The Women’s Legal Mentorship Program (“WLMP”) marked the completion of its 5-year pilot project by recognizing trailer blazers and emerging legal leaders at the annual WLMP Legal Leaders Breakfast hosted by the WLMP’s uOttawa Chapter.
Shirley E. Greenberg is the first recipient of the Friend of the WLMP Award. This award recognizes a WLMP legal mentor, ally organization or supporter for their dedication to women’s legal mentorship and work to increase the retention of women in the law.
“Shirley E. Greenberg is a trailblazer. Her legacy of both advocating for and supporting women’s organizations across Ontario has improved the lives of countless women. She is a strong feminist advocate, who recognized early on the need for programming that directly addresses the issue of women and their legal careers. As a result, she championed women’s issues and supported programming aimed at increasing the role of women in the law.” says Charlotte Wolters, Founder of the WLMP.
In addition to the Friend of the WLMP Award, Alexandra (Sasha) Toten was awarded the WLMP’s Emerging Legal Leader Award. The WLMP Emerging Legal Leader Award is bestowed on a WLMP Alumna for her ongoing dedication to upholding WLMP mentorship principles and her dedication to the retention of women in the law.
Since graduating from law school and the WLMP Program, Ms. Toten continues to mentor women in the first years of their law careers. She is also a registered WLMP Legal mentor as well as volunteering on the Executive of the Young Women in Law (YWL), in addition to practicing law at Minden Gross LLP in Toronto.
“It’s wonderful to see what started as thought experiment really take off. With the completion of the WLMP’s 5-year pilot project, the WLMP Board is hoping to expand. Given the access to justice issues, it’s more important than ever to ensure that women continue their legal careers. Addressing this issue needs to start at the law school level. WLMP Alumna like Ms. Toten are an example of how the WLMP’s unique programming offered in law schools can help female law students take on mentorship and leadership roles beyond the classroom and into practice.” says Ms. Wolters.
The WLMP also announced the creation of its Founder’s Award, which will be bestowed in 2017 and also the WLMP Peer Mentor award, which will be awarded to a WLMP student mentor next year.
The WLMP — the first of its kind in Canada — is a national not-for-profit that aims to shift the culture of the legal profession and increase the retention of women in the law by helping female law students and WLMP Alumna develop their mentorship and leadership skills and establish networks that grow with them throughout their legal careers from the classroom to the courtroom and beyond.
In 2011, the WLMP piloted its first university Chapter at the University of Ottawa. Currently, the WLMP is working to partner and expand its program to other Canadian law schools.