cover photo of business caseSignificant interest in business case for retaining women in private practice

The Law Society’s Business Case for Retaining and Advancing Women Lawyers in Private Practice, prepared by the Retention of Women in Law Task Force,hasgarnered significant interest from both the public and the profession. Since its release in July 2009, staff and task force members have been speaking to both mainstream and legal media outlets about the importance of retaining women in the profession.

The Law Society has also been promoting the business case to various legal organizations, with task force members speaking to a legal professional development network, managing partners, groups of lawyers in firms and CBA sections.

The business case explains the competitive advantages that law firms can realize by retaining women lawyers. It also includes resources and best practices for firms to use to create solutions that work for them. While some women leave private practice because of family and parenting responsibilities, research shows that women also leave when they face unintentional obstacles to advancement, such as lack of access to networks and business development opportunities, and lack of mentors. Firms have the opportunity to develop strategies to overcome these obstacles and retain and advance women lawyers, which is good for the public, good for the profession and good for business.

If you are interested in hosting a business case presentation at your firm or event, email To download the business case (PDF), go to “Publications & Forms / Committee & Task Force Reports” at

Berge receives CBA Women Lawyers Forum award

Kathryn Berge, QC, Carole Taylor, OC and Brenda Edwards    

The CBABC Women Lawyers Forum Award of Excellence was presented at the WLF awards luncheon on November 17, 2009. Pictured left to right: Kathryn Berge, QC, Carole Taylor, OC and fellow award recipient Brenda Edwards.


Kathryn Berge, QC, Chair of the Retention of Women in Law Task Force, received the CBABC Women Lawyers Forum Award of Excellence, in recognition of her distinguished career and outstanding contributions to women in the legal profession as a change agent, leader and mentor. The award was presented at the WLF awards luncheon on November 17, 2009.

In accepting the award, Berge acknowledged the contributions of CBA staff, Law Society staff and Benchers, lawyers and staff at her firm, other colleagues and her family.

“Beyond this, this award has caused me to reflect upon the fundamental reason that this concept of working towards equality is so powerful for me — for us. I believe that it is because equal treatment and opportunity is the necessary precondition to effective service to others; service both to our clients and to society at large. With few exceptions, this desire for service to others is the reason that we go into law and it is the engine that keeps us working at the many challenging tasks that preoccupy us in such an engrossing way,” she said.

The Award, first presented in 2008, celebrates the accomplishments of a woman who has succeeded in breaking new ground for women in the legal profession in BC. It recognizes “an exceptional woman who has taken risks, fostered change and ultimately opened doors for women lawyers.”