Speech - Mid-winter - Juliet Knapton


CBA Mid-Winter Meeting, February 17, 2013, Mont Tremblant, Québec


Bonjour and Good morning fellow CBA members and colleagues;

Je m’appelle Juliet Knapton et je suis la Présidente du comité en matière d'égalité de l’association du barreau de l'Ontario et une avocate de litige.

What makes Janet stand out as a leader? Why choose her as our President? Here are FIVE reasons:

1)      Janet is curious

She has an open-mind.

Janet once told me, “One of the reasons I love the CBA is that I meet all kinds of people; they make me think outside my specific practice area - about the challenges facing our profession and possible solutions.”

2)      Janet is humble

Humility makes us good listeners.

As a young lawyer, when I first met Janet, I expected her to shake my hand, sv=can the room and move on. But to my surprise, she was totally focused on understanding what I did and what my opinions were and she treated me with every bit of respect and interest as if I was her peer…this is special.

3)      Janet has a voice

You don’t become the first woman partner in 100 years of your firm’s history if you don’t speak up. You don’t become a full equity partner if you cannot defend your decisions. You don’t chair your partnership meetings if you are afraid to lead.

And you don’t gain the respect of young lawyers or female associates or equality seeking groups if you are afraid to tackle the tough topics of mentorship, parental leave and diversity.

Janet has done all of these things and knows that good leadership requires an ability to negotiate and make the tough calls.


4)      Janet has a brain and she uses it

 She was recently recognized in the 2013 World Trademark Review 1000 – The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals from which I quote:

The “phenomenal” Janet Fuhrer is the biggest name [at this IP stalwart] and a “brilliant prosecution strategist”.

On top of all of this:

5)      Janet has a heart

When she was a student and a young lawyer, Janet worked in legal aid clinics. When she completed her LLM in e-business, she donated her 50 hour practicum time to the March of Dimes. Today, Queen’s, the United Way and our own CBA’s Law for the Future Fund are among her favourite organizations to support.

Janet believes in giving back and she is making a point of doing so …

 The president must be more than a good speaker, the role of the CBA President is to be a spokesperson who goes beyond the podium to represent our organization in the negotiation room, at dinners, in front of the media – who is discerning in her comments and astute in her choice of words.

Janet will take pride in each of our successes, and will play a key role in developing and sustaining our profession.  She will hit the ground running.

As Chair of the OBA Equality Committee, I have been impressed with Janet’s commitment to understanding and addressing the issues that face all of us today.

Janet has the vision and the skills and will make us proud to be part of the CBA.

It is refreshing and inspiring to meet someone who cares so much and walks the walk.