Personal Reflection. Fostering connection, creating community

AuthorThe Honourable Harriet Sachs
Fstering cnnectin, creating
Thank you for this great honour. I am overwhelmed, and when
I am overwhelmed my usual response is to retreat into a book, not
give a speech. I love to read, but if I get to choose, my books come
with happy endings. I have learned that life does not always deliver happy
endings; however, if you’re lucky, it can deliver wonderful moments. For
me, this is one of those moments, not only because of the honour I have
received but because I get to share it with all of you and, most particu-
larly, my eldest daughter, Emma, who is being called to the bar today.
I look at you and I see myself, sitting in what was then the O’Keefe
Centre, waiting to be called up to the stage. I remember that my feet hurt
and that the collar of my court shirt felt way too tight. I don’t remem-
ber feeling triumphant, but I do remember feeling unsure and scared–
unsure about my choice of profession, and scared because, having made
that choice, I could not see how I would ever nd my way in a profession
that had not yet made a place for women.
When I started law school my class of 300 was divided into sections
of 60. My section had three women. I had never had a woman law pro-
fessor, and when I articled at a medium-sized downtown law rm there
was one woman associate. When I got called to the bar, there were a
handful of women on the trial benches; there had never been a woman
appointed to the Court of Appeal of any province, and there had never
been a woman on the Supreme Court of Canada.

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