Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 11, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why WeirFoulds LLP was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
- New moms at WeirFoulds LLP receive maternity leave top-up payments for six to 17 weeks (varying by position) and may have the opportunity to take advantage of alternative work options to help balance their work and personal lives
- WeirFoulds LLP encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm with generous new employee referral bonuses, from $1,500 to $3,000 for successful new hires
WeirFoulds adds a modern outlook to a rich heritage
Founded over 150 years ago, WeirFoulds is one of the oldest law firms in Canada, but it prides itself on being up to date and inclusive in everything it does. "Law is a business that's constantly evolving so we have to adapt to keep up," says Managing Partner Wayne Egan. "We try to humanize the way we treat each other and our clients, and we're good at it. We're committed to excellence. There are many excellent law firms in Toronto but we have a great culture as well. We also like to think our long history gives us stability."
Egan isn't alone in thinking highly of the WeirFoulds culture. "This is a very progressive firm," says Sandra Noe, a Law Clerk in the Regulatory Practice Group with 30 years' experience in the legal field. "At other firms where I've worked, I haven't seen the same level of involvement in issues that are relevant to the times. It's a very nurturing culture. We have wonderful specialized practice groups here, but they all work together."
Noe joined WeirFoulds in 2007 as a Legal Assistant to a lawyer specializing in administration and constitutional law with a focus on human rights. After a two-year break for family reasons, she returned to work for the same lawyer in 2015 and was promoted to Regulatory Law Clerk in November 2018.
"Hard work is appreciated and recognized and there are lots of meaningful opportunities, not only for lawyers," she says. "For example, I'm part of the firm's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. And the size is nice. I've worked for very large firms, which aren't as collegial just because of their scale."
With approximately 220 employees, about half of whom are lawyers and the other half professional staff, WeirFoulds was ranked the top regional firm in Ontario by Canadian Lawyer magazine in both 2015 and 2017.
Supporting women in the legal profession is a priority, Egan says: "Like other firms, we have a challenge. Law schools are graduating a more-or-less even split of men and women, and the industry is hiring equally, but we aren't turning them into partners. The industry needs more women in leadership roles.
"We really are trying to address this. Of the six partners on our Management Committee, three are women, and it's the same on our Profit Allocation Committee. And through a program called WeirFoulds Women we support women legal professionals both internally and externally. We have an intensive new coaching program to connect women lawyers and help them advance their careers, and we host networking events to support women clients beyond providing legal services."
Career development opportunities for WeirFoulds employees include coaching and a mentorship program that matches up younger lawyers with mentors in other areas of expertise to allow for the widest possible discussions.
The firm offers a range of benefits, such as an employee and family assistance program and access to a total well-being platform, and is very involved in giving back, both to the legal profession and the wider community. "We have a history of partners going on to senior positions in the profession and we donate time and money to charitable work for our clients, such as SickKids," says Egan.
He also points to the firm's advanced use of technology, particularly in enhancing the ability to work from home: "We've been told by new people coming into the firm that our IT systems work very well remotely, allowing them to operate seamlessly from home."
For Noe, one of the most satisfying aspects of working at WeirFoulds is the feeling of teamwork. "It's very inspiring to see the notable cases our people have worked on," she says. "There's a lot of pride and a sense of belonging in the idea that we did that."