Despite her many accomplishments, Trisha Jackson is surprised to receive the Law Society Medal, she tells Law Times

Better a Lawyer than an Actuary

August 24, 2009

Patricia Jackson will receive the Law Society Medal this year. But if not for some tough advice from her father, the legal profession may not have been blessed with her presence.

Trisha's father Syd Jackson, who was trained as an actuary and became president and CEO of Manufacturers Life Insurance Co., steered her away from the actuarial profession due to the long working hours.

"He said: 'You know, at the time I assumed you'd get a degree and get a job and it would be an interesting job, but I also thought you would probably get married and have children (both of which I’ve done) and that whatever job you had would require you to work 9 to 5, or even lesser hours once you had children. I knew that you couldn’t do that and be an actuary,'" says Trisha. "He jokingly added, 'If I'd known you were going to be a lawyer!'"

In hindsight, says Trisha, her father's advice against becoming an actuary was fortuitous. She now knows she was meant to be a lawyer. "It is one of those professions that allows you to specialize in different kinds of things, to think broadly in policy and advocacy terms about a whole range of subjects," she says. "All of those things were always of interest to me."

Trisha has created a diverse and successful litigation practice, putting her stamp on some of Canada's most important legal battles. She has appeared before every level of court in the province, as well as the Federal Court and Supreme Court of Canada. She has also been counsel at various administrative tribunals, and worked on government commissions, such as the inquiry into the Kingston Prison for Women, led by then-Ontario Court of Appeal justice Louise Arbour, who released her report on the matter in 1996.

Trisha has long been a part of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, currently serving as its vice president. She is a former director of The Advocates' Society and the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund Foundation, as well as a past member of the Ontario Judicial Council.

Despite the countless contributions she has made to society and the legal profession, Trisha's reaction to receiving the Law Society Medal is that she has "never been so surprised by anything in my life. And I still am."

Read the full article here.

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