Welcome from the Chair

  • October 02, 2018
  • Bianca Thomas, Legal Counsel, BMO Financial Group, and Chair of the Women Lawyer's Forum

Welcome to the 2018-2019 term! I am pleased to welcome several new executive members this term, and would like to thank all of the outgoing executive members for their efforts in making the 2017-2018 term a fantastic one.

I am particularly excited about this term for the Ontario Bar Association Women Lawyers Forum as it marks the 25th anniversary since our section’s inception. It began as the Feminist Legal Analysis Section (FLAC) and has morphed into the Women Lawyers Forum. I am delighted that membership to the WLF section is free for OBA members this term – thank you to OBA President Lynne Vicars and to the OBA for this wonderful news.

We have a fantastic slate of events planned for this term. We began with our fall social earlier in September, which featured a toast to our OBA President Lynne Vicars, at the Metropolitan. It was a great start to the term – there was an excellent turnout, and an undeniable energy and excitement in the room. On September 17th, we had our first CPD program of the term on building resilience, which allowed for a candid and insightful discussion of how to build mental wellness into one’s practice.

We have another social coming up on October 10th in Hamilton. We are looking forward to boosting our regional presence and meeting some of the Hamilton bar over wine and cheese at the Hamilton Club. Then on October 12th, we will be featuring special back-to-back programs starting off with a panel discussion, in partnership with the CBA WLF, on the 25th anniversary of the Touchstones for Change Report. This will be followed by a panel celebrating our section’s 25th anniversary, and focusing on issues relating to female litigants and women as lawyers to assess how far we have come since our section was founded, and how far we have left to go in terms of advancements for women in law.

We will be participating in the OBA Institute 2019 as well – our program is going to feature the best of our Pathways to Power Programs, shining a light on the successful journeys of female lawyers into positions of power and influence in various areas.

In April 2019, we anticipate bringing back our Speed Mentoring Event, which was held last April in conjunction with SABA, FACL and CABL.

This is just a sampling of the events and programs we have planned for this year. I am excited by our plans this year to continue our great programming, boost our regional and community outreach, and engage further in our policy and public affairs work. The WLF is a wonderful community of women who share similar values and have a passion for supporting women in law. 

For anyone who is looking to get involved with the WLF, I welcome you to reach out to me or other WLF executive members (you may find our contact information on the WLF executive page) – we would love to connect with you.

Looking forward to a fantastic term!

Bianca Thomas, Chair 2018-2019, OBA Women Lawyers Forum

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