498 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 4 J U L Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE
THE LAWYERING YEARS
Marion was surprised to discover that doing well in law school did not guarantee
articles for a woman in the 1970s. Pressed repeatedly on whether she
seriously intended to practise law and if she might have more children, she
once retorted to the interrogator on an eight-man panel, “Do you have children?”
“Of course.” “Well, it hasn’t slowed you down, has it?” End of interview.
Finally, at her interview at Russell & DuMoulin (now Faskens), she
asked, “What are you looking for in an articling student?” “Well, eighty-five
per cent marks and fifteen per cent personality.” At last! She replied, “Well,
you have seen my marks, and I can promise you I have at least a fifteen per
cent personality!” She got the position on the spot.
These are Bill Berardino, Q.C.’s recollections of Marion at Russell &
Marion came to R & D as an articled student in 1977. She quickly gained the
confidence of three of the most respected and capable barristers in the
province: Allan McEachern, John Steeves and Michael Goldie. Despite the
fact that each of her mentors had remarkably different styles and approaches
to practice and advocacy, Marion had their absolute trust and confidence.
She had a reputation for grabbing the nettle and coming through with flying
colours in trials, appeals, arbitrations and criminal matters.
And Marion could think on her feet. On one occasion when crossexamining
a key witness in a commercial trial, she placed a document before
the witness, who broke into a smile. “Why are you smiling?” Marion asked.
“Because you aren’t going to like my answer,” replied the witness. Without
missing a beat, Marion retorted, “Well then, I’m not going to ask the question!”
Being a female litigator in the early 1980s had its own challenges. Junioring,
and hoping to impress, a senior lawyer at one long commercial trial,
Marion was given the task of cross-examining one of the two key defendants
in the trial. Focusing intently on the task, she was interrupted by the defendant’s
lawyer who handed her a note: “You’re cute when you crossexamine.”
Not to be deterred, she looked up at the bench and said: “My Lord,
my learned friend has passed me a note and I would like to read it into the
record.” The only sound in the courtroom was a choking sound from her
As one of the first female litigators at R & D, Marion took an interest in
the careers of the younger women in the firm. She was a mentor to many,
always ready to listen, quick to offer help when needed and to give credit
where credit was due. When Marion was appointed to the bench she took
with her an exceptional breadth of experience, understanding of the law
and commitment to legal ethics that made her uniquely qualified to be an