Chief Justice Winkler’s Tips for Success

I attendedWomen’s Law Association of Ontario dinner recently where Chief Justice Winkler provided the following tips on how to succeed in law:

1. Law is a helping profession. Help others without looking for anything in return.

2. People want to help you. Graciously give them the opportunity do so.

3. Respect your elders. Respect those younger than you. Respect those the same age. Respect those in lesser positions than yours. Respect others.

4. Be loyal. Loyalty begets loyalty.

5. Do not exaggerate. Don’t mislead the court. Don’t take advantage of anyone.

6. Get a mentor or several mentors.Don’t try to go it alone. Mentoring is a two way street. Mentors in turnbenefit from mentees. You are never too old or too senior to have a mentor.

7. Be a mentor to others.

8. Always go to events early! Be the first one there.

9. Join a legal organization of your choice and get involved in it. Speak at events whenever asked.

10. If you have no work, go to your office.

11. Take guidance from your grandmother, granddaughter and your mother. If you can’t figure out whatto do and you can’t reach one of these people, do what you think is the rightthing to do. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it

12. Get a dog.

Several of these could probably use some explanation, so I’ll elaborate on a few.

The reason you should go to an event early is that everyone who arrives after you will then have the opportunity to meet you. By going early you also have the chance to meet event organizers and VIP guests who will often be there on time.

When you’re out of work, going to your office can be a good way to get work. You can be there when the phone rings and leads to unexpected opportunities, or find work from colleagues and friends at or near your workplace.

You don’t just have to get a dog. You could buy a lot of interesting books, or amass a large collection of music CDs. Clients like people who are interesting, and not just for their legal knowledge. Be more than just a lawyer and have something outside of practice too.

Future Women’s Law Association of Ontario events include:

You’re a Lawyer – Now What?
5th Annual Alternative Careers for Women in Law Program
May 4, 2011
LSUC Lamont Centre
130 Queen St. W, Toronto
5:30-8:30 p.m.

10th Annual Deb Snead Memorial Golf Event
August 29, 2011
The Ladies Golf Club of Toronto
7859 Yonge Street, Thornhill


  1. Francis Barragan

    Very interesting list.

    I think the advice on mentors are spot on.