Women lawyers see flex-work as career-limiting

Report suggests law firms look beyond billable hours as definition of success
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/19/2006

In 1978, Susan Clarke was one of two female lawyers at a Toronto law firm. When the other woman had her first child, the law firm let her work part time, something that was very unusual for the times, said Clarke. Unfortunately, the experience left a lot to be desired.

“They did not have a clue what to do with her and they simply ignored her. Nobody gave her any work and she was treated like she wasn’t really there,” said Clarke.

So when Clarke became pregnant in 1983, she quit the law firm and began doing contract work and working in academia. Ten years later she returned to private practice, this time at Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP in Toronto, where she’s now a partner and the director of professional development.