Joan Clark Q. C.
14. April 2020 | News

In Memory of Joan Clark Q. C., Member of Honour


Joan Clark, Q.C. died on April 8, 2020, at her home, at the age of 90.

After obtaining a B.A. from McGill University in Montréal, Canada, she pursued a law degree in French at the Université de Montréal and graduated magna cum laude at the top of the class with the Governor General’s Medal in 1954—the first woman to do so.

Admitted to the Bar of Québec, Joan Clark joined Ogilvy Renault in 1954, where she remained for the duration of her illustrious career. She was the first woman partner of the firm, the first woman head of a practice group (IP), and the first woman senior partner of the firm. She also became a member of the Bar of Alberta in 1977.

An accomplished and tenacious litigator before the courts, Joan Clark went three times to the Supreme Court of Canada as an appellant and she was successful each time, against the odds.

She was the first Canadian and the first woman to be named president of AIPPI. At the 1992 AIPPI Congress, in Japan, where she assumed the presidency, Joan Clark delivered the keynote speech to the assembled group with a portion in impeccable Japanese.

As president of AIPPI, she was the host of the 1995 Montréal Congress. She chaired the Study Committee on Enforcement of intellectual property Rights TRIPS. Joan was a Member of Honour.

In addition to her career in law, Joan Clark was passionate about the humane treatment of animals. Among the many advancements that she spearheaded; she convinced the Québec government to introduce progressive legislation to ensure the protection of animals.

Joan Clark received the designation Advocatus Emeritus from the Quebec Bar in 2007 and she was named Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008. She received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

From the Paris Congress in 1983 to the Toronto Congress in 2014, she attended many meetings of AIPPI throughout the world. She made many friends in the AIPPI family and will be missed.