|For immediate release||December 8, 2011|
Law Society approves development of program to help women lawyers
Vancouver – The Law Society has approved a plan for 2012 to bring a program to BC aimed at retaining and advancing women lawyers. The program is called Justicia, which means justice in Latin.
“Keeping women lawyers in the profession is a key objective for the Law Society,” said Law Society President Gavin Hume, QC. “As the regulator, it’s our job to ensure the public interest is met, and we believe people are best served by a legal profession that is representative of the public. That is not the case now.”
Women make up less than 36% of practising lawyers in BC. In addition, the Law Society is concerned that women are leaving the profession disproportionately. The Society tracked new women lawyers between 2003 and 2008 and found fully one third left the profession in that time period, compared with 20% of their male counterparts.
“This issue exists throughout the world and there is no easy fix, but,” clarified Hume, “the Law Society is committed to effecting change and Justicia is the latest step we’re taking.”
The Justicia Project was first launched by Ontario’s Law Society in 2008 and has brought together more than 50 firms committed to sharing best practices, developing resources and adopting programs to support women lawyers. BC’s project has similar aims. The expected outcome in this province for 2012 is to have a number of firms collectively consider initiatives aimed at retaining and advancing women in private practice.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
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