The next lawyer to be featured in the Women Leading in Law series is Esi Codjoe. I met Esi at a networking event a few years ago. I thought Esi would be a great lawyer to profile in this series as she currently has the interesting role of Vice Chair at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and has been an adjudicator on the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Read on to learn more about Esi's success in law (I especially like her answer to question number 3!)
1. Tell me a little about your practice or business:
I am a labour and employment lawyer, and current Vice Chair at the Human Rights Tribunal. I have spent my career litigating, and now adjudicating, employment and human rights disputes.
2. Why did you go to law school?
I chose to go to law school as I was really interested in access to justice, the rule of law and the advancement of rights. In addition, I was interested in a career that would enable me to engage in critical and analytical thinking. Lastly, I wanted to work in a field where I would be able to help people.
3. How did you get to where you are today? Design? Chance? Both?
I got where I am today by design and because people have helped me along the way. Those of us who are honest recognize that it is important to work hard to achieve your goals, but no one achieves anything alone, we all get help, whether we realise it or not.
4. What is your most significant achievement? What are you proud of?
I am proud of having attained my master of laws as well as my current role as a Vice Chair. In addition, I’m proud of the fact that I was elected to the OBA board of directors in 2016. However, my greatest accomplishment is that I am becoming the best version of myself, both personally and professionally.
5. What are some key challenges, and more importantly, opportunities for women in law?
One of the key challenges is that we often have to fight to have our voices heard. Nonetheless, there is such diversity among female lawyers, and that affords us tremendous opportunity to articulate our unique visions and perspectives.
6. What advice would you give a woman starting her legal career?
Understand yourself, it enables you to make hard choices that can inevitably lead to your success. When we know ourselves we can be braver, and pursue our goals with a gusto. I would also note that it is important to be tenacious. It helps you to push forward when there are obstacles placed in your path.
Thanks Esi for agreeing to participate. I completely agree that tenacity plays an important role in becoming a successful lawyer. I am always flattered when someone calls me tenacious!
ICYMI: Previous posts profiled Kate Dewhirst, Jennifer Taylor, Rebecca Durcan, Atrisha Lewis, Vandana Sood, Kathryn Manning, Kim Hawkins, Kyla Lee, and Eva Chan. Sign up to have these profiles sent directly to your email address and stay tuned for the next post soon!
The "Women Leading in Law" series focuses on good news stories and highlights amazing women succeeding in the legal profession. Each post includes the profiled lawyer's answers to six questions. Prepare to be inspired!
Erin C. Cowling is a freelance litigator, researcher & writer at Cowling Legal Freelance and President and Founder of FLEX LEGAL, a network of freelance lawyers.