The Speech That Justice Charron Didn’t Give

There’s a fascinating piece on Monday’s Law Times about a speech that Supreme Court Justice Charron had planned to give to the Women Lawyers’ Symposium in Ottawa. Although Justice Charron’s address was never delivered, the text of her speech, penned by a former clerk, was nonetheless circulated with the rest of the material for the symposium. The part of the text that’s caught the attention of the Law Times is as follows:

The ‘priority of profit’ represents a significant barrier to institutional change in the private practice environment. . . . Many law firms are so focused on profit that they may be unable to appreciate the value of apparently ‘competing’ priorities like shorter hours, flexible work schedules or pro bono legal work.

Lawyers who value non-monetary goods, including family, social time or community endeavours, may feel that they simply cannot or do not wish to compete in the money-driven world of a law firm.

As the LT piece says, the “priority of profit” passage was part of a list of reasons why 1/3 of women lawyers leave practice within ten years of their call.

I’ve been unable to find the full text of Justice Charron’s planned address.


  1. Yes… and that is in part why I left after 11 years of practice!