Women in Law Dean’s Speaker Series

This series provides students the chance to attend informal conversations with women leaders and mentors about their experiences in the profession.

2018 Schedule:

  • January 11

    • Maura Sutherland
      Executive Director, Legal Education Society of Alberta

      Maura O. Sutherland’s legal experience includes public law practice and legal education. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of LESA and Director of CPLED Alberta, Maura was leading an organizational learning office within Alberta Justice and Solicitor General (AJSG). Before that, she spent close to 10 years providing specialized advisory services on public, Aboriginal, and administrative law matters—often on complex cross-Ministry initiatives, legislation and policy. Maura articled with AJSG in 2005/2006 and she has practiced law since 2006. Maura gained both her undergraduate degree (First Class Honours in Sociology) and her law degree (LLB) consecutively at the University of Alberta in 2002 and 2005.

    • Mona Duckett, QC
      Criminal Defense lawyer and Partner, Dawson Duckett Shaigec LLP

      • Practicing criminal defence and related administrative law in Edmonton, Alberta since 1984;
      • Member of the Law Society of Alberta; Bencher 2000-2006; President (2006);
      • Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers since 2003, Provincial Committee Chair 2009 – 2010; Regent 2017
      • Council Member for Alberta to Federation of Law Societies of Canada 2007-2012;
      • Milvain Chair in Advocacy, 2009;
      • Legal Aid Alberta Access to Justice Award recipient 2009;
      • Women in Law Leadership Award recipient 2014 – Leadership in the community
      • Member and Past President (1993) of the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association;
      • Sessional instructor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in Advanced Criminal Law, Professional Responsibility and Advocacy;
      • Faculty of National Criminal Law Program 2000-2015;
      • Board member Alberta Law Reform Institute 2012 to present;
      • Member CBA International Development Committee 2012-2017;
      • Provincial Court Nominating Committee; member 2015-17; Chair 2018-20
      • Lecturer for various conferences and seminars including the Alberta Bar Admission/ CPLED course, Legal Education Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association, the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, the Edmonton Police Service and the National Judicial Institute; Member, CBA China Project Advisory Council 2007-2008 and guest instructor in China 2004 and 2008
  • January 16

    • Madam Justice Michele Hollins
      Court of Queen’s Bench Justice

      Originally from Saskatchewan, Michele obtained her B.Sc. from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas in 1987 and then her LL.B. from the U of S in 1992. After clerking at the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, she worked at McCarthy Tétrault in Calgary, Alberta until 2001, when she joined the firm of Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP. She became a partner in 2004 and received her Queen’s Counsel designation in 2008.

      Before her appointment to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in March of 2017, Michele had a varied civil and commercial litigation practice, with a focus on employment law. She had extensive courtroom experience before all levels of Alberta Courts and from 2012-2013, was Lead Counsel to the Provincial Public Inquiry regarding Preferential Access to Health Care.

      Michele was involved in the Canadian Bar Association for many years, including serving as the National President from 2014-2015. She received the Louis St. Laurent Award for service to the CBA in 2010 and the Women in Law Leadership Award in 2013.

    • Koren Lightning-Earle
      Indigenous Initiatives Liaison for the Law Society of Alberta

  • January 23

    • Rita Sumka, Q.C.
      Former Executive Director, Department of Legal Services, AB

      Most of Rita Sumka’s legal career with Alberta Justice and Solicitor General’s Legal Services Division (JSG) was focused on supporting vulnerable Albertans. Ms. Sumka’s involvement in children, family and broader social service matters was initially as a front-line lawyer where she provided the full range of family law related barrister and solicitor services provided by JSG until she transitioned into the area of family law reform. Here, she played a significant role in the development and implementation of the current Family Law Act and contributed nationally through a number of cross jurisdictional working groups connected to the Family Law Canadian Counsel of Senior Officials.

      During the course of her career with JSG, Ms. Sumka was trusted to take on increasingly complex, multi - interest leadership responsibilities. Before her retirement in 2017 as Executive Director of Government Legal Services, Ms. Sumka had the oversight responsibility for the legal services provided to the Government of Alberta by Legal Services’ Aboriginal Law, Health Law, Municipal Affairs /Service Alberta, Human Services and Social Enhancement (formerly Family Law) legal teams. She managed complex, challenging and sensitive legal issues in these areas as well as on a wide range of legal topics.

    • Karen Hewitt, QC
      Crown Prosecutor, Department of Justice and Solicitor General, AB

  • February 8

    • Darlene Scott, QC
      Partner, Dentons

      Darlene is a proud graduate of the University of Alberta Law School (1984). She has practiced in Edmonton in the areas of commercial law, real estate and finance in medium to large law firms for her entire career. She has served as a Bencher of the Law Society since 2013 and received her QC designation in 2015. She has been an instructor at the University of Alberta law school and Faculty of Extension and has chaired and participated in numerous LESA courses on business law topics and legal opinions. She is currently acting as Chair of the Alberta Law Foundation.

    • Cori Ghitter
      Director, Professionalism and Policy, Law Society of Alberta

      Cori was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. She received her LLB in 1994 from the University of Calgary and her LLM in 2000 from the University of British Columbia. Cori’s graduate work focused on the unequal compensation of young female and indigenous plaintiffs in personal injury actions.

      After being called to the Bar, Cori practiced law as a civil litigator and then worked as Legal Counsel to the Court of Appeal for several years. Prior to joining the Law Society of Alberta, she was the Director of Recruitment and Professional Development in the Calgary office of Dentons LLP where she was responsible for all aspects of student, associate and income partner career development including hiring, training, evaluation, coaching and compensation. During her time at Dentons, Cori was active in developing pro bono and diversity initiatives for the firm, including the Justicia Project and an Internationally Trained Lawyers Program.

      In her current role, Cori oversees the proactive, early intervention programs at the Law Society of Alberta and is responsible for the development of equity and diversity policies including the Law Society’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

      Cori has taught several courses at the University of Calgary Law and Society department and was a member of the Stewardship Group of the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative. She currently serves as a Director on the Board of Vibrant Communities Calgary and has previously served as a Director on the Boards of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations and the YWCA of Calgary.

    • Cheryl Gibson, QC
      Partner, Dentons, and Olympic Silver Medalist

  • February 13

    • Jung Lee
      Director, Legal, Corporate and Compliance, Encana

      Jung is currently Director of Legal Services at Encana Corporation where she oversees all Canadian disputes, Canadian & US employment, privacy, ethics and compliance and regulatory matters. In her role, she advises a wide variety of business groups within the company, including operations, joint ventures, risk group, government relations, environmental compliance, mineral land, business development, HR, supply chain and Aboriginal. She has been involved in international and domestic commercial arbitrations, class actions/arbitrations, mediations and various commercial litigation matters. She is also responsible for developing and coordinating litigation governance and management processes to ensure cross-border consistency and efficiency within the company.

      Jung received her LLB from the University of Alberta in 2001, after which she went on to article with the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal. Prior to joining Encana Corp. in 2014, she was a Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP in Calgary where she practiced for 12 years in the firm’s litigation practice group. While there, she focused on commercial litigation and arbitration and has acted in complex international and domestic arbitrations, Aboriginal litigation, and judicial reviews and has appeared at all levels of Court on litigation matters. She also provided wide range of employment advice to clients in the energy sector.

    • Teresa Haykowsky
      Partner, McLennan Ross

      Teresa advises on management-side labour and employment law for organizations from many different industry sectors in Alberta, Quebec and Nunavut. She provides recommendations on the labour and employment aspect of day-to-day issues. Her work includes labour and employment litigation, arbitrations, human rights, collective bargaining, draft of employment contracts, non-competition and confidentiality agreements, harassment policies and general employment policies and practices. She has also appeared before every level of Court in Alberta, the Supreme Court of Canada, Alberta Labour Relations Board, Canada Industrial Relations Board, various Human Rights Tribunals, Arbitration Boards and other administrative tribunals, including hearings before school boards of trustees.