Gender Parity and Conscious Inclusivity

Since 1939, when one of our founding partners, the Honourable Newton Wesley Rowell, was the lead lawyer in the legal case that declared women as “persons” under the law, McMillan has forged new paths in women’s empowerment.

Throughout its history, McMillan LLP has worked hard to empower women and improve gender parity in the workplace. In 1939, one of the firm’s founding partners, Newton Rowell, helped represent Alberta’s Famous Five: Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards, in the “Persons’ Case,” all the way to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain. A groundbreaking initiative, this historical legal win declared women “persons” within the meaning of the British North America Act, so they could be appointed to the Canadian Senate.

Women in Law

Today, we are equally proud of McMillan’s gender parity initiative that brings to life, leading-edge, progressive policies and resources to foster networking, leadership and business development opportunities for women in law. The focus of the initiative is to create a culture of conscious inclusion and involves in-house mentoring, internal and external professional development opportunities to provide the platform for female lawyers and business professionals to excel at the firm. McMillan also provides lawyers and business professionals, on an individual basis, flexible work arrangements to meet other personal needs.

Support for Women’s Community Initiative

McMillan also demonstrates leadership in advancing women in the workforce and law by participating in numerous community initiatives. We are:

  • a member of the 30% club that aims to increase the representation of women on boards and to attain greater gender balance in business leadership
  • a proud sponsor of Osgoode Hall Law School’s Women’s Network (“OWN”), an organization dedicated to advancing women in law through networking, mentorship and skills building
  •  an active participant in the Justicia Project within the law societies of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, aimed at developing programs and initiatives to promote the retention and advancement of women in private practice
  • a supporter of Women’s Executive Network (WXN), an organization that provides innovative opportunities for women to develop personally and professionally and inspire them to lead, and
  • a proud supporter of Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), that advocates for the rights of women. As aforementioned, one of the McMillan’s founding partners, Newton Rowell, was instrumental in the victory of the “Persons Case” that declared women as “persons” within the meaning of the British North America Act, who could be appointed to the Canadian Senate. Rowell’s granddaughter, Nancy Ruth, was one of the founding members of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund and was Canada’s first openly lesbian senator from 2005 to 2017.

Positioning Equality

At McMillan, we also know that while the gap between women and men caregivers has lessened over the past generation, research shows that women still carry the mainstay of family caregiving responsibilities. McMillan is committed to leading the way towards bridging this gap for women in law firms. We provide parental support to assist expectant and new parents with managing their new family dynamics and professional responsibilities, including a toolkit and a mentor to help them easily enter into their parental leave and enjoy their time while planning a smooth transition back to work once the parental leave concludes. New mothers also receive several paid coaching sessions with an external consultant to assist with transition and reintegration issues. Throughout life’s milestones, women at McMillan LLP are poised to succeed.

Are you interested in joining McMillan? View our lawyer, legal support or professional business roles here.