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The Advocates’ Society<br />

SPRING <strong>2023</strong>


Now Live! Friends Who Argue - TAS podcast is jointly hosted by<br />

our Young Advocates and 10+ Standing Committees. Segments<br />

feature dialogue with the people who get what you do, as we<br />

delve into both the serious and lighthearted aspects of life as<br />

an advocate in Canada. Know a TAS member we should talk<br />

to? Contact Christopher Horkins at chorkins@cassels.com and<br />

Karen Bernofsky at KarenB@stockwoods.ca .<br />

05<br />

07<br />

09<br />

14<br />

16<br />

20<br />

23<br />

28<br />

Chair Chat<br />

Chloe Snider (she/her), Dentons<br />

Event Report: Achieving Cultural Competency in Practice<br />

Omolara Oladipo (she/her), Ladilaw<br />

Roundtable: Allyship with the LGBTQ2S+ Community<br />

Compiled by Michelle Alton (she/her), Ministry of the Attorney General<br />

Word to the Wise: Making the Most of the TAS<br />

Mentoring Portal<br />

Megan Keenberg (she/her), Keenberg & Co<br />

Interview with Erin Best<br />

Compiled by Joe Thorne (he/him), Stewart McKelvey<br />

Straight From the Dragon’s Mouth<br />

Christopher Lee (he/him), Loopstra Nixon LLP<br />

Partnership Bound<br />

Christine Ashton (she/her), Wilson Vukelich LLP<br />

Reflection on Four Terms of <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong><br />

Tamara Ramsey (she/her), Dale & Lessmann LLP<br />

Editor: Tamara Ramsey (she/her), Dale & Lessmann LLP | tramsey@dalelessmann.com<br />

Deputy editor: Megan Keenberg (she/her), Keenberg & Co | mkeenberg@keenco.ca<br />

The opinions expressed by individual authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Advocates’ Society.<br />

<strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong> Editorial Team: Michelle Alton (she/her), Ministry of the Attorney General, Nadia Chiesa (she/her), WeirFoulds LLP, Erin Durant (she/her), Durant Barristers,<br />

and Joe Thorne (he/him), Stewart McKelvey<br />

Friends Who Argue is sponsored by<br />

2 3




Chair Chat<br />

Chloe Snider (she/her), Dentons<br />

2021-22<br />

Ronald M. Dash<br />

Ron has over 45 years of experience<br />

resolving a wide variety of<br />

commercial, employment,<br />

shareholder, joint venture, insurance,<br />

construction, and real estate matters<br />

as a mediator, arbitrator, Master of<br />

the Superior Court of Justice and<br />

litigator. He has a well-deserved<br />

reputation for getting quickly to the<br />

heart of a dispute.<br />

Barry H. Bresner<br />

Barry is an arbitrator, mediator and<br />

investigator with over 40 years of<br />

experience handling complex<br />

commercial matters. His expertise<br />

includes shareholder/partnership,<br />

contract interpretation,<br />

environmental liability, commercial<br />

insurance and reinsurance &<br />

franchise disputes. Barry is a Fellow<br />

of the Chartered Institute of<br />

Arbitrators.<br />

2021-22<br />

READERS’<br />

CHOICE<br />

This is my last Chair Chat as chair of The Advocates’<br />

Society’s 10+ Standing Committee. I<br />

am grateful for the opportunity to have led<br />

a committee that is doing so much to give<br />

a voice to mid-career advocates and to create<br />

community for that cohort. I have found<br />

this community to be an essential support<br />

in facing the trials and tribulations (literally<br />

and figuratively) of practice.<br />

There are great things in store for next<br />

term – like our first ever mid-career advocates’<br />

retreat in February 2024 – stay tuned<br />

for more details!<br />

This will also be Tamara Ramsey’s last<br />

edition as editor – thank you Tamara for<br />

the countless hours and energy you have<br />

poured into this publication. We will miss<br />

your tongue in cheek articles on good advocacy.<br />

Tamara says her farewells in Reflection<br />

on Four Terms of <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong>.<br />

Welcome to Megan Keenberg, our new<br />

editor. Megan is a longtime contributor and<br />

current deputy editor of <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong>.<br />

In this edition, she explains how to make the<br />

most of the TAS Mentoring Portal. The portal<br />

provides an opportunity for junior lawyers<br />

to connect with more senior advocates<br />

(including mid-career advocates!), for virtual<br />

mentoring sessions with lawyers outside of<br />

their firms. Having already participated as a<br />

mentor, I can say that this is a meaningful<br />

way of giving back with a low time commitment<br />

– and Megan’s article makes preparing<br />

easy.<br />

The 10+ Standing Committee has hosted<br />

some fantastic events this term. Thanks to<br />

Chris Lee who organized and now reports on<br />

our event with Michele Romanow – Straight<br />

from the Dragon’s Mouth. Chris reports on<br />

some of Michele’s best tips for litigators.<br />

Omolara Oladipo reports on the committee’s<br />

February event: Cultural Competency<br />


4 5<br />

416.362.8555 • 1.800.856.5154 • booking@adr.ca • adrchambers.com

in Practice, hosted by our Diversity, Inclusion<br />

and Representation Working Group.<br />

The speakers, Justice Faisal Mirza, Ada Chan<br />

and Koren Lightning-Earle highlighted the<br />

gap in cultural competency and how that<br />

gap affects matters before and during adjudication.<br />

Our focus on inclusion and diversity continues<br />

in the Roundtable: Allyship with the<br />

LGBTQ2S+ Community, compiled by Michelle<br />

Alton – it starts with the basics: what<br />

is allyship – and what is it not.<br />

This edition also includes Joe Thorne’s interview<br />

with Erin Best, a partner at Stewart<br />

McKelvey in St. John’s. Erin shares not only<br />

her proudest moment as a litigator but provides<br />

some essential TV and other recos.<br />

Finally, Christine Ashton shares with us<br />

what it means to become a partner – and<br />

what to consider in determining if it’s the<br />

right decision. She raises many issues that,<br />

at least in my experience, aren’t that talked<br />

about.<br />

Postscript: How do I say something about<br />

the Ontario bencher election without saying<br />

something about the bencher election?! This<br />

edition will come out after the bencher election<br />

outcome is known, so I will say this: It<br />

is amazing to see so many younger, mid-career<br />

advocates running in the bencher election<br />

– people whom I know will give voice<br />

to the issues challenging our generation of<br />

lawyers and whose values align with those<br />

of The Advocates’ Society. Thank you for being<br />

our voice.<br />


Event Report: Achieving<br />

Cultural Competency in<br />

Practice<br />

Omolara Oladipo (she/her), Ladilaw<br />

On Friday, February 3, <strong>2023</strong>, the Diversity, Inclusion<br />

and Representation Working Group<br />

of the 10+ Standing Committee of The Advocates’<br />

Society hosted a virtual panel event<br />

entitled “Walk the Talk: Achieve Cultural Competency<br />

in Your Practice.” The event promoted<br />

cultural competence, not only during the<br />

process of adjudication, but also during the<br />

often-forgotten steps leading to adjudication.<br />

The event was attended by approximately<br />

45 people and co-chaired by Michelle Alton<br />

and Omolara Oladipo. Michelle also moderated<br />

the panel which consisted of:<br />

• Ada Chan, Executive Director, The Chinese<br />

and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic<br />

• Justice Faisal Mirza, Superior Court of Justice<br />

of Ontario<br />

• Koren Lightning-Earle, Legal Director at<br />

Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge,<br />

University of Alberta<br />

The speakers exhibited a distinct understanding<br />

of the gap in cultural competence<br />

and how the gap affects matters before and<br />

during adjudication. Among other things, the<br />

panel discussed:<br />

• How decisions made about a case can benefit<br />

from a more culturally competent perspective<br />

before it gets to a hearing;<br />

• Issues that arise during adjudication, including<br />

the impact of implicit bias; and<br />

• How to address situations when the promotion<br />

of change in the justice system<br />

more broadly appears to conflict with an<br />

advocate’s specific duties in an individual<br />

case.<br />

If you are interested in learning more about<br />

cultural competence, the video archive of this<br />

program is available for free for TAS members<br />

in the Member Resource Library here.<br />

6 7

The Advocates’ Society is proud to announce a<br />

new online mentoring program exclusively for TAS members.<br />

NEW TAS<br />


PORTAL<br />

A key goal of this new mentoring program is to create a simple way for our Members to feel<br />

more connected to their professional community and obtain some career advice from more<br />

experienced members of the bar. This program model is convenient, efficient and effective:<br />

√<br />

√<br />

√<br />

No long-term commitments.<br />

No extensive questionnaires or matching.<br />

No heavy agendas, minute taking or long-term planning.<br />

Just simple connection and conversation for lawyers to get some tips and connect with<br />

someone new.<br />

More information is available on the<br />

TAS mentoring website page.<br />

TAS Junior Members are<br />

automatically signed up.<br />

Set up your profile today!<br />


Roundtable: Allyship with<br />

the LGBTQ2S+ Community<br />

Featuring Tracey Doyle (she/her), Bennett Jones LLP,<br />

Brendan MacArthur-Stevens (he/him), Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP,<br />

and Jennifer Mathers McHenry (she/her), Mathers McHenry & Company<br />

Compiled by Michelle Alton (she/her), Ministry of the Attorney General<br />

In this roundtable, we talk to three lawyers about the importance of allyship with the<br />

LGBTQ2S+ community in the legal profession.<br />

Tracey Doyle (she/her) is a litigation lawyer at Bennett Jones LLP. Tracey has extensive<br />

experience acting in intellectual property disputes of all types and also provides scientific<br />

support in class action matters.<br />

Brendan MacArthur-Stevens (he/him) is a litigation and arbitration Partner at Blake, Cassels<br />

& Graydon LLP. Brendan specializes in complex commercial disputes, deal litigation,<br />

8 9<br />

****At this time, the program is only available in English but we are working with Mentorship Rocket to build a bilingual (English and French) site for later in <strong>2023</strong>.

Brendan MacArthur-Stevens (he/him) Blake, Cassels &<br />

LLP<br />

Graydon<br />

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP<br />

Tracey Doyle (she/her),<br />

Tracey Doyle (she/her), Bennett Jones LLP<br />

Bennett Jones LLP<br />

and public law matters. He also does extensive<br />

pro bono work for LGBTQ2S+ people and organizations<br />

in Alberta.<br />

Jennifer Mathers McHenry (she/her) is the<br />

founding partner of Mathers McHenry & Company,<br />

a boutique employment law firm in downtown<br />

Toronto that provides executive employees<br />

and employers with legal and strategic advice<br />

to assist them at key transition points in their<br />

careers or businesses. Jennifer works with her<br />

wife, Kirsti Mathers McHenry, who is the firm’s<br />

Managing Partner.<br />

What is allyship and what is not allyship?<br />

BMS: Allyship is about listening, caring, researching,<br />

taking responsibility, and doing the work.<br />

Allyship arises when someone from a majority<br />

population takes steps to elevate or promote<br />

the interests of people from a minority population.<br />

There are many systemic barriers in our society<br />

that are uniquely acute for individuals from<br />

historically underrepresented groups, including<br />

members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. Allies<br />

help to carry some of this burden by actively<br />

working to remove or alleviate these barriers.<br />

TD: Allyship to the LGBTQ2S+ community is<br />

straight people taking action to support us. Allyship<br />

is the non-marginalized stepping back in<br />

appropriate situations so that members of the<br />

queer community can step forward. Allyship is<br />

amplifying queer voices, rather than shouting<br />

over them. Above all, allyship requires genuinely<br />

listening to the needs of the queer community<br />

and then trying to meet them. Those needs may<br />

require that our allies be silent, accompany us<br />

in protest, or simply physically walk with us in<br />

areas where we feel unsafe. Allyship is not passively<br />

standing by to let us figure out problematic<br />

issues. Allyship is active. It requires people to<br />

make a choice. If you refuse to make that choice,<br />

then it means that you are not an ally.<br />

our profession, allyship has to be about working<br />

to dismantle barriers to success for historically<br />

marginalized or underrepresented groups, not<br />

just avoiding creating those barriers yourself.<br />

Why is allyship important?<br />

TD: Without allyship, I could not be married,<br />

have children, or live the way I do in the community.<br />

My life as I know it is possible because allies<br />

have listened, spoken up and helped to make<br />

meaningful changes to society that allow me to<br />

embrace my identity. Allyship is not only about<br />

protection but is also central to acceptance. I<br />

go to work every day dressed in “menswear”. I<br />

would not be able to do that if I didn’t have allies.<br />

I feel comfortable being who I am in the workplace<br />

and that is because of allies who promote<br />

and accept me. Allies are our bridge to people<br />

who may be resistant to hearing from queers. Allies<br />

can never underestimate the power of their<br />

voice.<br />

BMS: Allyship is so important because it leads<br />

to a more equal sharing of responsibilities and<br />

burdens associated with the hard work that goes<br />

into counteracting systemic barriers. Allyship is<br />

essential to creating a more inclusive and supportive<br />

environment for everyone. This is not<br />

only the right thing to do; in my view, it also<br />

produces healthier, happier, and more effective<br />

teams and workplaces.<br />

JMM: Effective allyship in any organization<br />

should clear the path to success for the best<br />

people in the organization. If we can successfully<br />

remove barriers to inclusion, we are removing<br />

needless impediments to our employees’ or our<br />

colleagues’ successes, which can only serve to allow<br />

stars to shine and organizations to make the<br />

most of a diverse talent pool. Allyship is not just<br />

important, it’s vital.<br />

How can lawyers be allies?<br />

(she, McHenry her), Mathers<br />

Mathers Jennifer<br />

McHenry & Company<br />

Mathers McHenry & Company<br />

JMM: I think it is very important to think of allyship<br />

as an action, not an identity; it is something<br />

you do, not something you are. At work and in<br />

BMS: Within their organizations, lawyers can<br />

mentor and sponsor junior lawyers, distribute<br />

opportunities within the organization equitably,<br />

10 11

and advocate for policies and programs<br />

that foster diversity and inclusivity.<br />

Outside their organizations, lawyers can<br />

provide pro bono services to cases and<br />

organizations that lift minority communities,<br />

or volunteer for causes that make our<br />

courts, law schools, professional organizations,<br />

and systems more accessible and<br />

inclusive for everyone, regardless of their<br />

background or immutable characteristics.<br />

Ultimately, there are as many ways for<br />

lawyers to be allies as there are lawyers —<br />

there is no one size fits all.<br />

TD: A small action that lawyers can take to<br />

show their allyship is voluntarily including<br />

their pronouns in their email signatures,<br />

Zoom name, Twitter profile etc. Regularly<br />

identifying your pronouns is a way to signal<br />

to the queer community that you are an<br />

ally. Lawyers have demonstrated their allyship<br />

to me by stepping back from speaking<br />

on a panel to make room for more diverse<br />

voices. I have also experienced allies<br />

speaking up for me in instances where, if<br />

I was the only voice, it may have seemed<br />

as though I was being “overly sensitive” or<br />

that my cause was without merit. At the<br />

core, lawyers can be allies by creating an<br />

environment where queers can thrive as<br />

their genuine selves.<br />

JMM: There are two sides to allyship: correcting<br />

for the negative impacts of discrimination<br />

and creating positive change.<br />

We can correct the negative by calling<br />

out unconscious bias and discrimination<br />

or microaggressions when we see these<br />

things happening. I think we are getting<br />

better at understanding that those with<br />

privilege have an obligation to speak up to<br />

create change when we see microaggressions<br />

or discrimination happening, but I still<br />

hear stories of colleagues doing and saying<br />

nothing when the person who requires correcting<br />

is in a position of power. Collectively,<br />

we need to do better on that front.<br />

We can create meaningful change with positive<br />

acts of allyship by:<br />

• being respectful of others’ identities, and<br />

not assuming that everyone we meet has<br />

the same experience or identity as us;<br />

• being willing to learn and listen to those<br />

we seek to support but also willing to do<br />

the work to learn – it is not the job of every<br />

person to explain their life or culture to us;<br />

• remembering that no group is a monolith:<br />

what one person finds acceptable or<br />

even supportive may not be what another<br />

person values or would benefit from; and<br />

not getting defensive when we are advised<br />

that something we said or did was harmful<br />

or hurtful.<br />

Being an ally is not a free-pass or a shield from<br />

criticism. We all make mistakes, we all have<br />

biases, and we all have much to learn.<br />



The Advocates’ Society (TAS) has always embraced mentorship as one<br />

of its core objectives, and strives to promote and foster mentorship<br />

through its educational programs and other initiatives to create a variety<br />

of mentorship opportunities for its members.<br />

In conjunction with the launch of our new mentoring portal, we are proud<br />

to present our revised TAS Mentoring Guide. We hope this guide will be<br />

a valuable resource as you navigate your next mentoring relationship,<br />

whether in micro-mentoring sessions on the new TAS portal or other<br />

mentoring relationships at TAS and beyond.<br />

Ed. note: TAS Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee<br />

(DISC) published the Guide for TAS Leadership About<br />

the Use of Gender Inclusive Language that can be read<br />

here.<br />

TAS members can view the Allyship in <strong>Advocacy</strong> program<br />

free on the TAS Member Resource Library here.<br />

12 13


Word to the Wise: Making<br />

the Most of the TAS<br />

Mentoring Portal<br />

• Tell me about your workplace. How many<br />

people are you working with? Who do you<br />

work most closely with? Do you have an<br />

assigned or informal mentor at your firm?<br />

If so, how is that relationship working for<br />

you?<br />

• Are you wrestling with an acute issue now<br />

that needs priority attention?<br />

• What are you looking for in a mentor?<br />

• Who do you currently turn to for guidance?<br />

What do you value most about the<br />

guidance you receive from that person?<br />

• Where do you see yourself and your practice<br />

in five years?<br />

• What’s your definition of success?<br />

• What are your top priorities right now?<br />

• What do you see as the primary obstacles<br />

to achieving your goals? What have you<br />

tried so far to overcome those obstacles?<br />

What worked? What didn’t work? Why?<br />

How can TAS members participate in the<br />

new TAS Mentoring Program?<br />

The new mentoring program was launched in<br />

January <strong>2023</strong> and is open to all TAS members<br />

to participate as mentors or mentees. TAS<br />

Junior Members are automatically signed up<br />

for the new Mentoring portal and can set up<br />

their accounts by going here.<br />

Members 5+ years of call interested in<br />

being a mentee in the program can register<br />

here.<br />

TAS members 10+ years of call are welcome<br />

and encouraged to sign up to be a mentor.<br />

Simply go to your member profile to opt in as<br />

a mentor or email membership@advocates.<br />

ca and TAS staff will sign you up.<br />

Our approach to mentoring changed over the course of the pandemic with the switch to<br />

remote work. We can no longer rely on casual office pop-ins, chance encounters at the<br />

coffee machine, or walks back to the office from court as the prompt and pretext for daily<br />

mentoring. Instead, we need to be more deliberate about creating and nurturing these relationships.<br />

Further, with the proliferation of virtual communications, mentees are no longer<br />

bound by geography or by the confines of their own workplaces, and suddenly have a much<br />

bigger pool of potential mentors to learn from.<br />

Against this backdrop, The Advocates’ Society has reinvigorated its Mentoring Portal with<br />

a view to fostering mentoring relationships among advocates across Canada. The Mentoring<br />

Portal connects advocates for discrete or continuing mentoring sessions in a way that<br />

provides scores of mentoring sources for mentees without overloading individual mentors.<br />

To make the most out of the precious time you carve out for mentoring, it’s a good idea<br />

to come to sessions equipped with conversation prompts designed to spark meaningful discussions.<br />

Here are some effective prompts specifically tailored for mentors using the TAS<br />

Mentoring Portal:<br />

• Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What drew you to law?<br />

• Tell me about your practice. How would you describe your advocacy style?<br />

• What do you like best about your practice? What’s the best part of a typical day at work<br />

for you? What are the biggest challenges you face in practice? Are you dealing with any<br />

chronic irritations that keep you from enjoying your work?<br />

14 15

Q. What drives you insane?<br />

A. Criticism for criticism’s sake.<br />

Q. What gives you sanity?<br />

A. Order; personal connection; exercise.<br />

Q. Podcast recommendation?<br />

A. Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. The November<br />

Yuval Harari episode is a good start.<br />

Q.Pets: Yes? No? What kind?<br />

A.Yes! Easiest question on the list.<br />

Dogs, all dogs. There’s a dog on Instagram<br />

who talks using buttons. Check it<br />

out: @whataboutbunny. It’s<br />

fascinating stuff.<br />


Interview with Erin Best<br />

(she/her), Stewart McKelvey<br />

Compiled by Joe Thorne (he/him), Stewart McKelvey<br />

Erin Best is a partner at Stewart McKelvey in St. John’s. A past chair of Stewart McKelvey’s Newfoundland<br />

Litigation Group, Erin specializes in civil litigation, insurance, municipal law and intellectual property. Erin<br />

sits on the Law Foundation Board of Governors, the Muskrat Falls Project Land Use and Expropriation<br />

Arbitration Panel, and the board of the Rooms Corporation where she chairs the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity<br />

& Anti-Racism Committee. She is a past chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Intellectual<br />

Property Section.<br />

Q. Any pre-game rituals before court?<br />

A. I’m not superstitious, so I don’t have lucky<br />

shoes or cufflinks. I am an early dog walker so<br />

I never go to court unwalked. I’ve heard it said<br />

that a walk is a litigator’s best friend.<br />

Q. Most proud moment as a litigator?<br />

A. I argued before the Supreme Court of Canada in 2021. The panel<br />

grilled me but I was there for it. I felt great about the whole thing. I<br />

guess they did too because all nine justices took my side.<br />

Q. Restaurant recommendation for out of<br />

town counsel?<br />

A. This is an easy one. We have an abundance of<br />

fantastic restaurants in St. John’s. There’s a real<br />

foodie culture here. My personal favourites include<br />

Terre for the chef’s menu, Mallard Cottage<br />

for the skin-on fish, Waterwest for small plates,<br />

Merchant Tavern for cocktails, crab and fries,<br />

Basho for sushi, Toslow for coffee, The Grounds<br />

for the best fresh veg...I could go on.<br />

Q. During your commute<br />

to work you are...?<br />

A. Um, what commute?<br />

Sorry, Ontario.<br />

Q. TV/movie lawyer you most relate to and why?<br />

A. I’ve never seen a TV lawyer I felt I could relate to at all. Maybe I’m not watching enough TV. The show<br />

I most relate to is Baroness Von Sketch. Everything they do is on point. Have you seen the Work Emails<br />

sketch? Dry Shampoo? Hilarious.<br />

Q. Most embarrassing moment as a litigator?<br />

A. Ha! There are so many. In a conversation with our Chief Justice I once repeatedly said ‘congenial’<br />

when I meant to say ‘collegial’. I still cringe when I think about it. But hey, at least I didn’t say ‘congenital.’<br />

16 17

Q. What word or phrase do you most<br />

overuse?<br />

A. The honest answer is not fit for print.<br />

Let’s just say my nans would not approve,<br />

God rest their souls.<br />

Q. Your key to staying healthy in a<br />

stressful profession?<br />

A. Regular bouts of solitude.<br />

Q. How long from the time you wake up in the morning to the time you first look at your<br />

phone?<br />

A. I don’t sleep with my phone on my nightstand, and I turn off all notifications at night, but I do pick up<br />

my phone about 20 minutes after I get up because I keep a daily journal in my notes.<br />

Q. Preferred social media platform?<br />

A. Instagram is the only one I like. I hate the ads though. I would pay for fewer ads.<br />


Q. Using six words, no more, no less, finish this sentence: What has surprised me the most over<br />

the past year is ....<br />

A. How quickly the story can change.<br />

Q. Favourite vacation spot?<br />

A. The south of France is my happy place.<br />

Q. Other than files, name 3 things that are always on your desk.<br />

A. Paper calendar; Lamy fountain pen; notepad with a handwritten quote from the latest good<br />

book I’m reading.<br />

Q. Your best advice for young litigators just starting out?<br />

A. Enjoy what you do. Be enthusiastic about it. Everyone wants to work with someone who’s<br />

having fun.<br />

Q. A food you can’t stand?<br />

A. Craisins. If I were queen of the world, there would be no craisins.<br />

18 19

What is important for sales and business development?<br />

• Because my first step in selecting a litigator is going to my trusted long-time corporate lawyer, a litigator’s<br />

internal referral network is really, really powerful and you need to have the respect of your<br />

colleagues.<br />

• Be there as soon as I call. When I’m looking for a litigator, I have probably shortlisted 4 or 5 lawyers.<br />

An immediate response to my first connection to you makes a massive difference. Then I can start to<br />

assess immediately, understand how big of an issue I have, and the adrenaline will decrease.<br />

• As soon as I’ve reached out to you, start being my lawyer. In that first call, talk about the problem and<br />

give legal advice. Accurately describe the probabilities of what is going to happen and the potential<br />

paths. Give me a plan right away. I understand that it may change.<br />


Do you have any specific advice for women lawyers?<br />

Straight From the<br />

Dragon’s Mouth<br />

Christopher Lee (he/him), Loopstra Nixon LLP<br />

• I have never thought of being a woman as a disadvantage. You can be more memorable because you<br />

are less common.<br />

• Bet on yourself. In Clearco as a start-up, certain employees could decide how much of their compensation<br />

was variable and how much was fixed (equity versus salary). I was surprised by the data. Most<br />

guys would take as much as they could in equity. Women wanted almost all cash. As a result, many<br />

more men became millionaires. The way you can make a lot of money is by betting on yourself. In my<br />

experience, women don’t do this enough. They should bet on themselves more and bigger.<br />

On March 8, <strong>2023</strong>, the Management for Litigators group of the 10+ Standing Committee hosted<br />

a fireside chat with tech titan Michele Romanow. Michele started six companies before her 35th<br />

birthday. Since 2015, she has been a “Dragon” on CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den. She is the Co-founder<br />

and Executive Chairman of Clearco which has invested more than $5 billion into 10,000+ companies.<br />

For TAS members who missed the program, the archive is available on the TAS Member<br />

Resource Library here. Below are a few tips from this Dragon.<br />

How do you decide what to prioritize?<br />

• Make a list of three important things to do in a day. Most of us don’t get three important things done<br />

in a day. Get the top two important hard things done first thing in the day. That really creates a lot of<br />

momentum for the day. If you don’t get the top three right, you get caught up in tasks all day.<br />

• Learn to emotionally switch effectively. I may have an employee quit at 2:30 pm and have to give a<br />

speech to 150 people at 3:00. I have to instantly switch into being high energy and inspirational even<br />

though I’m upset. Litigation is similarly performative. Plus, the angry brain figures out much less than<br />

the calm brain.<br />

20 21


Partnership Bound<br />

Christine Ashton (she/her), Wilson Vukelich LLP<br />

Come January of each year, countless lawyers make the exciting change to their profiles and<br />

bios, switching their titles from Associate to Partner. And every year, many other lawyers find<br />

themselves tactfully inquiring as to their status on the partnership track. Before you reach the<br />

altar, ask yourself: What does it mean to say “I do” to being a partner? And is it something that<br />

is right for you?<br />

22 23

Is a Partner Really a Partner?<br />

When a friend updates their LinkedIn to reveal<br />

they are now a “partner” at their firm,<br />

they may not actually be a partner. Confusing,<br />

right? In the legal profession, we have created<br />

two different categories of partners: equity<br />

partners and non-equity partners, also known<br />

as “income partners”. An equity partner is a<br />

lawyer that is a part owner of the firm. This is<br />

akin to being a shareholder in a corporation.<br />

By contrast, a non-equity partner is an employee<br />

of the partnership and is not actually<br />

an owner of the firm, even though they may<br />

enjoy some of the privileges of a partner. At<br />

some firms, there is more than one category<br />

of equity partner.<br />

There are many reasons why a law firm may<br />

decide to have different types of partners.<br />

The promotion to income partner can help an<br />

associate grow into equity partnership, by letting<br />

them become familiar with the role prior<br />

to being an equity partner. They can also<br />

be offered the title of partner as a way of signalling<br />

to associates that they are on track to<br />

becoming an equity partner. Further, non-equity<br />

partnership can be used to retain talent<br />

and induce lawyers to stay with the firm, even<br />

though they may never join the equity partnership.<br />

In addition, non-equity partnership<br />

can be used to attract outside lawyers to join<br />

the firm, by giving them the desired title, without<br />

letting a new lawyer at the firm own equity<br />

before proving themself internally.<br />

What’s the Buy In?<br />

To become an equity partner, you will need<br />

to purchase your partnership interest. The<br />

amount required varies from firm to firm.<br />

At some firms, the amount required will feel<br />

about as painful as a mortgage. At other<br />

firms, equity partners can defer a portion of<br />

their draw each year in lieu of making an equity<br />

contribution.<br />

To purchase your partnership interest, it is<br />

most common to either secure a loan from a<br />

financial institution or to refinance your mortgage.<br />

To reduce any hurdles and hassles, if<br />

you are considering equity partnership you<br />

should speak with your firm’s management<br />

and/or the lawyers at your firm who most recently<br />

became equity partners to learn more<br />

about the commitment and financing available<br />

to you.<br />

So, You’ll Make More Money as a Partner,<br />

Right?<br />

Many assume that as an income or equity<br />

partner, they will see a substantial jump in<br />

how much they earn. While this ideally should<br />

be the case, the reality is that it is not always<br />

so. Being a partner means sharing in the risks<br />

of operating the firm. For some, adjusting to<br />

the partnership compensation structure will<br />

be challenging. As such, before signing on the<br />

dotted line and accepting a partnership offer,<br />

you should take the time to become familiar<br />

with the partnership’s compensation model<br />

and practices. These vary substantially from<br />

firm to firm, both for equity and non-equity<br />

partners. Figure out how much compensation<br />

you are likely to earn based on your practice<br />

at the time the offer is made to help you decide<br />

if it is right for you.<br />

In any given year the partnership will generate<br />

income (or - barf - a loss). How the partnership<br />

splits up that income is decided by the<br />

partners and hopefully established in a written<br />

partnership agreement. For some partnerships,<br />

equity is evenly divided amongst<br />

the partners and the compensation model is<br />

either based on the partners receiving equal<br />

draws or on income being distributed unevenly<br />

based on various considerations (e.g.,<br />

set percentages for introducing and responsible<br />

lawyers, and billing lawyers’ time). For<br />

other partnerships, equity is divided unevenly<br />

amongst the partners (e.g., junior partners<br />

may have a lower portion of equity and senior<br />

partners may a higher portion) and the compensation<br />

model is based on the partners receiving<br />

a share of the profit proportionate to<br />

their equity.<br />

The timing of partnership draws and income<br />

distributions varies from firm to firm.<br />

Typically, partners receive draws from the<br />

partnership income throughout the year and<br />

then distributions of additional income once<br />

the final profits (or losses) for the year are<br />

calculated and allocated amongst the partners.<br />

For some firms, partnership draws are<br />

made consistently and routinely throughout<br />

the year, with the final undistributed income<br />

from the previous year being distributed the<br />

following year. For other firms, draws and distributions<br />

may be more sporadic, and the final<br />

distributions may not be made until well<br />

into the following calendar year. Ideally, the<br />

draw will be more than enough to sustain<br />

your month-to-month household costs while<br />

the final distributions go towards savings and<br />

payment of tax instalments.<br />

In addition, some partnership compensa-<br />

24 25

tion models have punishment and reward<br />

measures triggered by specific events like a<br />

partner’s failure to collect a substantial portion<br />

of their billings or a partner’s success<br />

in bringing in significant new business. The<br />

punitive measures can include temporarily<br />

pausing or reducing the partner’s draws or<br />

distributions, and the rewards can include increasing<br />

a partner’s draws.<br />

Given the above, if your finances are dependant<br />

on a consistent and substantial deposit<br />

to your bank account, your firm’s partnership<br />

compensation model and practices<br />

may be disastrous for you. You may find that<br />

your own book of business would result in you<br />

earning the same as you did as an associate<br />

(but now you also have a partnership capital<br />

loan). Or you may find that the firm’s lengthy<br />

schedule for paying out distributions would<br />

be too much for you to bear (especially when<br />

you have to pay the taxes on partnership income<br />

that you have not yet received). Or you<br />

may find that your own practice management<br />

issues would see you constantly subject to<br />

pauses in income distributions. All of this can<br />

mean that a partnership at your firm is not<br />

right for you. And all of this confirms the need<br />

to ensure you understand the partnership’s<br />

compensation model and practices before<br />

becoming a partner.<br />

What about Tax?<br />

For non-equity partners, taxes are assessed in<br />

the same way as they are for associates. As<br />

employees of the partnership, and not owners,<br />

non-equity partners’ income is reflected<br />

as employment income on a T4. By contrast,<br />

equity partners earn partnership income as<br />

reflected on a T5013. A common misconception<br />

is that equity partners are taxed on their<br />

draws. This is not true. They are taxed on the<br />

portion of net revenue of the partnership that<br />

is attributable to them based on the partnership<br />

agreement. This means that equity partners<br />

may have to pay tax on income attribut-<br />

ed to them, even if it is more than has already<br />

been distributed to them.<br />

As part of becoming a partner, one of the<br />

big decisions that you will need to make at<br />

some point is whether to practice through a<br />

professional corporation. If you are a partner<br />

without a professional corporation, then<br />

you will be a self-employed individual for tax<br />

purposes. You will receive the partnership income<br />

distributions directly, without any tax<br />

deductions. As such, you will need to carefully<br />

ensure that you set aside roughly 35% - 45%<br />

of what you receive to satisfy the eventual tax<br />

bill.<br />

If you practice through a professional corporation,<br />

then you will be employed by your<br />

professional corporation. Your professional<br />

corporation will receive the partnership income<br />

distributions, without any tax deductions.<br />

Your professional corporation will then<br />

pay you a salary, bonuses, and/or dividends.<br />

When your professional corporation pays you<br />

a salary or bonuses, your professional corpo-<br />

ration will need to promptly remit payroll taxes<br />

and CPP. Both you and your professional<br />

corporation will need to file a tax return.<br />

With a professional corporation, there are<br />

more options to achieve tax efficiencies. However,<br />

if you plan on paying yourself every cent<br />

that your professional corporation receives,<br />

there is likely no advantage with having a professional<br />

corporation. Whether you should be<br />

a partner through a professional corporation<br />

is a complicated question that you should discuss<br />

with your accountant.<br />

What Will be Expected of Me as a Partner?<br />

Some of the things that made you a successful<br />

associate and valuable member of the firm<br />

will continue to serve you well as a partner.<br />

However, there will also be new expectations<br />

that measure success and value as a partner.<br />

As a partner, you now sit at the table where<br />

a plethora of decision-making responsibilities<br />

ultimately rest – from who to hire, to what IT<br />

expenses should be incurred, to how to handle<br />

a tax reporting issue, to how to deal with<br />

a low-performing associate, to what the marketing<br />

budget will be, to how to address allegations<br />

of inappropriate conduct, etc. How<br />

these responsibilities are divided and handled,<br />

will vary firm-by-firm. At some firms, responsibilities<br />

will be given to committees or<br />

department leaders. At other firms, there is a<br />

collaborative and flexible approach to who is<br />

doing what. Whatever the structure, you can<br />

prove yourself as a valued partner by taking<br />

on partner-level responsibilities where appropriate.<br />

Before launching into a suggestion<br />

at the partners’ table, take the time to first<br />

understand the background of the priorities<br />

and initiatives that are already in the planning<br />

stages, or that have been attempted without<br />

success before. And also keep in mind – a firm<br />

can only take on so many initiatives in a year.<br />

Is this the initiative you want to champion or<br />

are there more important things you will want<br />

to speak to?<br />

No matter how the partnership responsibilities<br />

are divided at your firm, as a partner,<br />

you will be expected to bring in business<br />

not only for yourself but for other lawyers in<br />

your group, and you will be expected to play<br />

a role in ensuring that the associates are successful.<br />

This includes ensuring that work is<br />

properly delegated to associates, that associates<br />

receive support and mentorship, that<br />

performance issues are addressed, and that<br />

succession planning is addressed. When you<br />

are at the top of the ladder, the expectation is<br />

that you will help those beneath you climb up<br />

as well. All of these additional responsibilities<br />

will take time away from your billing practice,<br />

which could affect your attributable income<br />

and draw size.<br />

Given the above, don’t jump into a partnership:<br />

take the time to understand what it will<br />

mean for you and evaluate whether it is right<br />

for you.<br />

26 27


Reflection on Four Terms of<br />

<strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong><br />

Tamara Ramsey (she/her), Dale & Lessmann LLP<br />

After four terms as part of the editorial team<br />

and three terms as Editor, this is my last issue<br />

of <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong>. I am graduating from the<br />

10+ Standing Committee having practiced law<br />

for twenty years, and now it is time to pass<br />

the torch. 1 It has been a tremendous privilege<br />

working on <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong>, and I want to<br />

take some space on these pages to reflect on<br />

the last four years and the contribution that I<br />

hope <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong> has made to 10+, TAS<br />

and the profession.<br />

The mandate for <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong> is to feature<br />

content by and for mid-career advocates.<br />

Our content reflects the lessons learned from<br />

having practiced for more than ten years, with<br />

the optimism of advocates who intend to keep<br />

practicing for at least another 10-20 years. Our<br />

mission, which informs our editorial and writing<br />

choices, is to curate a vision for the profession,<br />

and particularly for our 10+ demographic, as we<br />

want it to be.<br />

Representation matters. This is a recurring<br />

theme that permeates through every issue in<br />

the last four terms. Representation not just in<br />

sourcing members to participate in interviews,<br />

roundtables, event reports and other pieces<br />

but also in the topics we write about. We cover<br />

difficult topics like anti-black racism, microaggressions,<br />

allyship with LGBTQ2S+ advocates,<br />

judicial bias, sexism, cultural competency, and<br />

advancing reconciliation. We highlight and amplify<br />

the work that TAS and 10+ are doing to address<br />

these complex topics.<br />

Representation matters to me. It’s a message<br />

that strikes close to home: I am a white woman,<br />

my spouse is Asian, and our family is mixed<br />

and blended. The work we are doing today to<br />

address racism, unconscious bias and microaggressions<br />

is important not just for advocates<br />

practicing today but also for my children in the<br />

future. My children may have many privileges<br />

but none of those privileges will matter if they<br />

are denied opportunities because of their part-<br />

Asian ancestry. More importantly, they will face<br />

immediate barriers to entry and challenges to<br />

their self-esteem and sense of belonging if they<br />

do not see themselves reflected in the professions<br />

that they ultimately choose for themselves.<br />

I am proud of the work we have done at<br />

<strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong> to advance the cause of representation,<br />

and of diversity and inclusion more<br />

broadly, for the betterment of the profession at<br />

large, and hopefully, for my own children one<br />

day.<br />

While our work tackles weighty subjects, it<br />

has not been all doom and gloom. For every<br />

heavy piece, we also offer up some practical<br />

tips focussed on solutions, and we inject levity<br />

and humour in every issue. I am always happy<br />

to pen something on the lighter side and to<br />

have advocates from across the country answer<br />

interview questions about their favourite song,<br />

how they commute to their office and other fun<br />

stuff. Our curated vision of the profession reminds<br />

us not to take ourselves too seriously.<br />

On that note, I thought I would end by sharing<br />

28 29

esponses to a few of the questions we ask<br />

when interviewing advocates:<br />

My favourite song: Blue by Joni Mitchell.<br />

My most unusual job: I taught ballet and creative<br />

dance many years ago and then during<br />

the pandemic shared my personal blend of<br />

Yoga and Pilates with friends and family via<br />

Zoom.<br />

My most embarrassing moment as a litigator:<br />

The judge made it clear that they were not<br />

with me, so I threw myself at the mercy of the<br />

Court asking the judge not to punish my clients<br />

for my failures. I had seen someone do this effectively<br />

in Court a few weeks earlier, but it did<br />

not work for me. I have regretted it ever since<br />

and I have never done it again.<br />

The last book I read: The Sleeping Car Porter<br />

by Suzette Mayr.<br />

A food I cannot stand: Pineapple. Never have,<br />

never will. Eww.<br />

My best advice for young litigators just<br />

starting out: If you have something important<br />

to say, take a deep breath, say it, and make<br />

sure people hear you saying it. If it does not<br />

work the first time, try again, and again…<br />

Notes<br />

1. Congratulations to Megan Keenberg who will be transitioning from Deputy Editor to Editor for the next term.<br />

Where will you practise this summer? Lakeside dock? Sunny balcony? Backyard<br />

oasis? Or somewhere further abroad? Share your #MySummerOffice photos<br />

on Twitter and tag @Advocates_Soc or email to mail@advocates.ca and you<br />

may be featured in the Summer issue of <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong>!<br />

30 31


April 20, <strong>2023</strong> | The Hudson, Calgary, AB<br />

Full house at the Hudson!<br />

Cheers to Alberta advocacy!<br />

Master of Ceremonies Tamara Prince, Cassels Brock & Blackwell<br />

LLP and Sue Remmer, McLennan Ross LLP, recipient of The<br />

Alberta Excellence in Mentoring Award<br />

After Party at the Annual Alberta Gala<br />

Enjoyable moments captured in<br />

the photobooth!<br />

Sue Remmer, McLennan Ross LLP, recipient<br />

of The Alberta Excellence in Mentoring<br />

Award with TAS President Peter W.<br />

Kryworuk, Lerners LLP<br />

Marie T. Henein, LSM, Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP,<br />

delivering the keynote address<br />

32 33

34<br />


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