658 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE
cipal) but she went on to repeat the feat, graduating from Simon Fraser University
with a bachelor of arts degree (majoring in criminology) in 1987.
Janet pressed on to law school at UBC. Here, another unique accomplishment
reveals itself. While in her first year of law school, Janet gave birth to
her first child, Michael. Undeterred by the pressures of early parenthood
and law school, in her third year Janet had her second child, Brittany. Janet
graduated from law school, with a three-year-old and a one-year-old, in 1991.
Janet began her practice at Alexander Holburn, where she worked fulltime
with two small children. By this time Janet was a single parent, raising
her two children while maintaining a busy civil practice. This does not
make Janet unique. Many women have similar stories of success and
achievement. What does make Janet unique, however, is that she made a
conscious decision that at no point would she pit her family and her career
against each other. Both would receive her unfailing commitment and her
full passion, and she would not allow her dedication to one to compromise
her equal commitment to the other.
Later, when Brittany and Michael were a little older, Janet began practising
criminal law with J.J. McIntyre. Janet also met her now husband,
Owen. Together, Janet and Owen formed a unique family of hockey players:
Michael, Brittany, and Owen’s two children, Evan and Ryan. All four
kids were close in age. Owen soon earned the title “Coach Owen” for his
propensity to coach the kids’ hockey teams. As those close to Janet and
Owen will know, Coach Owen is always on duty and is actively engaged in
supporting Janet’s work, often contributing useful game strategy to the law.
Janet continued her life’s work being a mother and a lawyer, most days
simultaneously performing both of these functions in the parking lots of
hockey arenas. Later, and when Janet and Owen had a house brimming
with pre-teens, Janet and Owen welcomed their fifth child, Zefan, into the
family and, of course, the family hockey team. And not a single child of
Janet and Owen’s has yet to run away to California, though several have
skipped town on hockey scholarships.
Janet’s work is itself unique. The stark reality is that there are a mere
handful of female criminal defence lawyers. In this respect Janet distinguishes
herself. Quietly, and case by case, Janet has become one of the
leaders of the criminal bar at a time when the system is engaged in deep
self-reflection, pondering what more can be done to ensure that women are
not excluded from the highest ranks of the profession.
Because of her skill, ethics and determination, there is perhaps no better
mentor for young defence lawyers—be they female or male—than Janet Winteringham.
Janet takes this responsibility seriously. Her commitment to