Ottawa (July 13, 2005)– Women accounted for 66 per cent of lawyers called to the Ontario bar today by the Law Society of Upper Canada, at a ceremony in which an honorary doctorate was presented to well-known women’s advocate Professor Elizabeth Sheehy, of the University of Ottawa.
Each year the Law Society confers honorary degrees upon select members of the public and the profession who have demonstrated extraordinary character or have performed good works of benefit to the public. Recipients serve as keynote speakers to inspire the graduating class as the new lawyers begin their careers.
Law Society Treasurer George D. Hunter presented an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D) to Professor Sheehy at the ceremony.
“Professor Sheehy is a testament to what one person can do to help advance access to justice in this country,” said Treasurer Hunter. “Her extensive work to promote access to justice for women throughout the Ontario legal system has made a difference, particularly for those she has helped. Professor Sheehy is an inspiration, and as a role model, is a true reflection of the values this profession holds dear.”
Professor Sheehy has been involved in many legal and activist endeavours, including Jane Doe v. the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force, Bonnie Mooney v. Canada, and the Ewanchuk case, and the Self-Defence Review by Her Honour Judge Lynn Ratushny (reviewing the convictions of women who killed abusive male partners), as well the passage of Bill C-72 (intoxication as a defence to crimes of violence) and Bill C-46 (disclosure of women’s counselling records in sexual assault proceedings).
Professor Sheehy works with women’s groups and institutions such as the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), the National Association of Women and the Law, the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, and the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, spearheading a conference and publication exploring the implications for equality of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. She has also worked on women’s issues with the African-Canadian Legal Clinic (Toronto) and the Native Women’s Association of Canada on their Sisters in Spirit campaign.
She has taught law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law since 1984. She was appointed the Shirley Greenberg Professor in Women and the Legal Profession (2002-2005), and designed and taught the first course on Women and the Legal Profession in Canadian law schools.
Professor Sheehy is editor of Adding Feminism to Law: Essay in Honour of Justice Claire L’Heureux Dube, published by Irwin Law in 2004.
The information contained in this news announcement was provicded by the Law Society of Upper Canada. More information about the Law Society can be found online at: www.lsuc.on.ca.