The Advisory: Volume 10, Issue 3, July 2012

Click here to view the PDF version of The Advisory

Notation Regarding Return to Law Practices

In the April Advisory print version, the article titled Return to Law Practices Bring Challenges and Rewards was factually inaccurate and inadvertently omitted Ms. Anderson’s comments about how supportive and helpful she found the law firms she worked with, her colleagues, and her friends. The print version of the article did not include the amendments approved by her. The online April 2012 Advisory, available on the Law Society’s website, has been corrected and includes these comments. The Law Society apologizes to Ms. Anderson for these errors.

Below is the portion of the article reprinted with the approved amendments.

Calgary lawyer Bonnie Anderson understood the challenges she would be facing taking maternity leave after only three years at the bar.

“I knew I wanted children and needed to consider that within a very short time of starting to practice. I also knew I wanted to take time off to spend with what may be my only child,” she says, adding she knew it was not an ideal time for any number of reasons.

She had taken several university courses over the years relating to women in the legal profession, so at least knew what to expect in terms of the challenges returning to practice after an extended leave, and attempting to manage a career and child care responsibilities. Still, it wasn’t easy.

“It was tough coming back to the legal profession after my year of maternity leave as you lose touch with clients, your network of lawyers and there is still the impression out there that you are less committed if you have to leave the office by 5:00,” she says.

When Ms. Anderson returned to the firm after her leave, she was a primary parent reentering the legal profession at a firm which did not have experience dealing with such a scenario. With no family in Calgary, she relied upon close friends to cover when a hearing or meeting went longer than expected. “On one occasion, a hearing stopped just short of midnight,” she says.

After a couple of years, she decided to pursue her passion for municipal law at a small firm in town and then as sole practitioner out of her home. She enjoyed the freedom to set her own hours, spend time with her son and meet with clients at their residence or place of business. Now that her son is in grade school, she feels she has the capacity and interest to return to a firm setting. She recently joined the commercial real estate group at the Calgary office of Bennett Jones LLP, primarily assisting with development and land-use related matters. “A great opportunity presented itself, one where I could use my background in architecture and urban planning.,” she says. It was a somewhat circuitous route, but for Ms. Anderson, it’s a perfect ending.

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