SOLD OUT! CLA Women in Criminal Law Conference – Find the Force Within You

Date: Saturday, May 4, 2024

Saturday, May 4, 2024, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Conference – In-Person
Taboo Muskoka Resort & Golf -1209 Muskoka Beach Rd, Gravenhurst, ON, P1P 1R1


CPD Confirmed!

  • 3 hours and 15 minutes Professionalism
  • 3 hours Substantive. Note, if attending the optional Saturday evening social, an additional 30 minutes Substantive can be claimed. (if hours are not needed for professionalism they can be added to).

CLA Women in Criminal Law Conference – Find the Force Within You

The Women in Law Conference returns IN PERSON for the first time in five years. With significant financial support from the CLA, we are offering members a $50.00 credit to be applied to each hotel night and a reduced registration cost. For the first time ever, there will be multiple social/networking events, along with mentorship roundtables after each substantive panel to encourage our colleagues to get to know and learn from one another.

Email women@criminallawyers.ca if you are interested in carpooling or sharing a room with a colleague. We will do everything we can to assist.

*NOTE – Participants are encouraged to come up Friday night and leave Sunday to get the full force of the conference.

*Breakfast and lunch are included on Saturday

Conference Agenda:

8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
Start your morning off right with Neha Chugh and Anne Marie McElroy and learn marketing strategies on how to build your brand over breakfast.

9:00 a.m. to 9:03 a.m. Introductory remarks by Sam Puchala, Velox Law Professional Corporation, co-chair of the CLA Women’s Committee

9:03 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
Impossible to see, the future is: How to achieve success on your own terms
Fireside chat with Kim Schofield. A discussion on best practices for building a career in private practice.

9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Mentoring roundtable discussion

  • Roundtable discussion on achieving success on your own terms.
  • Tables will be assigned so that participants are sitting with other participants of a similar year of call, along with one senior mentor
  • Participants remain at their assigned table for all mentoring discussions

10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they: Dealing with difficult clients, judges and Crowns
The panel discusses common (and uncommon) experiences and offers solutions.

Moderator: Kally Ho – Savard Foy

11:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. BREAK

11:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
You must unlearn what you have learned

  • A candid discussion about “work life balance.”
  • Is there such a thing as work life balance in private practice?

Moderator: Danielle Landry – The Ross Firm Professional Corporation

12:00 p.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Mentoring roundtable discussion

  • Discussion with roundtable about establishing boundaries
  • Discussion on what has and has not worked for the participants
  • Participants remain at their assigned table for all mentoring discussions

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. LUNCH

1:30 to 2:15 p.m.
You will find only what you bring in: How to make money in private practice
Advice on how to build your business and make money practicing criminal defence from panelists with different private practice structures

Moderator: Melody Izadi – Caramanna, Friedberg LLP

2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Mentoring roundtable discussion 

  • Discussion with roundtable about how to make money in private practice
  • Discussion on what has and has not worked for the participants
  • Participants remain at their assigned table for all mentoring discussions

2:30 to 3:15 p.m.
Pass on what you have learned: Lessons from the Bench
Female jurists discuss what women in the criminal defence bar need to know about effectively practising criminal law

Moderator: Michelle Psutka – Fenton Law Barristers

3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Mentoring roundtable discussion

  • Discussion with roundtable about how to implement the advice provided in Lessons from the Bench
  • Participants remain at their assigned table for all mentoring discussions

3:30 to 4:15 p.m.  
Your path you must decide: Taking risks and embracing career changes
Each of the panelists will discuss a significant career change they made                 

  • Megan Savard – Savard Foy LLP
  • Rebecca Amoah – Addario Law Group LLP
  • Keli Mersereau – Keli D. Mersereau Criminal Law Office

Moderator: Maya Borooah – Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP

Social Events

1.  Friday evening – A fireside chat with your colleagues: Bonfire and S’Mores from 8 to 10:00 p.m. (Free – But pre-registration is required – Refundable deposit of $10.00 once attendance is confirmed for this otherwise free event)

 2.  Saturday evening – THE BACKYARD BBQ – Private Dining Room overlooking Lake Muskoka from 6 to 9:00 p.m. Key Note – Justice Michelle Fuerst  – Closing remarks – Laura Metcalfe, Addario Law Group LLP, co-chair of the CLA Women’s Committee


  • Heritage Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Vegetables & House Vinaigrette
  • Creamy Pasta Salad with Peppers & Lemon
  • Beyond Meat Burgers &  Prime Rib Beef Burgers
  • Nathans Coney Island Frankfurter
  • Fixins: Broiche Buns, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Pickles, Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Assorted Mustard, Cheddar Cheese, Swiss Cheese
  • Kettle Chips /Seasonal Fruit Platter /Taboo Smore’s Bars


  • $55 plus HST for Members (not included with registration)
  • $65 plus HST for Non-Members (not included with registration)

3. Sunday morning – On Many Long Journeys I Have Gone: Guided Nature Hike & Photography Tour- Take in the scenery and learn a few tricks to get the best pictures of your time at Taboo from 9 to 10:00 a.m  (Free – But pre-registration is required – Refundable deposit of $10.00 once attendance is confirmed for this otherwise free event)   

Conference Pricing:
  • $230 plus HST for CLA Senior Full/Observer Member and Affiliates
  • $210 plus HST for CLA Junior Full/Observer Member
  • $185 plus HST for CLA Articling Student Member/Mat leave
  • $125 plus HST for CLA Student Member
  • $300 plus HST for Non-Member Legal Professional
  • $215 plus HST for Non-Member Articling Students or Students



Accommodations can be booked directly online by inputting 502798 in the promotional code field. If you prefer to book by phone please call Robyn Hardy, Reservations Manager at 705-687-2233 X 5416. (Note: each room will be credited $50.00 per night booked. The credit will appear on the final bill.

Deadline to reserve accommodations at Taboo is April 26, 2024 

Register online by going to  https://members.criminallawyers.ca/event-5616183 You can also register over the phone with credit card information by calling the CLA office, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET at 416-214-9875.

* Not a current member of the CLA? Find out more about membership by going to https://members.criminallawyers.ca/joinus



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