Five Gowling WLG partners win 2017 Lexpert Zenith Awards as leading women in law

23 June 2017

Click to view poster of Gowling WLG partners Joëlle Boisvert, Neena Gupta, Jaimie Lickers, Brenda Pritchard and Tina WoodsideGowling WLG partners Joëlle Boisvert, Neena Gupta, Jaimie Lickers, Brenda Pritchard and Tina Woodside have been named among the winners of the 2017 Lexpert Zenith Awards. With five winners in total, Gowling WLG took home more awards than any other law firm.

Presented on June 22 at a gala dinner in Toronto, this year's Lexpert Zenith Awards celebrate the advancement of women in law and honour women who have demonstrated excellence and thought leadership in the legal profession.

Joëlle Boisvert is the managing partner of Gowling WLG's Montréal office and a member of the firm's national management committee. As the first woman to serve as Montreal's managing partner, Boisvert has spearheaded leadership workshops to encourage women to take up strategic positions within their organizations.

In addition to her role as managing partner, Boisvert has maintained a very active legal practice and is a leading commercial litigator. She has been named in Best Lawyers in Canada, Benchmark Canada and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, and was also recognized as one of Canada's 100 Most Powerful by the Women's Executive Network in 2015. Boisvert was also recently named Sherbrooke University's Grande Ambassadrice ("Great Ambassador") in June 2017.

Neena Gupta is a partner in Gowling WLG's Waterloo Region and Toronto offices, with a practice that focuses on litigation, employment and human rights matters. Gupta also serves as co-chair of the firm's national Diversity & Inclusion Council. In this role, she has led firm-wide unconscious bias training, initiated mental health first aid training, and engaged in a thorough review of recruitment, retention and other policies.

Gupta is a director of The Advocates' Society and BioTalent Canada. She currently sits on the Rules Committee of the Ontario Superior Court and is a frequent and popular guest speaker at events organized by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Bar Association. Her recent publications include Workplace Bullying: What Employers Need to Know and Massive AODA Employer Obligations in Ontario Come into Effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Jaimie Lickers is a partner in Gowling WLG's Hamilton office and an integral member of the firm's Indigenous law practice. In January 2017, she became the first Indigenous woman to join the firm's partnership. Known as an exceptional advocate, Lickers has been involved on a number of high-profile cases. She represented the Assembly of First Nations in the landmark Daniels case concerning the constitutional responsibility for Indigenous people in Canada, and represented the Chiefs of Ontario in the Chippewas of the Thames v. Enbridge Pipelines Supreme Court matter. She is currently acting as counsel to the Mi'kmaq First Nations Assembly of Newfoundland regarding the enrolment process of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation.

Lickers served on the firm's national diversity committee and sits on three boards dedicated to education and Indigenous rights. She has given numerous media interviews and has been featured in stories by the CBC and the Hamilton Spectator. For the past two consecutive years, Lickers has also accepted the firm's Aboriginal Law Firm of the Year award at the Benchmark Canada Awards gala.

Brenda Pritchard is an advertising and marketing law partner in Gowling WLG's Toronto office. For over 30 years, Pritchard has worked tirelessly to expand the firm's recognition in this dynamic practice area and has trained and mentored many successful practitioners, with a particular emphasis on team-building with other women. She has acted as a trusted legal and business adviser to many of the world's top brands and creative agencies, and her expertise and thirst for unconventional solutions have made her a top choice for clients.

Pritchard is the co-author of Advertising and Marketing Law in Canada, and throughout the years has taken on pivotal roles within the firm — including serving as leader of the Advertising & Product Regulatory Group and the Manufacturing Industry Group. She was most recently recognized in Acritas Stars, Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, Chambers Canada and Best Lawyers in Canada. Pritchard is also the co-chair of the International Bar Association's North American Regional Forum.

Tina Woodside is one of Canada's leading corporate and securities lawyers and one of Gowling WLG Canada's two firm managing partners. As internal firm managing partner, Woodside is responsible for the implementation and management of the internal and professional-based strategies, policies and performance of the firm. Prior to this role, she co-led the firm's Corporate Finance, M&A and Private Equity practices.

Over 15 years ago, Woodside co-founded the Women's Initiative Group (WIG) - a group committed to helping female lawyers network with clients and develop professionally within the firm. Today, WIG's mission continues through Gowling WLG Realizing Opportunities for Women (GROW). Woodside has been actively involved in a number of public, private and non-profit boards and previously served on the Ontario Securities Commission's Securities Advisory Committee.

A complete list of this year's Lexpert Zenith Award winners is available in the June issue of Lexpert magazine.