This year has been and continues to be challenging. With all the changes to everyone’s lives around the world, here in Canada, lawyer life and law school life, it’s been hard. Like many Canadians, lawyers, law schools and programs, the WLMP has had to adjust to the new normal of 2020. How we adjusted, meant going back to our roots.
As WLMP mentors, mentees and partners know, one of our core values and one of our key hallmarks is innovation. We were the first intersectional feminist mentorship program in Canada to re-configure women’s mentorship programming. Offering our unique 3-part integrative feminist mentorship program through the WLMP’s University Program pilot project which started at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section in 2011 and wrapped up in 2020. Yet, we continue to grow and innovate.
We’ve helped over 1,600 self-identifying women law students and lawyers get mentoring. We even offered virtual mentoring starting in 2011, well ahead of other mentoring programs. Offering virtual mentoring and information on virtual mentoring guidance. Our very first virtual mentoring program started by matching a law student in Ottawa with a lawyer practicing in Halifax. The WLMP Student Participant was planning to practice law in Halifax and needed to connect with a lawyer in her future legal community.
Reviewing our WLMP National programming and working with the reality of law students spread across Canada and engaging in virtual law schools, lawyers working virtually and Zooming business of virtual conference events, we decided to take on the challenges of 2020 on a national level.
Here’s a few highlights of how the WLMP took on the challenges of 2020 and is looking beyond to 2021.
- Innovations in Women’s Legal Mentorship Programming. Developing a free private virtual member space. Faced with the challenges brought by 2020, we beta tested and setup a free private virtual members space where WLMP lawyers and students could message each other without the worry their information would be data mined and sold. We call it a “Virtual Room of Their Own”. It’s a new innovation and mentorship offering for self-identifying women law students and lawyers in Canada launched in late October 2020.
- Creation of the WLMP National Student Program. Members of the WLMP’s Leadership and Equity Advisory Group who attended the WLMP National Student Program exploration meeting were impressed by the calibre of the self-identifying female law students from across Canada. Their advocacy for why they felt there is a need for a national women’s legal mentorship program and network was impressive. We can’t wait to introduce the WLMP National Student Program and its leaders in 2021.
- Development of a virtual version of the WLMP Certification Program. One of the key aspects of the WLMP’s mentoring program is our integrative and layered approach to meeting the needs of WLMP Student Participants and WLMP Legal Mentors. Looking at the best practices within the legal profession and other programs, we were inspired to develop a virtual version of the WLMP Peer Leadership Certificate™. Our virtual certification programming will give WLMP student members a chance to earn a WLMP Peer Leadership Certificate™. Similar to our original certification program, the virtual version will help WLMP Student Participants showcase their skills and mentoring with the WLMP program to current and prospective employers.
- Get Mentoring in 2021 with the WLMP Student-Lawyer Mentorship Program. We’re offering student-lawyer mentorship matching for self-identifying women law students and lawyers across Canada. Giving self-identifying women lawyers the mobility to mentor a WLMP Law Student no matter where they are working and living. Building on the success of the WLMP’s mentorship matching process and long history of virtual mentorship programming, in 2021 we’re offering this on a national level.
- Apply online today to become a Legal Mentor to a WLMP Student in 2021. It takes mere minutes to fill out a WLMP mentorship form, but your mentorship of a self-identifying female law student will help them on their legal career path.
- WLMP Collabs and Webinars Coming in 2021. The WLMP’s commitment to leadership and professional development is going virtual. Working with WLMP members from across Canada and ally organizations, the WLMP has planned a number of webinars on various professional and law career related topics launching in early 2021. Also, WLMP Student Participants from across the country will now get an opportunity to earn a WLMP Peer Leadership Certificate™ with the WLMP accredited webinars. Don’t miss the launch of our webinars. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter by becoming a member.
While 2020 has been rough for law students, lawyers and everyone around the world, we’re hopeful going into 2021. We’re also excited about taking onboard the lessons learned in 2020 and tackling a new year.
If you have any questions, contact us.