Public Inquiry - Lisa Borsook

Name: Lisa Borsook
Firm: WeirFoulds LLP
City: Toronto
Age: I can’t remember
Current gigs: Borsook was recently elected managing partner at WeirFoulds LLP, one of the few women to lead a law firm in Canada. She describes herself as a practising lawyer, wife, and mother.

Q:    What first interested you in law?
A:    My mother was called to the bar in the United States before moving to Canada. She talked about it all the time. I recollect that she made it sound exciting and challenging. She never actually practised.
Q:    What type of law do you practice?
A:    Principally, commercial leasing and property development, with some corporate work as well.

Q:    Is it the type of law you always dreamed you’d practice?
A:    I came to WeirFoulds to do litigation, with special interest in municipal law. In hindsight, not being a litigator has worked out fabulously well for me. I think that my current practice suits my temperament and my schedule.

Q:    Is there something that you memorized long ago and still remember?
A:    I remember everything and nothing. I can remember word for word a section out of a document that I drafted months ago, but I forget things I should remember, like birthdays and anniversaries.

Q:    What quality do you admire most in others and why?
A:    In the practice of law, that’s easy - integrity. I am also a big fan of forthrightness and brevity. Lawyers are too expensive to waste their clients’ money on hours of not getting to the point. In everyone else - a terrific sense of humour.

Q:    How do you deal with the daily stresses and anxiety of the practice of law or of being the managing partner of a law firm?
A:    I exercise. Generally, I do not feel anxious, except perhaps when I fly, or when I am away from home for extended periods of time. But I am never really anxious about my work. I try to be objective. That insulates you from a lot of stress and anxiety. That and exercise. I have been a member of the firm’s management committee for a very long time, but I am still in transition as managing partner. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Q:    What advice would you give to women joining the law profession today?
A:    The best advice to give to any lawyer is to listen more and talk less. To women in particular, most of whom have to keep several balls in the air at the same time, I would advise learning to prioritize and schedule, in a way that will advantage both your family and your colleagues. You should try not to waste any time during your day on things that are more appropriately delegated to others that are better suited or more adept at taking care of those types of things. Also, keep your shoes under your desk so that you don’t have to cart them to and from your house in the winter.

Q:    Which word or phrase do you feel you overuse?
A:    Excellent.

Q:    What is your favourite restaurant?
A:    I love the Keg at lunch and Bymark is terrific. Almost any place Japanese or Indian.
Q:    What is your theme song?
A:    Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.

Q:    What are five things you can’t live without?
A:    My family and friends; work; exercise; peanut butter and coffee; the movies.

Q:    What’s the funniest thing you ever heard said in a courtroom?
A:    I never set foot in a courtroom. Ever.

Q:    Who is the smartest person you know?
A:    That’s a hard one. My husband is very smart. My sister is pretty intuitive about people. My dad is smart about all things mechanical. My kids say things that I think are absolutely brilliant, but I am not really objective about them. I have colleagues who are extraordinarily smart about a lot of different things. No one person I guess.

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