The case for ladies only

Lisa Borsook is featured in The case for ladies only, a Canadian Lawyer magazine cover story. Click here to read the entire article.

In their book Breaking Through: Tales from the Top Canadian Women General Counsel, Kirby Chown and Carrie Mandel interviewed 32 women general counsel.

The unconscious bias
When Lisa Borsook became managing partner at WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto in 2007, she recalls the amount of external attention it brought her way. Then she began to realize she was the only one. “There wasn’t anybody else. It is an odd thing so at that moment I started to think more about what I would describe as the ‘unconscious bias’ that prevents women from rising to high-level management positions in their firms.”

Borsook says gender is a factor in everything and she is a supporter of women-only groups and events — the firm holds a women’s event for clients every year. “We were all joking about golf the other day. . . . It’s a seven-hour trip that I don’t know any women who, unless they really love the game, have any time for.
So our women’s group is focused on coming up with interesting things for women to do to engage with prospective clients and we do that differently.

“When I hear people say they are gender neutral I think ‘How?’ I have come to believe we just are different,” says Borsook. “We collaborate differently. Our view for the future is different. The way we imagine ourselves five years from now is different,” she says. “Instead of pretending it doesn’t happen, I think we should applaud it and recognize it exists. If you’re in-house counsel and you have an opportunity to speak to other women who are like-minded how can that be a bad thing?”

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