Lawyers &
Judges

We feel strongly that the site should remain completely FREE for everyone! There are, however, substantial costs involved with maintaining a site of this size and popularity! If you have used our services and enjoyed your time spent at Famous Canadian Women , please consider donating to this very important project! Thank you very much!!!

Back to Catagories
Lawyers & Judges         
Rosalie Silberman Abella. Born July 1, 1946 She completed her education as a lawyer, a career that would see her appointed as a Justice, Ontario Court of Appeal and later a Justice on the Supreme Court of Canada. A Human Rights activist, she was also the Commissioner of the Royal Commission on Equity in Employment.
 
Louise Arbour Born Montreal, Quebec February 10, 1947. She received her B.A. and her Law degree from McGill University and was admitted to the Bar in Ontario in 1977. She began her career as a research officer for the Law Reform Commission and was a professor and Associate Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School from 1974-1987. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario in 1987 and the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 1990. She served as president of a commission of Inquiry to investigate and report on the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario  and in 1996 she was Chief Prosecutor of the War Crimes before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia. In 1999 she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2004 she was appointed to the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. May 18, 2011 she won the Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award  from the College of Management and Economics which recognizes exemplary and dedicated Canadian leaders whose careers have included ground breaking, socially significant pursuits.  Sources: Guelph Alumnus Fall 2011.
 
Constance Backhouse Born February 19, 1952. Constance earned her undergraduate BA from the University of Manitoba and followed up with a Law Degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University Toronto, Ontario. She has taught law at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario and Ottawa University. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Claire L’Heureux-Dube Fund for Social Justice and a member of the Women’s Education and Research Foundation. In 1981 she received the Augusta Stowe-Gullen Medal for her feminist activist work. In 1992 she was awarded the Willard Hurst Prize in legal history and in 1993 she received the Gustavus Myers Award for her books about human rights. In 1999 she earned the Bora Laskin Human Rights Fellowship. In 2002 she was the recipient of the Joseph Brant Award for multicultural history. In 2004 he was made a fellow in the Royal Society of Canada. In 2006 she received the Raymond Hnatyshyn Award from the Canadian Bar Association, the Trudeau Fellowship and the Jules and Gabrielle Leger Fellowship. In 2008 she was inducted into the Order of Canada and was also awarded the Killam Prize in Social sciences. In 2010 she was founding co-editor of the Feminist History Society, was inducted into the Order of Ontario and received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the persons Case. She has authored numerous legal and academic articles and published books on legal history and feminism.
 
Annie Baker (née Epstein) Born 1908. Died 2005. Annie studied law and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1929. Annie may have bee the 1t Jewish woman called to the Bar in Ontario. Source Diversifying the Bar: Lawyers make history. Online Accessed May 2013.
 
Aileen Isabel Bicknell

(née Silk) Born 1896. Died 1943. Aileen studied for her B.A. at the University of Toronto and then attended Law School. In 1919 she was the 14th woman called to the Ontario Bar. She practiced a couple of years in Toronto and then married James Bicknell in 1923. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 

Janet Lang Boland Born 1923 Kitchener, Ontario. She graduated from Laurier University with her B.A. in 1946. She studied at Osgoode Law School and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1950. She married Dr. Taylor Statton and the couple have three children. At the time, few women studied and practiced law. However while bringing up her family she had a success law practice and was the second woman to become a judge when she was appointed judge to the County Court in 1972. In 1976 she was appointed to the Ontario Supreme Court in 1976. Following revolutionary family law legislation, Boland attended Judicial College in Nevada to study American procedures. Intrigued with a new concept of joint custody, she introduced the principle in the first Canadian decision regarding the matter, in Baker v Baker. The Ontario Appeal Court found “no such status” but fortunately the Ontario legislature quickly jumped in and recognized the principle, breaking legal ground in Canada and helping to establish the principle of joint custody around the world. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.: Who’s Who of Canadian Women 1999-2999.
 
Marjorie Bowker

Born Prince Edward Island 1906, Alberta. Died August  2006. She graduated from the University of Alberta in 1939 and began her legal career. In 1966 she was appointed Alberta’s first woman family Court judge, a position she worked hard at for almost 20 years. Married and with a family of three children herself she had a strong sense of family.  A staunch defender of the rights of women prisoners she was paramount in the establishment of the Edmonton Institution for Women which was set up after the decision to close the notorious Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario. The Free Trade Debate of 1988 caught her full attention and she created a 60 page document criticism of the agreement itself. The published book became a best seller. The retired judge saw a chance to be a catalyst in this national dialogue and she took her ideas to the readers. She and her husband Wilber, former Dean of the Law School, University of Alberta, were inducted into the Order of Canada in 1990.  In 1995 she was honoured as one of seven pioneer women judges of Canada by the Canadian Judicial Council. Source: Marjorie Bowker, 90, judge, best selling author. Toronto Star, September 5, 2006.
 

Claudia Myrna Bowman Born May 18, 1932. Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died  March 25, 2004 Winnipeg, Manitoba. Educated in Winnipeg schools she worked initially as a secretary. In 1955 she married David E. Bowman, after which she attended university, first in Arts and later in Law, called to the Manitoba Bar in March 1966. From 1968 to 1983, she was in partnership with her husband in the firm of Bowman and Bowman. She was an active member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Manitoba Bar Association. In 1969 she chaired the Manitoba Censorship Review Board and, from 1978 to 1983, served as an Elected Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba. 1971 - 1977 she was appointed a part-time Provincial Judge, and also acted as a member of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission. 1976 - 1983 she served as an Executive Member of the Manitoba Trial Lawyers Association. In 1978 a consultant to the Government of Manitoba - Family Law Review Committee, which lead to enrollment of a new Family Maintenance and Marital Property Act. She also lectured in Family Law for the Bar Admission Course of the Law Society of Manitoba. In 1981 she was appointed Queens Counsel and, in October 1983, a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench, where she served in the Family Division from 1984 until her death. In addition to her professional activities, she served at various times as board member or chair for the Unitarian Church of Winnipeg, Parents Without Partners, Advisory Board of YWCA of Winnipeg, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, Skills Unlimited, and the Canada Pension Plan Advisory Committee. Debilitated by the effects of Parkinson’s disease, she elected to end her own life. Sources: Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 27 March 2004; Memorable Manitobans. Profile by Gordon Goldsborough (accessed December 2011)
 
Jean Cairnes Born 1886. Died 1982. She studied law and was the 5th woman to be called to the bar in Ontario in 1913. She married Mr. Philip Reginald Morris in 1917. She was the 1st woman member of the Hamilton (Ontario) Law Association. She practiced with her husband in Hamilton and later she was joined in the family firm by her daughter Alma Malcolm in 1959. Her grandson Alexander C. Malcolm carries on the family law firm.  Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 
Louise V. Charron

Born on March 2, 1951, Sturgen Falls, Ontario. She received a B.A. from Carleton University in 1972 and an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa in 1975. Called to the Ontario Bar in 1977, she practiced law with the firm of Lalonde & Chartrand from 1977 to 1980, mostly in civil and criminal litigation. She served as Assistant Crown Attorney for the Judicial District of Ottawa-Carleton from 1978 to 1988. She was a lecturer in the French common law section of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law from 1978 to 1985, and was an Assistant Professor, until 1988. She was appointed a District Court Judge and Local Judge of the High Court of Ontario in Ottawa in 1988 and Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) in 1990. She was Associate Director of the National Judicial Institute from 1994 to 1996 and was appointed Judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1995 and Deputy Judge of the Nunavut Court of Justice from 1999 to 2004. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on August 30, 2004. She was elected to honorary fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2007. Justice Charron retired on August 30, 2011. She is married to William Blake and has one child,  and two step-sons. Sources: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online ; Supreme Court of Canada  online. Accessed January 2013.
 

Meeriae Cho Born 1951 Busan, South Korea. She graduated Ewha Women’s University in Korea majoring in English. She worked in human rights and as a reporter for the Korean Times before deciding to immigrate to Canada. She co-founded Korean Canadian Women’s Association and the Canadian Coalition for Comfort Women Redress. She was a teacher in Toronto and worked with the Toronto Labour Education Centre, the Refugee Board, Ottawa when she decided that she would study Law at the University of Ottawa. She was called to the Bar in Ontario in 2002 and practices law in Toronto. In 2006 she was vice President of the Korean Canadian Cultural Association of Metropolitan Toronto. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.
 
Olga Chumak Born, Toronto, Ontario 1919. Died 2003. She studied law and was called to the bar in Ontario in 1944 becoming the 1st woman lawyer of Ukrainian heritage in the province. In 1946 she married Doctor Martin Chepesiuk but did not give up her law practice. All her live she was an active advocate for Ukrainian culture and traditions. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers makin history. Biographies of Early Exceptional Ontario Lawyers. Online Accessed January 2013.
 
Mabel Priscilla Penery French Clay née French. Born 1881. Died January 13 1955, Jersey Islands, United Kingdom. Mabel graduated in 1905 from the University of King’s College Law School in Saint John, New Brunswick but she was refused admittance to the bar by the provincial Barrister’s Society. The Society asked for the opinion of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick on whether a woman was a “person”, for only “persons” could be admitted to the bar. 5 of the Supreme Court judges ruled that Mabel French was not a person, while one abstained. In March 1906, just 4 months after the ruling, the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick passed a law that allowed women to study law and to be admitted to the bar. Mabel French was admitted to the bar a month later, becoming the 1st female lawyer accepted to the New Brunswick bar. Resettling to live in British Columbia in 1910 she became the 1st woman called to the Bar in British Columbia April1, 1912.  She later moved to England where she married Hugh T. Clay Osgoode Law School, Toronto, offers the Mabel Penery French Prize to the student with the highest standing in Law, Gender and Equality and the University of New Brunswick offers Mabel French Scholarship as an entrance award annually.  Source: New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Celebrating Achievers; Behind Every Successful Woman Are All the Women Who Came Before Her., September 2002. Online (accessed January 2016)
 
Timima Mamie Littner Cohn Born 1907 Montreal, Quebec. Died 1989.Her father believed so much in women’s rights that he had marched in a suffragist parade in Toronto. After graduating from the University of Toronto and then Osgoode Law School she was called to the bar in Ontario in 1932. She stopped practicing law when she was married and had children to raise. She would live most of her life in the U.S.A. where she actively promoted environmental issues and the rights of women. She offered her services at free legal clinics giving talks on women’s rights and writing a handbook of legal rights for women in Florida in 1976. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 
Laura Duff (née Denton) Born 1891.  Laura studied law at university and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1920.She was a co-founder of the Women’s Law Association and organized its 1st meeting in 1919 at her father’s law offices. She  and her brother Frank Duff carried on their father’s practice after his death. She Married George Duff and the couple had one son. She served as an elected member of the Senate of Victoria College, University of Toronto for many years. Source: Diversifying the Bar; lawyers making history. Online Accessed May 2013.
 
Edra Isles Saunders Ferguson

(née Saunders) Born 1907, St Thomas, Ontario. Died November 15, 2011, Toronto, Ontario. She did her undergraduate studies at Alma College and then attended law school in the 1920’s and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1930. She joined her father’s law firm of Saunders & Ingrham. In 1936  she was elected as the town’s 1st woman alderman but In December 1937 she ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of St Thomas. She married Donald Harvey Ferguson and the couple had two children. She was the 1st woman judge to be named to the Small Claims Court when it was established. From 1940-1943 she National Council of Women of Canada leading the National Convention on laws concerning woman and children. Also in the 1940’s she initiated a Red Cross Clinic in Guelph, Ontario. She became the 1st woman president of the St Thomas Children’s Aid Society and the 1st woman appointed to the Senate of the University of Western Ontario. Many Toronto Lawyers new her affectionately as Ma Ferguson. In 2002 she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and in 2011 she was inducted into the Order of Canada, for her achievements in law, politics and her advocacy of women’s rights.  The University of Victoria offers the Edra Saunders Ferguson Scholarship in her honour Sources: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013. Obituary, St Thomas Times Journal November 2011.
 

Frances Lillian Fish Born December 1888, Newcastle, New Brunswick. Died 1975. She studied at the University of New Brunswick and earned her B.A. in 1910. At school she enjoyed an active life that included basketball and ice hockey. She obtained her teaching license teaching 1911/12 in Winnipeg where she did not enjoy good health. She retuned to New Brunswick teaching for another three years. During this time she also earned in 1913 her M.A. from the University of Chicago. She thought of doing a PhD but did not complete the program. On September 10, 1918 she was the 1st woman to graduate Dalhousie University with a Law Degree. And she was the first woman called to the Bar in Nova Scotia. She was the 7th woman in Canada to become a lawyer. Shortly after graduation she left the Maritimes working as a paralegal in Ottawa and later in Montreal. In February 1934 she was called to the Bar in her home province of New Brunswick and in June of that year she became the 1st woman to argue a case before the appeal Division of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick. New Brunswick woman were legislated the right to vote in 1919 but they were not allowed to run for a seat in the Legislature until 1934. The following year Frances Fish was the 1st woman to be elected to the New Brunswick Legislature. In 1947 she was New Brunswick’s 1st female County Deputy Magistrate.  Sources: New Brunswick Women’s History Accessed 2012. “Everyone called her Frank…” by Barry Cahill, Journal of New Brunswick Studies Vol. 2 2011 Online accessed June 2013.
 
Mabel Priscilla Penery French

Born 1881. Died 1955. After graduating with distinction in law from King’s College in 1905 she petitioned to be admitted to the Bar in New Brunswick. She was originally denied because she was not , according to definition, a “person”. Applying pressure in various ways she became the 1st woman lawyer in New Brunswick. In 1907 New Brunswick passed a statute to permit women to be admitted to the legal profession. By 1910 Mabel had resettled in British Columbia and was again applying for admittance to the Bar. Once again the provincial law association declared that she was not a “Person” and therefore could not be admitted to the Bar in the province of British Columbia. Once again pressure was applied, mainly from womens groups in the province ane in February Attorney –General William Bowser bowed to pressure and introduced An Act to Remove the Disability of Women So Far as Relates to the Study and Practice of Law. The Act passed with unanimous support in the provincial Legislature. Mabel French became the 1st woman lawyer admitted to the Bar in British Columbia. Source: Women Lawyers in British Columbia by W. Wesley Pue. Online (Accessed March 2014)
 

Louise Frechette the first Canadian woman ambassador to the United Nations 1991.
Constance Garner-Short Born 1910, Montreal, Quebec. Died 1959. She attended McGill University, Montreal and obtained a law degree in 1934. As women were still not called to the Bar in the province of Quebec at this time she sought work as best she could. She worked for the Portuguese Consulate and at the beginning of World War ll she joined the Red Cross Transportation Service as a driver. On January 10, 1942 she was one of 4 women she were the first called to the Bar in Quebec. The other women were Elizabeth Monk (1898-1980), Suzanne Raymond Filion and Marcelle Hémond-Lacoste. Constance was in 1947 the 1st woman to appear in the Quebec Court of Appeals. Source: The History of McMaster, Meighen (Law firm) by Doug Metchell and Judy Slinm. McGill-Queen’s Press 1989.
 
Paule Gauthier Born Joliette, Quebec November 3, 1943. She studied for her law degree at Laval University in Quebec City in 1969. A senior partner in the law firm of Desjardins Ducharme Stein Monast and she specializes in corporate and commercial law. In 1984 she was appointed to the Security Intelligence Review Committee which overseas the Canadian Intelligence Security Service (CSIS). She was appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada in accordance with the Official Secrets Act. She served as chair of SIR from 1996-2005. She has served on numerous corporate and government boards an was the first woman to become president of the Canadian Bar Association (1992--93) In 1990 she was made and Officer of the Order of Canada and in 2001 she was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.
 
Linda Marie Giesbrecht Born July 25, 1952, Altona, Manitoba. Died May 17, 2013, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In May 1976 she graduated from law at the University of Manitoba and was called to the Bar in that province in 1977. She served as Crown Attorney in Winnipeg and then in Dauphin, Manitoba until 1981. After a year of travel she returned to the position of Crown Attorney in Portage La Prairie. In March 1988 she was appointed to the bench and served as a judge until she retired in 2010. Although offered promotions she preferred to serve as a judge and work for the people. She was the 1st female President of the Manitoba Provincial Judges Association, 2000-2002. While she never married she remained close to family and loved her role as “auntie” to 16 nieces and nephews. The Women’s Lawyer Forum of the Canadian Bar Association celebrated her lifetime contributions to their profession. Source: Lives Lived by Mary Kate Harvie, The Globe and Mail, October 23, 2013. Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
 
Constance R. Glube née Lepofky Born Ottawa, Ontario November 23, 1931. Died February 15, 2016 Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1952 she earned her BA at McGill University, Montreal and married Richard Glube. The couple would have 4 children. By 1955 she had graduated in law at Dalhousie University and entered the Bar of Nova Scotia. In 1974 she became the Manager of the City of Halifax, the 1st  woman in Canada to hold such a position. In 1977 she received the Award of Merit from a grateful City of Halifax. September 21, 1977.  She was appointed on March 8,  1982  21st Chief Justice of Nova Scotia and 1st woman to hold the position. In 1998 Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia, once again being the 1st woman in Canada to be appointed to such a position retiring in 2004. She is a judicial leader and mentor who has the admiration and respect of her peers. She has been active in judicial education and court administration. She has graciously served on various and numerous professional and volunteer boards and committees at local, provincial and national levels. Accolades for her services have included: The Canada 125 Medal, 1992; the Frances Fish Award, a women lawyers Achievement Award, 1997; The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award, 2002; the International Honours Society Golden Key Award, 2003; numerous honorary doctorate degrees from universities; Honourary member of the Canadian Bar Association, 2004; the Order of Nova Scotia 2005 and the Order of Canada , 2006. Suggested sources: Protocol Office, Order of Nova Scotia Recipients Http://www.gov.ns.ca/frot/2005recipients.htm (Accessed August 2008; Canadian Who’s Who. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.
 
Ruth Gorman Born Calgary, Alberta February 14, 1914. Died December 10, 2002. She studied law and was called to the bar in 1940. Throughout her professional legal life she willing provided volunteer services for aboriginal issues, the disabled and others who were in need. She also had an interest in publishing and became publisher and editor of the Golden West Magazine. She has been Calgary's Woman of the Year (1960), Citizen of the Year (1961) and was awarded the Alberta Woman of the Century Medal the same year, 1968 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Along with the 1988 Legal Humanities Award she received the 1991 Lifetime Achievement Award form the Calgary Access Awareness. She was also extremely proud to have been awarded the title of Queen Mother of the Cree and Princess of the Stony Indian Tribe of Alberta.
 
Gretta Wong Grant Born July 31, 1921 London, Ontario. She was raised in London Ontario where her family were the only Chinese people in town. Her father believed that all his children, both boys and girls should get an education and study for the professions. Gretta argued with family members when she was young and they teased her saying that she should become a lawyer. Gretta earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario before attending Osgoode Law School. She was call to the bar in Ontario without knowing nor really caring that she was the 1st Chinese Canadian woman to practice Law. Despite the discrimination against the Chinese in Toronto she was able to complete her articling at McCarthy and McCarthy where she reported to a family acquaintance Leighton McCarthy. December 9, 1950 she married a fellow lawyer James Alan R. Grant and the couple would have four children. Both families accepted the interracial marriage with little question. Gretta stayed at home much of the 1950’s raising her children but she maintained her membership in the Low Society of Upper Canada. She also kept up to date by working with her husband when he brought work home. Late in the 1950’s she took a job as a City Solicitor in London. In the 1960’s she founded the Middlesex [county] Women’s Law Association. From 1967 through 1988 she worked in London’s first Legal Aid Office. She did spend one year away from London working as the Area Director of the York County Legal Aid Society. She was the 1st woman trustee of the Middlesex Law Association and served as president in 1981. After retirement she served as director of the London office of the Chinese – Canadian Council. In 1989 she was working with the City of London Race Relations Advisory Committee. Sources: Crossing the Bar :an exhibition of the Law Society of Upper Canada Museum, 1993. Online Accessed January 2013; Gretta Wong Grant, Canada’s first Chinese-Canadian female Lawyer by Constance Backhouse. Online Accessed January 2013.; Road to Justice: the legal struggle for equal rights for Chinese Canadians. Online Accessed January 2013.
 
Helen Grossman

Born 1905? , Zitomar, Russia. Died 1988. She studied law and was called to the bar in Ontario in 1929. She was one of the early Jewish women lawyers. In 1930, she began a career with the Agricultural Development Board of Ontario. She became a Queen’s Council and the Helen Grossman QC Prize at Osgoode Hall is given each year to the student in the Community and Legal Aid Services Program. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 

Susan Mabel Hare Born 1952. She studied Law after she graduated from University and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1995. As a student at Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, she helped to establish the Intensive Program in First Nations Lands, Resources and Governance in 1993. She is Ojibwa, of the M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, and is one of the 1st aboriginal lawyers in Ontario. She has worked as an adjudicator in the Grandview School for Girls Settlement and in the Indian Residential Schools adjudication. She was elected a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2007. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 
Marcelle Hémond-Lacoste Born 1877? On January 10 1942 she was one of 4 women who were the 1st women admitted to the Bar in the Province of Quebec. In 1966 she retired after 60 years as President of the Sante-Justine Hospital, Montreal. She was 89 years old when she retired.
 
Alpha Isabella Hodgins

Born November 24, 1892, Lucan, Ontario. Died December 21, 1983. She studied law and was the 1st Ontario woman law student to earn a top class mark for commercial law. She practiced law in Bowmansville and Toronto working mainly in the area of wills and insurance trust agreements for insurance agencies. Later in her career she worked in mining law. She was an active member of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario and served as President from 1933-1935. She was the 1st woman president of the Northumberland Law association. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives Blog, accessed March 2013.
 

Margaret Paton Hyndman

Born 1901 or 1902 Palmerston, Ontario. Died January 18, 1991. She studied law at Osgoode Law School, Toronto and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1926. In 1936 she was made a King’s Council, the first Toronto woman to be appointed and the second women in the British Empire to be appointed to this position. During World War ll she helped establish free legal services for service man and women and their descendants. She served the Free France Movement during the war for which she was awarded a citation from Charles de Gaulle and in July 1959 she received a silver medal from the City of Paris. She fought for women to have the right to serve on juries. She was a member who served as president from 1956-1959 of the Toronto Business and Professional Women’s Club and a founder of the Canadian Association of Consumers of which she served as president from 1946-1948. She was also president of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women which boasted of 300,00 members in 44 different countries. In 1967 she was a recipient for the Canadian Centennial Medal. In 1988 she was the recipient of the Governor General’s Persons Case Award and was inducted into the Order of Canada. Sources: Toronto Business and Professional Club, website accessed March 1913. ; Margaret Hyndman, lawyer: no warm welcome 50 years ago, Ottawa Citizen June 13, 1976.
 

Roberta Jamieson

Roberta Louise Jamieson Born 1953. Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Ontario. A Mohawk and member of the Bear Clan, as a youth she loved to read because even then she knew that education was important. At first, she wanted to be a medical doctor and even enrolled in medical school at McGill University, Montreal. She quickly became intrigued with politics and decided that to solve issued for her people she should attend law school at the University of Western Ontario, London. Graduating in 1976 she was the first aboriginal woman to become a lawyer in Canada! She was named to head the first Ontario Indian Commission and in 1982 she was the first non-parliamentarian to join a House of Commons Committee, the Special Task Force on Indian Self Government. December 1986 she began a ten year position as Ontario Ombudsman, the first woman and the first aboriginal person to hold this post. Roberta was elected Chief of Six Nations of the Grand River in November 2001, again the first woman to hold this post. She also ran in 2003 for National Chief but was defeated by Phil Fontaine. She has over the years also participated on several boards and committees at various local, provincial and national levels. She is the founding chair of the Imagine Native , an international media arts festival showcasing work of world indigenous artists. Married with one daughter she is also proud to be a grandmother. Life has brought her many awards for her achievements to date, including multiple honorary doctorate, a membership in the Order of Canada, 1994 and the National Aboriginal Award in 1998.  Source: Roberta Jamieson: Chief Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Contemporary Canadian Biographies. Thompson Gale, August 2003. (Accessed online June 2008.)
 

Andromache Karakatsanis Born 1955, Toronto, Ontario. She attended Victoria College at the University of Toronto, earning her B.A. in 1977. She continued her studies in Law at Osgoode Law School, York University, Toronto and was called to the Bar in Ontario in1982. She joined the Ontario Public Service in 1987 and served as the Chair of the Liquor License Board of Ontario from 1988 through 1995. She married fellow lawyer Tom Karvanis and the couple have 2 children. From 1995 to 1997 she was Secretary of the Ontario Native Affairs. In 1996 she received the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators Medal for outstanding Service and in 1997 she became Deputy Attorney General for the province. In 2002 she was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. In March 2010 she was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal and in October 2011 she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 
Grace Ellen Hewson Knight Born January 4, 1885, Barrie, Ontario. Died December 31, 1974 Woodbridge, Ontario.  She was the daughter of Judge Charles Hewson of Manitoulin Island in the district of Sudbury, Ontario. She studied Law at Osgoode Hall, Toronto .  She was the fourth woman to be called to the bar in Ontario, 1908. In 1912 she married Cyril Workman Knight who was a geologist. She was a member of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario. Like many of the early women lawyers she worked mostly in real estate law where she did not have to appear in court. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online accessed January 2013.
 
Helen Alice Kinnear Born Cayuga, Ontario May 6, 1894. She graduated and was called to the Ontario bar, to become a lawyer, in 1920. She practiced law in Port Colborne, Ontario until 1943, when she was appointed county-court judge for Haldimand County. In 1947 she was appointed judge of the Juvenile Court. She was the first woman in the British Commonwealth to be created a Kings Counsel and the first in the Commonwealth appointed to a county-court bench and the first lawyer in Canada to appear as counsel before the Supreme Court in Canada in 1935. In 1993 the Canadian Post Office issued a commemorative stamp to honour the achievements of this woman Lawyer.
 
Annie Langstaff

Law student
Born 1887, Alexandria, Ontario. Died June 29, 1975, Montreal, Quebec. Her husband deserted her and disappeared leaving her to raise their daughter as a single parent. In 1914-15 she was the 1st woman in Quebec to receive a degree in Law, from McGill University. At this time, by provincial law no woman could engage in professional businesses without the permission from her husband. Since her husband was not around it was not possible for her to apply to be called to the Bar in Quebec. She would continue to push to become a lawyer but it was not until April 29, 1941 that the Bar Act was changed to allow women to the Bar. On January 10, 1942 four women were the 1st to be called to the Bar in Quebec. Annie herself, never was admitted to the Bar. She wrote article on family law for popular women’s journals but never practiced the profession for which she had fought. Sources: McGill women raising the bar by Pascal Zamprelli, McGill Reporter Vol. 39. No. 12, March 1, 2007 : The Canadian Encyclopedia Online accessed June 2013.
 
Mary Elizabeth Laughton

Born 1890 ?. Died, Toronto, Ontario. In 1912 she graduated from the University of Toronto. While studding law she married Harry Laughton, another law student on June 7, 1913. In 1915  Mary was 7th woman called to the Bar in Ontario. She and her husband settled in Toronto and practiced law together. She was a founding member the  Women’s Law Association of Ontario Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 

Laura Legg Born 1923 Courtland, Ontario. Died 2010. She studied law and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1948. In 1966 she was appointed Queen’s Council. In 1975 she was the 1st woman bencher  of the Law Society. In 1983 she was elected the 1st woman Treasurer  of the Law Society. In 1988  she received an honourary Doctor of Laws. That same time the  Laura Legge Award was established to honour other women who exemplify leadership in the profession. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
Frances Emily Lynch Born 1900. Died Windsor, Ontario October 24, 1962. Emily was one of the 1st Roman Catholic women lawyers in Ontario. She was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1925. She worked in her father’s Law firm, Daniel Lynch in Windsor, Ontario. She also was successful in a municipal election and served as an alderman. Unfortunately there is not much more information about her. Even Windsor Public Library does not have a full information file on her. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online;  Obituary,  Windsor Star October 25, 1962. r
 
Helen Gregory MacGill Born Hamilton, Ontario January 7,1864. Died February 27, 1947. She was the first woman to graduate from Trinity College of the University of Toronto. When she settled with her young family in British Columbia she was the first woman of the region to be appointed a judge of the juvenile Court, a post she held for 23 years.
 
Clara Brett Martin. Born Toronto, Ontario circa 1874. Died October 30, 1923. After receiving an honours BA from Trinity College in Toronto in 1888, The Law Society of Upper Canada refused to accept her as a student. Enlisting the help of notable and forceful people of the day, including, Dr Emily Stowe, Ontario Premier Oliver Mowat and Lady Aberdeen, to force legislation that would allow women as barristers. In 1897 she became the first woman lawyer in the British Empire. Even though she was licensed she did not often enter court. Her presence in the court room caused too much of a ruckus. It would not be until the middle of the century that women would be able to comfortably represent their profession in the courts.
 
D. J. McCawley Born February 2, 1954. This lawyer and judge has the title of the Right Honourable Madame Justice. A mother of 7 children she was a nominee for Woman of Distinction Award in 1990. 
Beverly McLachlin

née Gietz. Born September 7, 1943 at Pincher Creek, Alberta. She studied philosophy and law at the University of Alberta where she earned the Gold Medal as top student. She was called to the Bar in 1969 in Alberta and in 1971 in British Columbia. She also taught at the University of British Columbia from1974-1981 and became the 1st woman judge in the B.C. County Court. Beverly was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1981 and became Chief Justice of the province in 1988. Shortly thereafter  in March 1989 she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. She became the 1st woman and 17th Chief Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court on January 7, 2000. She is the official Deputy Governor General. She is also Chairperson of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada and a member of the Privy Council of Canada. She and her husband Roderick had one son. Widowed in 1988, and remarried Frank McCerdle in 1992. She has taken strong stand on free speech and established a reputation for independent thinking.
 

 
Maureen Anne McTeer. Born Ottawa, Ontario February 27, 1952. She obtained her B.A. and married a young lawyer politician, Joe Clark. She would balance her continued education  to become a lawyer with the challenge of having a daughter.  She is an author and journalist. She has her an interest in politics and has served on numerous committees and even ran (unsuccessfully ) for a seat in Parliament. She is also known for her involvement in charity work. She is the National spokesperson for the Osteoporosis Society of Canada.
 
Marion Ironquil Meadmore Born 1936 Peepeekisis First Nation Reserve, Saskatchewan. Like many of her generation she was forced to leave home and attend residential School. In 1954 she married Ronald Hector Meadmore (1933-2013). She attended the University of Manitoba and in 1977 she became the 1st indigenous woman lawyer in Canada. She is the founder of several aboriginal organizations including the Canadian Indian Lawyer Association (Now Indigenous Bar Association), National Indian Brotherhood, the Indian and Métis Friendship Center, the Kinew Housing, and the National Indigenous Council of Elders (NICE). In 1985 She was inducted into the Order of Canada. Since 2011 she has been actively involved on the National Council of Indigenous Elders for the Creation of Wealth Forum. In 2010 she was honoured at the Keeping the Fires Burning aboriginal awards celebrating female leaders for preserving First Nations culture and serving as role models for younger generations.  In 2015 the University of Manitoba presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Source: Don Marks, “What is the Use in Spending so Much Time Studying Failure’ CBC.ca May 14, 2015;  Matt Preprost, “Gala recognizes accomplishments”.  Winnipeg Free Press June 18, 2010 Page A13.
 
Elizabeth Carmichael  Monk Born August 4, 1898, Montreal, Quebec. Died December 26, 1980, Montreal, Quebec. In 1923 she earned a degree in Law from McGill University. She was the 1st woman to win the faculty’s gold medal for academic excellence. Unfortunately at the time she graduated women were not allowed to be called to the Bar in the province of Quebec. She would fight, cajole, and wait almost 20 years before she was called to the Bar. In 1934 she was admitted to the Bar in Nova Scotia but this was not home. On January 10, 1942, Elizabeth was on of four women to be the 1st women called to the Bar in Quebec. The other women were Constance Garner-short (1910-1959), Suzanne Raymond Filion and Marcelle Hémond-Lacoste. Elizabeth practiced corporate  and became the 1st Quebec woman appointed as Queen’s Counsel. She worked with the Montreal Citizen Committee, the Quebec National Federation of University women and Canadian Federation of University Women. In 1991 she was the recipient of the Méite du Barreau. Source: Les pionnières dans le métiers non-traditionnels (copyright 2004 by Sophie Lecerte and Karine Boisverts) Online. Accessed June 2013.
 
Emily Murphy. Born Cookstown, Ontario 1868. Died March 14,1933. Emily was journalist who would write about the adventures of the famous "Janey Canuck" character. She became the first woman in the British Empire to become a Magistrate when she was appointed a police magistrate for Edmonton, Alberta in 1916. She would go on to also be provincial magistrate for Alberta. A supporter of some 20 volunteer organizations she was the first national president of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada. She is also a member of the Famous Five who would be part of the Persons Case in 1929 which would have women declared "persons" in the eye of the law. If you watch the "Historical Moments" which appear on Canadian TV be sure to watch for her story.
 
Clara Muskat née Halperin Born 1912 Toronto, Ontario. Clara studied at the University of Toronto and was only 19 years old when she began to study the law. She was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1935.She was one of the 1st Jewish women layers in Ontario. I her early career when worked with a Jewish lawyer named Onic Brown. Non Jewish firms were not willing to hire a Jewish woman lawyer. She was appointed as Queen’s council. She practiced a solo law practice in Toronto well into her 80’s. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 
Marie E. "Tracey O'Donnell

Born 1966 Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. She studied law and was called to the bar in Ontario in 1995. Tracey is a member of the Red Rock Indian Band, located southeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario. She has focused her career on providing legal services and support to First Nations, Aboriginal organizations and Aboriginal peoples in several areas. She has volunteered on several boards of directors for Aboriginal based organizations> In 2003 she was elected a a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the 1st aboriginal woman ever elected. She has two daughters and a son. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 

Maryka Omatsu Born 1948 Hamilton, Ontario. She studied law and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1977. She practiced law in Toronto in the field of human rights, criminal and immigration law. She has written an award winning book, Bittersweet passage and the Japanese-Canadian experience (Toronto; Between the Lines, 1992). The book tells the story of her community’s and her own family’s experiences of injustice and discrimination during World War ll and of the campaign for redress, in which Maryka played a key role.  In February 1993 she became the 1st East Asian Canadian Judge when she was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 
Sandra Omik

Born Pond Inlet, Nunavut.  In 2002 she was named by Maclean’s Magazine as an outstanding young Canadian to watch. In June 2005 she graduated from Akitsiraq Law School, a unique school set up to teach Inuit lawyers that provided a Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Victoria. A busy mother of two would complete her required articling with Justice Canada. She was the former Chief Commissioner of the Nunavut Law Review Commission which helped her determination to become a lawyer. She began her legal career working with the Nunavut Crown Prosecutor’s Office. Source: Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective.  Herstory 2007: the Canadian Women’s Calendar (Regina: Couteau Books, 2006)  pg. 6..
 

Delia Opekokew Born Canoe Lake First Nation, Alberta. She attended the University of Winnipeg and followed her BA with studies in law. She was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1979 and she was called to the Bar in Saskatchewan in 1983 making her one of the first Aboriginal lawyers to be called to the bar in both provinces.   In 1994 she put her name on the ballot for the leadership of the Assembly of First Nations, the first woman to run for this position. She later pulled out of the race stating that she had proved her point that a woman could be on the ballot thus opening the door for future women candidates. The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation recognized her services with an award in 2009. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 
Helen Beatrice Palen

Born 1865, Ontario. Died 1971, Helen began her working career as a cout reporter in Belleville, Ontario. She studied Law and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1918. She practiced law in Toronto for 10 years before moving to the public Service. In  1923 she was appointed the Deputy Registrar of the Ontario Securities Commission and went on to be the 1st woman Registrar of the Supreme Court of Ontario. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 

Stella Avura Panarites

Born 1924, Cobalt, Ontario Died 1986. Stella earned her B.A. from Queen’s University in 1949. She studied law and was called to the Bar in 1953. She was the 1st woman lawyer of Greek heritage to be called to the Bar in Ontario. She practiced law in Orillia, Midland, Gravenhurst and North Bay, Ontario.  She was a member of the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 

Vera L. Parsons Born 1889. Died 1973. As a teenager she suffered from polio which resulted in her having to walk with a cane for the rest of her life. Vera was not one to let a small handicap keep her in the shadows of life. She earned her B.A. in modern languages from the University of Toronto and went to Bryn Maur in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. where she earned her master’s degree. She was fluent in Italian and attended the University of Rome, Italy but returned to Canada before she completed her doctorate. She worked with Italian immigrants in the Toronto area and soon found that they required more legal help. Vera decided to become a lawyer and after attending Osgoode Law School she was called to the Ontario Bar in 1924. Most women lawyers, and there were not many opted for real estate law but Vera had a keen interest in criminal law. She became the 1st woman to be a criminal defense lawyer in Ontario and the 1st woman layer to appear before a judge and jury in Canada. She became a partner in the law firm of Horkins, Graham and Parsons. In 1944 she became the 3rd woman in Ontario named to King’s Counsel. She was the 1st woman lawyer in Canada to defend an accused client charged with murder. She called for more probation officers to counter repeat offenders and she also pressed for more institutions like trade schools for rehabilitation of prisoners. In the 1930’s her private life allowed her to relax on an island cottage Temogami (formerly Timagami)  in northeastern Ontario. She enjoyed playing the piano , collecting art and travelling as well. She worked well into her 80’s before she retired. The Vera L. Parson Prize for criminal procedure is offered for the Ontario Bar admissions course. Source: Crossing the Bar: an exhibition at the Law Society of Upper Canada Museum 1993. Online accessed January 2013.  
 
Edith Louise Patterson

Born 1891, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died 1980. Edith attend University in Montreal and Toronto and studied law to be called to the Bar in Ontario in 1915. She was one of the few women lawyers in the 1920’s sho appeared in court in civil and divorce cases. In 1929 she was appointed a judge in the juvenile court and became the 1st member of the the Law Society of British Columbia. She married Hamilton Read, her law partner of more than 20 years. She retired in 1970 after more than five decades in her profession. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 

ManJusha R. Pawagi Born 1967, Amravati, Maharashtra, India. Her 1st career was as a writer having studied journalism at Stanford University in the U.S.A. She worked as a reporter for the Associated Press and CBC Radio. She studied law and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1997. She has written a popular children’s book called The Girl Who Hated Books which has been translated into 15 different languages. The book was also the basis for an award winning animated short film by the National Film Board of Canada. In 2009 she was appointed a family court judge in the Ontario Court of Justice, Brampton. She is focused on legal services for children working with the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. She is also active in legal education and in the education working for children’s literacy in India. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.
 
Helen R. Pierce

Born 1953. Helen earned a B.A. degree in social work before she studied law. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 1982. She practiced in Sault Ste Marie from 1982 until 2001. In 2000 she was appointed Regional Senior Judge of the Northwest Region. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Justice at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 2001 and may be the 1st Métis lawyer to become a judge in Ontario. She is active in continuing legal education and in a variety of legal organizations, including the Advocates’ Society, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, The Ontario Association of Superior Court Judges and the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association. She is also the Honorary Colonel of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 

Eva Maude Powley Born 1975, Ontario. In 1902 Eva was the second woman in Ontario to study Law and be called to the bar. She practiced in Port Arthur, Ontario (Now Thunder Bay). In 1908 she was curious about women lawyers in the rest of Canada and found only one, Mabel Penery French who had been admitted to the bar in New Brunswick in 1907. Eva contacted the Law Society of British Columbia asking about the rules under which women were admitted to the Bar in that province. It turned out that there were no rules until 1912 when Mabel Penery French was called to the bar and a there was an amendment passed by the British Columbia Legislative assembly. By 1933 Eva was settled in Winnipeg but while newspaper articles list her name in social columns she was not practicing law. Source; Diversifying the bar: Law Society of Upper Canada. Online accessed January 2013.
 
Micheline Rawlins Born 1951, Montreal, Quebec. After graduating with a B.A. from McGill University, Montreal, she studied law at the University of Windsor in Ontario,  graduating in 1978. She was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1982. Back in Windsor she served  from 1985-1987 and again in 1995-2004 on the Board of Governors at the University of Windsor. She also volunteered with the Windsor Media Council, the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and was president of the Windsor Urban Alliance, the Chatham Youth Soccer Association and with Distinguished Women in International Services. The Hournable Madam Justice Rawlins was the 1st Black woman appointed the bench in Ontario in 1992. In 1997 she received the African Canadian Achievement Award and in 2002 The National Congress of Black Women Award for Outstanding Contribution to Women, to Law and to Canada. In 2004 she was named Windsor Woman of the Year. She considers her two sons as her greatest achievement. . Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.
 
Lovedy Josephine Campbell Scott

Born 1894. Died 1980. One of the early women lawyers in the province of Ontario, she was called to the Bar in 1919. By 1950 she was the fourth woman to be names Queen’s Council. She was the 1st woman to practice Law in Essex County, Ontario and had an extensive practice in real estate and estate law in Windsor. She was one of the two legal agents for the Agriculture Development Board of Essex County. She married G.C. Scott and continued her practice using her married name.  Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 

Lilly Sherizen Born 1906 Mozir. Lithuania. Died 1991. She attended law school and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1930 as one of the earliest Jewish women lawyers. She worked at David B Goodman K.C. until 1944 when she went into private practice in Toronto in 1945. She was a member of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario  and served as Chair of the Public Welfare Committee in 1947 and from 1951-1953 served as president. She was an advocate for prison reform and stood for better treatment and rehabilitation of youth delinquents. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online
 
Julia S. Shin Dol Born 1967, Seoul, Korea.  Julia immigrated to Canada with her family in 1969. She married Michael Doi, a lawyer, and the couple have two children. She studied law and was called to the Bar in Ontario  in 1994. She is among the 1st Korean Canadian to publish a legal textbook. She is an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and practices corporate Law. She is co-founder of the Korean Canadian Lawyers Association formed in 1995 and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers formed in 2007. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 
Christine Bertram Silverberg

Born Brampton, Ontario. 1949. Graduating from York University in Toronto, Ontario in 1971, she Married Dr. Ben Silverberg in and applied to work with the police force in Mississauga, Ontario. Women were not allowed on uniform patrol. She was assigned to the youth bureau where she became involved in youth and child abuse investigations that included undercover work as part of the criminal investigations. Take courses she  earned a MA in Criminology at the University of Toronto in 1983. She continued her studies at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, with courses in executive development and public relations. In 1990 she took a position in the Ontario provincial Ministry of the Solicitor General. She soon returned to police services as deputy chief of the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police in Ontario. In October 1995 she  became the first woman to be appointed to the position of Chief of Police of a major Canadian metropolitan centre. She has been honoured by the Piegan Nation  with the name “Bluebird Lady”. She has also earned a Platinum Podium Award from Toastmaster’s International for leadership. She has also been involved in community and professional organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, and the National Coordinating Committee on Organized Crime and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Leaving police services in 2000 she returned to university to accomplish her original career dream of becoming a lawyer. She graduated law from the University of Calgary in 2004. That same year she was names as one of Canada’s 100  Most Powerful Women. She articled at a national law firm and made partner in January 2008. Source: Silverberg realizes long-held dream by Valerie Berenyi, Calgary Herald February 16, 2009 online. Accessed July 2011.
 

Lida Bell Pearson Sturdy

Born June 7, 1895, Newmarket, Ontario. Died February 18, 1987, Preston, Ontario.Lida’s mother dies shortly after her birth and she was raised by her aunts until she was 11. She graduated from Victoria College, University of Toronto in 1918. She had enjoyed varsity sports, especially basketball and field hockey. She then studied law and was called to the bar in Ontario in 1921. On November 3, 1921 she was the first woman lawyer in Preston Ontario with her own practice. In 1927 she married Gerald Sturdy, a Preston draughtsman and sold her established law practice to Ruby Wigle. In 1933 she repurchased her law practice replacing Ruby as Town Solicitor. In 1935 she was the 1at woman to run for the position of School Trustee but was only successful with her second try for the office, serving from 1936-1945. She was Vice-Chair of the Board 1937-1936. She maintained her membership in the Galt Federation of University Women from 1954-1965. She supported her church women’s activities and in 1960 she became the 1st President of the United Church Women. In 1962 she was appointed Queen’s Council and continued her law practice until 1967. Source: City of Cambridge, Hall of Fame, Online Accessed March 2013.
 

Katherine Edna Swinton Born August 14, 1950, East York, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Alberta with an honours B.A. in 1971. She then had the opportunity of being a Parliamentary Intern at the House of Commons in Ottawa in 1971-1972. She served as law clerk to the Hon. R.G.B. Dickson at the Supreme Court of Canada She earned her law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, Your University, Toronto in 1975 and went on to earn her Masters in law (LL.M) at Yale University in the U.S.A.in 1977. She was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1979. On August 23, 1983 she married Kenneth Swan and the couple have 2 children.  She became a full professor with Faculty of Law, University of Toronto in 1988. She taught and wrote extensively in the areas of Canadian constitutional law, federalism and public policy, and employment discrimination law as a professor. She has served as an adviser to federal and provincial governments on issues of constitutional law and federalism. She became the Honourable Madame Justice when she was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) in 1997. Source: The Canadian Who’s who, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997)
 
Tillie Taylor

née Goldenberg. Born November 11, 1922 Died October 23, 2011. She was a product of the depression youth years and was involved in the Canadian arm of the International youth Congress Movement. Her parent’s strong values of justice and helping the vulnerable where what drew her to her husband George Taylor( They married in 1941) and the Communist party. Her parents were not pleased but when the couple left the Communist Party the family was reconciled as the couple supported the C.C.F. . Tillie worked to put George through law school, while caring for their two daughters. Tillie earned her own LLB in 1956, the only woman in her graduating class. In 1960 she was named a provincial magistrate, the first woman and perhaps first Jew to hold such a position. She soon learned that poverty was behind many misdemeanors and worked with the John Howard Society, the Medical Care Insurance Commission of Saskatchewan and the Provincial Commission of Inquiry into Legal Aid to help improve life in her home province. In 1972 she was names the first chairperson of the new Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. In 1975 she was named one of 50 outstanding Saskatoon women . In 1976 she was elected a director of the Canadian Research institute for the Advancement of Women. And in 1977 through 1987 she was a member of the board of governors of the Canadian Council on Social Development. In 1996 she was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. Although she suffered a stroke she learned to talk, read and walk again through shear determination. Source: Ewing-Weisz, Chris “Trailblazing Saskatchewan Judge fought against poverty and social injustice.” The Globe and Mail  November 3, 2011 page R5. Submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa.
 

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

Born  Norway House, Manitoba February 15, 1963. She grew up poor knowing domestic violence and sexual abuse but this only made her more determined to know why the Justice System of Canada treated the Aboriginal peoples so poorly. She earned her B.A. at Carleton University, her Bachelor of Law at Osgood Hall, Toronto and a Masters at Cambridge University with a PhD in Law from Harvard University!!! In March 1998 she became the first Aboriginal woman to be named to the Saskatchewan Bench! She has maintained law practices in both Saskatchewan and in Nova Scotia and is a professor of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has successfully blended her schooling and professional life with being a mother of 4 children. Proud of her aboriginal heritage she has written a book on the history of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation for the Band Centennial in 2006. In November 2006 she was appointed as the British Columbia for Children and Youth to complete the May 18, 2006 Act in that province. The appointment was for five years. She is also the first tenured law professor of Aboriginal Heritage in Canada. In February 2011 she was listed as one of 10 new mentors by the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation.  Sources: Herstory: A Canadian Woman’s Calendar 2000 ( Silver Anniversary Edition) Coteau Books, 1999 Page 4. ; Turpel-Lafond appointed as Trudeau Foundation Mentor; News release February 8, 2011 online accessed July 2011.
 

Susan Ursel Born 1958. After undergraduate studies she attended Osgoode Law School, York University, Toronto and was called to the Bar in Ontario 1986 Susan is the 1st openly Lesbian lawyer in Ontario. She appeared as council for the Metropolitan Community Church v. Egan which was the first Supreme Court decision on equality rights for gay men and lesbians. She is the founder of Pro Bono Law Ontario, an organization that encourages lawyers to provide pro bono legal services (charge no fees) to low income persons. In 1998 she received the Canadian Bar Association Young Lawyers Pro Bono Award. She has served the Lesbian and Gay community and in 2000 they recognized this services by inducting her into the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives’ National Portrait Collection. In 2011 she won the Canadian Bar Association HERO Award in recognition of her contribution to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Committee. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 
Juanita Westmorland-Traoré Born March 10, 1942, Verdun (now part of Montréal), Québec. She attended the Université to obtain her law degree in 1966. She earned her PhD at the University of Paris, France. In 1967 she was called to the Bar in Ontario and in 1969 called to the Bar in Québec. In the early 1970’s she became the 1st Black woman to teach at the Université de Montréal and from 1976-1991 she taught at the Université du Québec à Montréal. From 1983-1985 she was Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. In 1991 she was appointed an officer of the National Order of Quebec.  In 1999 she became the 1st Black judge appointed in Québec. She became the 1st Black Dean of a Canadian Law school when she served at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, Ontario. In 2005 she was presented with the Touchtone Award by the Canadian Bar Association . In 2008 she was awarded the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s Rights and Liberties Prize for her career long fight against discrimination and in 2009 she earned the Christine Tourigny Merit Award. In 2013 a bursary was implemented with her name by the Faculty of Political Science and Law, Université du Québec, Montréal. Sources : “Judge Westmorland-Traoré to be honoured.” The Gazette, Montreal, November 2008. : Diversifying the Bar: Lawyers make history Online (Accessed December 2013) : “Legal Icon –Westmoreland-Traoré Retires”  by Patricia DeGuire. Voices, Ontario Bar Association Vol.  18 no. 2 May 2012
 
Ruth Mildred "Ruby" Wigle Born 1893, Manitoba.  Married Name Fish.  After her studies at law school she was called to the Ontario Bar in 1926. She purchased a law practice from Linda Bell Pearson Sturdy who had recently married and wished to join her husband who was working in Chicago. Ruby was a member of the Women’s law Association of Ontario. She would become one of the first women town solicitors in Ontario when she worked in Preston, Ontario 1931 to 1933. She later moved to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, her home town, to work with her husband. Source: Diversifying the bar: Lawyers Make history. Law Society of Upper Canada Online accessed January 2013.
 
Bertha Wilson.

née Wernham.  Born September 18, 1923 Kirkcaldy, Scotland.  Died April 28, 2007, Ottawa, Ontario. She graduated with a Master of Arts from the University of Aberdeen in 1944. In 1945 she married John Wilson, a Presbyterian minister, who served as minister to the United Church in Renfrew, Ontario. When John became a naval chaplain during the Korean War she was working as a dental receptionist in Ottawa. In she settled with John who had been posted to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  In 1954 she entered Dalhousie Law School, Halifax and was called to the nova Scotia Bar in 1957. Relocating to Toronto, she was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1959 and specialized in legal research and opinion writing for other lawyers.  She was the 1st woman appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1975 where she became known for her “imaginative and humane decisions”. In 1982 she was the 1st woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1988 she was appointed a commissioner on the Reasmus-Dussault Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. In 1991 she was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 1992 she was named to the Order of Canada. Sources: Bertha Wilson biography, Supreme Court of Canada Accessed 2008; Obituary, the Globe and Mail April 30, 2007. Accessed 2008 
 


 
Mary Wong. Born Hamilton, Ontario. In 1943 she and her husband opened a family restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario. She soon became involved with her home community as principal of the National Chinese School and as a Chinese interpreter in the city courts. She served as a member of the Canadian consultative council on Multiculturalism. In 1977 Mary Wong was the 1st Canadian of Chinese descent to be appointed as a Citizenship Court Judge. She retired from the "bench" ( as a judge) in 1985. She is an appointee to the Hamilton [Ontario] Gallery of Distinction.
Geraldine Bertram Wright Died, 1967 Toronto, Ontario. She studied law after university and in 1907 was the third woman called to the Bar in Ontario. She worked in her father’s former law firm , Leitch and Green, St Thomas for 2 years. In 1909 she married Ward Wright, also a lawyer , and the couple moved to Toronto. Ward Wright died in 1939. Geraldine was called back to St Thomas and commissioned by the War Auxiliary Services Committee to sponsor the St Thomas Active Service Club which accommodated over 6,000 men of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force who were training at nearby Air Schools. After the war she returned to live in Toronto. She was a founding member of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario  and served as President in 1920. Source: Diversifying the bar; Law Society of Upper Canada online accessed January 2013.:
 
TOP OF PAGE