Meet Jennifer Gold, a family law lawyer and co-founder of Wood Gold LLP , as well as the Vice President of the Women's Law Association of Ontario. If you have had the good fortune of attending a WLAO event I am sure you would have met Jennifer who has always been so kind and welcoming to all in attendance.
1. Tell me a little about your practice or business.
I am a partner of Wood Gold LLP. Our primary practice area is Family Law. Frances Wood and I entered into partnership in order to create a different workplace culture. We wanted to actively parent our children while enjoying our careers as lawyers. We wanted a workplace culture that honours the flexibility needed by anyone who has priorities outside of work. Frankie was my mentor when I first started in practice and soon became a friend. We later became business partners. We work well together and enjoy the practice of Family Law. I feel that we are an example of how women can succeed by supporting each other. The team at Wood Gold is diverse, inclusive, collegial and supportive. I like going to work every day and working with these great lawyers and staff.
2. Why did you go to law school?
I think I have always been an advocate and proud feminist. I have always felt a strong sense of justice. I enjoy exploring different sides of an issue or problem. Also, in Grade 8, I enjoyed my first debate and decided that law was the career for me!
3. How did you get to where you are today? Design? Chance? Both?
I think that I am where I am today due to both design and chance. I recognize my own privilege of having been raised in a “middle class” family, being second generation Canadian, and having the opportunities that come with that. However, I also recognize the challenges I have faced as a woman of colour. In terms of being a lawyer, I worked hard in school and always kept my eye on the goal. I’ve been lucky to know what I want in life. That helps. I couldn’t have arrived at where I am without all of the people in my life; my spouse, my business partner, friends, and colleagues.
4. What is your most significant achievement? What are you proud of?
I think being a lawyer and at the same time, a great mom! There should be an award for that! LOL
5. What are some key challenges, and more importantly, opportunities for women in law?
I think a major challenge for women in law is sexism in the legal profession. Women are still harassed and discriminated against. Women who are considered “different” because of race, ability, sexual orientation, religion, etc. face even greater challenges. We need this to end.
We can create opportunities and change the culture by getting together and speaking up. I’m involved with the Women’s Law Association of Ontario but there are many associations that advocate for change. By helping each other, we can create better opportunities for women and see more women in leadership roles.
6. What advice would you give a woman starting her legal career?
Don’t be afraid to speak up. Be your own advocate. The right people will respect you and the right doors will open for you. More importantly, you’ll respect and be proud of yourself.
Thank you Jennifer for participating in this series and for your answers. Although, I do feel like I must share this little nugget of information that I found Jennifer's bio on her website: "When Jennifer is not practicing law and managing a law firm, she enjoys spending time with her family and singing with a highly competitive barbershop quartet." Highly competitive barbershop quartet? How cool is that?
I started this blog series because I was tired of hearing about women leaving law and wanted to hear about women leading in law. 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!
ICYMI - previous posts profiled the following amazing lawyers: Jordana Goldlist, Megan Keenberg, Yadesha Satheaswaran, France Mahon, Sarah Molyneaux, Richa Sandill, Vivene Salmon, Kim Whaley, Alisia Grenville, Frances Wood, Maggie Wente, Anita Szigeti, Neha Chugh, Christy Allen & Nancy Houle, Suzie Seo, Kim Gale, Alexi Wood, Melissa McBain, Erin Best, Gillian Hnatiw, Melanie Sharman Rowand, Meg Chinelo Egbunonu, Lisa Jean Helps, Nathalie Godbout Q.C., Laurie Livingstone, Renatta Austin, Janis Criger, May Cheng, Nicole Chrolavicius, Charlene Theodore, Dyanoosh Youssefi, Shannon Salter, Bindu Cudjoe, Elliot Spears, Jessica Prince, Anu K. Sandhu, Claire Hatcher, Esi Codjoe, Kate Dewhirst, Jennifer Taylor, Rebecca Durcan, Atrisha Lewis, Vandana Sood, Kathryn Manning, Kim Hawkins, Kyla Lee, and Eva Chan.
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.