The Current

Women leaving criminal defence law due to discrimination, new report says

Criminal defence work remains largely the realm of men in Canada. We look into why women lawyers are demanding the practice of criminal justice be reformed and are walking away from their jobs.
Breese Davies of the Criminal Lawyers Association of Canada wants the Ontario Attorney General's office to change the legal aid system because the precarity of legal aid pay for criminal defence lawyers affects women disproportionately. (

Read story transcript

The Criminal Lawyers Association have released a report suggesting women are leaving the practice at a higher rate than men. 

The trend has been persistent. A study in Ontario in 2008 reported the profession was losing some of its best and brightest, as women left "in droves." 

This new research wanted to get a better understanding of why that was, and what could be done to reverse the trend. It found problems ranging from pay, to parental leave, to outright sexism. 

Criminal lawyers play a crucial role in the justice system. The Current convened a panel to discuss the workplace conditions for women lawyers and why they are leaving law.

Guests in this segment:

This segment was produced by The Current's Leif Zapf-Gilje and Marc Apollonio.