25th Anniversary Profile: Carole Curtis

Carole Curtis decided to become a lawyer in the early seventies during her undergraduate studies when she saw the boozy jocks she hung around with get into law school so easily. So, why not?

The why not turned itself into a career in family law and, rather than joining the jocks, she’s dedicated herself to defending the legal rights of women and children; always keeping in mind her father’s advice that she could be and do whatever she wanted ……. provided she was willing to take the consequences. Carole now gets in your face, uses her righteous indignation and lets you know that it’s not the end, all for the benefit of women.

As a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 1991, she’s used her position to support positive change for women in Ontario family law. In her seven year role as architect of Ontario’s new family law rules, she has won the respect of both her friends and sparring partners in the Law Society.

At the end of the day Carole doesn’t shut the door on the assaulted and abandoned women and sexually abused children whom she sees every day in her independent law practice. She continues to lobby on their behalf.

To help bring about the legislative change necessary to help women and children, Carole gives her time and expertise to the National Association of Women and the Law and speaks out publicly on NAWL’s behalf. As with so many of NAWL’s dedicated members, the organization had a hand in shaping her early experiences as a law student at the University of Windsor.

“There were few feminist lawyers way back then,” says Carole. The few women who took up the cause attracted a lot of adverse attention. “I had women friends in other law schools, at the time, and that helped.” So did her association with a truly fledgling NAWL. Yes, she did attend the founding meeting in Windsor and the conference in Winnipeg in 1974. Like most students she was flat broke and made it to the Winnipeg conference on a scholarship. Since then she hasn’t looked back on her commitment to women’s issues.

It hasn’t been easy. As Carole says, “Despite my high energy level and commitment, I’ve had to make difficult choices to do what I wanted to do. My advice to young women entering the profession? Have the confidence to define your own measures for success.”

To Carole, all of us at NAWL can only say … thank you.