Change is inevitable and it is imperative to respond with action. I believe as a profession we will continue to change and grow in new and challenging ways and I offer my candidacy for Bencher to support our evolution.
I have been a prosecutor for most of my career. I began by working as a prosecutor for the provincial government in rural Alberta in 2003. For the last eleven years, I have worked with the federal prosecution service in Edmonton. During a leave from prosecuting, I worked in the previous government’s Justice Minister’s office and worked very hard in helping to appoint lawyers to our public institutions who better reflect modern day Alberta.
My professional experiences will assist me in advocating for policy, legislative and other initiatives of importance to the lawyers of Alberta and the clients we serve, such as improving access to justice, promoting restorative justice initiatives, and championing equity and diversity in our institutions.
I became a parent while lawyering and founded a new parents’ peer support group with ASSIST. I believe that our collective mental health challenges as lawyers have been shrouded in shame for too long, and that is why I have volunteered with ASSIST since 2012. The reality of legal practice means that we are called upon to support our clients when they are experiencing some of the worst that life has to offer, while at the same time we are asked by our families, our firms and the courts to operate at the highest possible level. I believe that our professional and personal struggles must be adequately acknowledged and addressed so that we can offer our best selves to the wider community.
Finally, I founded the Iris Barry Yake robe lending bank to offer material support to those in our profession who could use a helping hand. An initiative that has provided a useful resource both for those borrowing robes and those donating them.
I am proud of my first term as Bencher, and there are specific initiatives that I am happy to say I helped carry over the line. Shifting the part time status program from a pilot to a permanent feature in Alberta, and the recent change to the rules that will allow for members to remain active but non-practicing at a reduced rate so that negative impacts to a person’s career will be minimized are two highlights. I believe the absence of both initiatives have long contributed to the attrition rate of women in our profession and I hope more can be done to improve representation across all groups that have been marginalized.
I am a feminist, a lawyer, a mom, a friend and a volunteer. I hope that who I am, what I believe in and what I can offer our profession will persuade you to vote for me for Bencher. Together, we can make the Law Society a more inclusive, healthier and constructive organization that better serves you, the justice system, and the public at large.