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International Womens' day

Barbara Worndl

Partner and practice group leader, Aird & Berlis LLP, Toronto, Canada

    Barbara Worndl

I always knew that I wanted a profession that gave me the opportunity for a good career.

I was drawn to law for a few reasons. First, my father was a lawyer and I had the greatest respect for my father’s integrity and intelligence. Second, I am interested in intellectual debate and I thought (wrongly!) that I would be a litigator. Finally, I like to read and to think about issues. And so, I settled on the law as my chosen profession. 

When I graduated from my undergraduate degree in the early 1980s, women had fewer opportunities. However, as a young lawyer, a senior partner said to me that your reputation is what will define your career. I have taken that to heart. I have worked hard to learn to be a good tax lawyer and to earn trust and respect from my clients and colleagues. 

During my career, there have been many highlights. I was fortunate to be made a partner early in my career. There were only two other women partners in my firm at that time, and none in the business law area. Becoming a partner made other young women lawyers in our firm see that they too could be made partner.

My role can be challenging and fast-paced – which I enjoy. I have had the opportunity to work on many interesting cross-border transactions, and - as the leader of our Tax and Estates Group - I will continue to build our group into one of the best tax and estates groups in Canada

For anyone wanting a career in the law, there is great opportunity for success if you work hard. However, it is very important to remember that your job is only one part of your life. I have three daughters, and – while it was very busy when they were young - I made sure that we had lots of quality family time. I want to support the young lawyers in our group and in our firm so that they can be successful and have a fulfilling professional and personal life. While balancing my family and career was sometimes a challenge, it was definitely worth it.