born in Canada. I can’t say that either
country really loves the fact that you
have another citizenship. I really don’t
use my Canadian citizenship. I travel on
an American passport. … I’ve lived here
longer than I lived in Canada. I have a
Canadian passport, but I don’t use it. I
keep it with me just in case, especially
when I travel abroad. I don’t know if it’s
an urban myth, but they say people like
Canadians better. [Laughs]
Q: Tell me about your childhood.
A: I grew up in Ottawa, which is the capital.
It has, for its size, a lot of attractions. It has
the national art gallery and the national
theater. And it’s very beautifully located
geographically with nice ski areas and
has a famous canal you can skate on in
the winter—skate to work. People have
summer cottages within 60 miles of home.
It’s a nice place to grow up.
It’s relatively smaller than Washington
for being a federal capital, and it’s a little
more off the beaten track, which was done
strategically so it wouldn’t be attacked by
Americans. It was picked because it was
not on the border.
Q: Oh, yes, those skirmishes.
A: The War of 1812. The British were still
involved in the continent.
Q: Did you spend much time in the U.S.
as a child?
A: We went to Michigan to see my
grandparents every summer until my
grandfather died in ’ 67. I can remember
when we used to take two ferries across
the northern route. So coming to Michigan
every summer for two weeks was not that
common in the ’50s. Canadians weren’t as
Americanized; it wasn’t as homogenous.
Now you go to Ottawa and every mall looks
like it does here, even though Ottawa is 100
miles from the border. All the border cities
always looked like the U.S., but even Ottawa
now looks like the U.S. But in the ’50s and
’60s, everything wasn’t so Americanized.
Q: But you yourself became
A: My father could not understand why I
had to go to Harvard. This was 1973. I was
the baby of three girls. … There were like
12 years between my other sisters and me,
so I was different in every way. I sprang it
on them; I had not told them I had applied
to Harvard, and they thought I was going
to go to Canadian law school. My poor
father. I said, well, I got into Harvard, so
that’s where I’m going to go. It was 10
times more expensive than a Canadian law
school because they’re subsidized. They’re
public schools. He said, well, why do you
have to do that? I said, it’s a big name and
why wouldn’t you? You get in; you go. My
mother was the American and her father
had not finished high school; he was a
self-made man. In the great crash in ’ 29,
he had lost a lot and she had had to drop
out of college as a result of the crash, and
that had been a great trauma for her. So
for her, for me to go to Harvard was very
important. So they had a big discussion
about this. I was 20 when I went to Harvard
because I accelerated through school, and
I was not mature enough to understand all
the cultural issues that were behind it for
my parents. Now, as a parent paying for
my kids to go to school, I have a lot more
perspective on what these issues were.
Q: How did the embassy happen to know
A: She believed you should have the
citizenship of the country where you live
and raise your children—which I believe,
too; that’s why I’ve really adopted the
American … citizenship. She acquired
Canadian citizenship by marrying my
father. She kept her American [citizenship]
until her father died; when he died she
renounced her American citizenship. She
went into the [U.S.] embassy ... and it
happened to be the day they landed on the
moon. The whole staff was watching the
moon landing. They couldn’t believe that
someone was renouncing her American
citizenship on this patriotic day, so they
remembered her. I had a distinctive name,
and so they remembered the name.
Q: Was it difficult to be a woman in law
school at that time?
A: I think there was a book written about
the class before ours; the class of ’ 75
was the first class with a critical mass of
women. We weren’t the first women; we
were 20 years after the first women. But we
were 20 percent of the class, so you didn’t
feel alone. You weren’t picked on like the
first women were picked on and made to
feel that they didn’t belong there. We were
at least a critical mass.
Q: And in the job market, was it tough
being a woman?
A: If you were from a school like Harvard,
the really tough part was over. I think
that dam had been broken by the women
before us. I’m sure it was hard for women
from other schools. There were still many
barriers to be broken. At that time, my first
years in Chicago in 1976 to ’ 79, I was just
a “working girl,” so to speak, fresh out of
law school, just trying to do my job and
please the partners. I wasn’t trying to make
partner, break the glass ceiling, go on
maternity leave or work part time—issues
important to more experienced women
lawyers and issues that, within just a few
years, would really matter to me. Plus,
Chicago was pretty advanced in terms of
not overtly discriminating against women.
I worked three years in Chicago [and
married while there], and then moved here,
and I went by my maiden name. Nobody
here could fathom using your maiden
name professionally. … I just gave up. I