Over the next several months, we’ll introduce you to the members of our 2020/2021 OBA Women Lawyers Forum Executive. We look forward to building relationships with OBA WLF members, and look forward to introducing ourselves to you. For now, here are the profiles of our first three WLF executive members:
MEET RICHA SANDILL, PAST-CHAIR
Tell us about yourself.
I am an employment and human rights lawyer practicing in the legal clinic system. What this means is that I represent and advise individuals who, based on their household income, qualify for LAO-funded legal clinic services. I came here in 2019 after articling and practicing for three years in the private bar as an employment lawyer. Apart from my day job, I am also lucky enough to work on a number of important teams and equality initiatives in the profession. Last year, I was Chair of the WLF, this year I get to continue my work as Past Chair, and am a Director and Co-Chair of the Women's Committee at the South Asian Bar Association (SABA). I rep SABA at OBA Council, and also am very proud to be part of a group of diversity- and equity-minded lawyers called Diverse Champions for Diversity, which actively seeks to promote talented, diverse legal professionals within the profession and beyond. Beyond my law life, I am a gigantic food lover: this year I started, mid-lockdown, my own Instagram-based online Indian dessert shop called Mithaiwali (translating from Hindi/Urdu to "the girl who makes 'mithai', the word for Indian sweets).
How do you think the WLF impacts our legal community?
The WLF is a crucial voice for gender equality in our profession. It has the ability to take strong and active voices within the OBA on matters that affect not just female legal professionals, but women as a whole in the province. For example, we drafted submissions to the provincial government back in 2018 about the absence of the word "consent" in the proposed sex-ed school curriculum. We also have a broader impact through empowering women in the profession. Our award-winning series, Pathways to Power, has showcased hundreds of women how to reach influential, traditionally male-dominated positions in politics, boardrooms, judiciaries, and beyond. The WLF has spawned leaders and changemakers, and continues to promote much-needed feminist thought during the divided political times that we find ourselves in.
Which 2020/2021 WLF initiative or program are you looking forward to the most?
Pathways to Power! I was part of the founding executive for this amazing program and have watched it grow and grow over the years. The positivity in the room is infectious each time. I'm looking forward to bringing that same positivity to the Zoom screen as we plan out two Pathways events this year: Women in Legal AId/Social Justice, and Diverse Women on the Bench.