Women in Law Speaker Series hosts inspiring role models

Ninety-minute discussions with women practitioners occur March 11, 18 and 29

Helen Metella - 04 March 2021

Organizers of the 2021 Women in Law Speaker Series at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law believe its hallmark qualities — dynamic women lawyers inspiring a new generation during an intimate get-together — will be as prominent as ever during this year’s virtual format.

“Participants will hear from powerful women in law engaging on a personal level to not only talk about their professional careers but also about what shaped them as students leading to law school, and what shaped them during law school and after,” says Melissa Erickson, ‘21 JD, of the Women’s Law Forum which is presenting the event with the Faculty.

For the series, which runs on March 11, 18 and 29, Erickson and fellow organizer Annie Mushtaq, ‘21 JD, engaged women lawyers who have created a healthy balance between challenging careers, meaningful community involvement and other activities for which they hold a passion.

The virtual format also created a new opportunity to invite exceptional lawyers from outside Edmonton who would not necessarily be available for an in-person event in a normal year, says Erickson.

This year’s speakers include:

Rani Wong (March 11) a family law lawyer from Calgary with a background in corporate commercial law, who has been involved in diversity and inclusivity initiatives for the past two decades. Additionally, she’s “super-adventurous,” says Mushtaq.

“She’s been to all seven continents, climbed mountains, swam with sharks, is a full-time lawyer and still finds time to volunteer in her community. I’d love to hear how she manages her time and follows all her passions.”

Rosel Kim (March 18) is a staff lawyer at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) in Toronto. “She’s worked with this powerhouse feminist legal organization and she has a background as legal counsel for a financial tech company,” says Erickson. “LEAF has done incredible work on cyber misogyny, how women and girls experience abuse online.”

Myrna McCallum (March 29) is a human rights and criminal law practitioner with Miyo Pimatisiwin Legal Services in North Vancouver, and host of the Trauma-Informed Lawyer Podcast, which advocates a “do-no-further-harm approach” to the practice of law to benefit both clients and the lawyers supporting them.

“She’s an incredible advocate for having trauma-informed lessons in law school and (views it) as a missing piece of our education,” says Erickson. “How do we, as emerging lawyers, assist clients who have suffered the effects of trauma for generations?“


While the speaker series has, since its inception in 2017, hosted panels of women lawyers speaking to small groups of students, because of this year’s virtual format the organizers expect a broader attendance. For that reason, only one speaker is booked each day and each session runs from noon to 1:30 p.m.

To kick off each discussion on March 11, 18 and 29, speakers will be asked, “What would you tell your 1L self?”

“Representation really does matter,” says Mushtaq. “Law students need to see women doing this incredible work in their communities and in the legal profession in order to see themselves doing it in the future, too.”


March 11, noon - 1:30pm
Rani Wong

March 18, noon - 1:30pm
Rosel Kim

March 29, noon - 1:30pm
Myrna McCallum