession usher in a new era of equality. The year ahead will be about capturing lawyers’ experiences and then finding and sharing ways to help the entire profession excel by bringing out the very best in its people.

Opening up about her own experiences navigating the profession, Vicars highlighted the value that every lawyer’s experience brings to creating a more invested profession.

“I forged my career as a single mother to four children. It wasn’t always easy, but it definitely enriched my experience as I began to practice,” said Vicars. “I am motivated by our members’ experiences, and I want to use those experiences to help reposition the profession with equality as our driving force.”

The retention of women in the law is a real and intractable problem with signficant costs to the profession. Under Vicars’ leadership, the OBA will pursue avenues for actionable change that advance gender equality and enhance the profession. In the year ahead, members can expect a range of initiatives that will produce lasting and ongoing change.

The OBA will focus on creating more opportunities for engagement, initiate monthly “Solution Circles” that allow members to identify issues affecting gender equality and then set an agenda for solution-building, and build public awareness to help make the profession stronger as a whole. The initiatives will help dismantle even the best intentioned attitudes and systems if they marginalize or create inequality.

The year’s efforts will culminate with solution-sharing at a year-end “Momentum Summit,” where the profession will gather to review the collective experiences of members, the outcomes of the OBA’s Solutions Circles and the advocacy and awareness-raising initiatives designed to channel this knowledge into continued momentum toward a more equitable and inclusive legal community.

“The OBA’s role is to provide practical and productive ways to help members participate fully in the profession,” said Vicars, “And this year, we will do just that by turning momentum into action.”

About the Ontario Bar Association: Established in 1907, the OBA is the largest branch of the Canadian Bar Association and the largest voluntary legal association in Ontario, representing approximately 16,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. The OBA provides continuing professional development and advocates for improvements to the law in the interests of the profession and public.

For more information:
Amy Clark, OBA Media Relations and Communications Manager
416-869-1047 x364; aclark@oba.org