Posts Tagged ‘Legal profession’

We aim to ‘walk the talk’: our Statement of Principle regarding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

November 9th, 2017 by Iler Campbell

As many of you have read in the media, and last week on our blog, the Law Society of Upper Canada has decided to take action to improve the circumstances of racialized lawyers and paralegals.

As lawyers, we are already required to follow the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct that apply to all lawyers in Ontario. Among other things, those Rules say that, “A lawyer has a duty to carry on the practice of law and discharge all responsibilities to clients, tribunals, the public and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity.” The Commentary on this particular Rule includes the following: “A lawyer has special responsibilities by virtue of the privileges afforded the legal profession and the important role it plays in a free and democratic society and in the administration of justice, including a special responsibility to recognize the diversity of the Ontario community, to protect the dignity of individuals, and to respect human rights laws in force in Ontario” (emphasis added).

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The Law Society’s Statement of Principles and what’s at stake

October 31st, 2017 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on rabble.ca

In 2012, the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) struck a Working Group to investigate the challenges faced by racialized licensees, who comprise approximately 18 per cent of lawyers in Ontario.

Unsurprisingly, the initial consultation report, which was prepared based on feedback from a range of individuals and organizations, concluded that overt discrimination and bias are a feature of daily life for many racialized licensees. Further to that initial report, the committee delivered a series of recommendations in a publication entitled “Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions” on December 2, 2016,  including a recommendation to increase Continuing Professional Development (CPD) offerings that deal with topics of racialization, requiring licensees to adopt a policy around human rights and diversity to promote fair recruitment, retention, and advancement, and developing “progressive compliance” mechanisms for workplaces that do not comply with the recommendations, or are identified as having systemic barriers to diversity and inclusion.

Amongst the 13 recommendations is a requirement that licensees working adopt a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in their behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public — a requirement that has ignited a firestorm in the legal profession.

Some members of the law society have taken to radio and print news to denounce the requirement as  “the most egregious kind of violation of freedom of speech” and an Orwellian Dictate. The Catholic Civil Rights League has objected to the Statement on the basis that it “may override core Christian beliefs.” Even Conrad Black (whose affiliations with the Law Society are unknown) published an editorial in which he condemned the Law Society for conferring “capricious dictatorial powers on its own administration.”

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Because it’s 2015: Calling for gender equality in the legal profession

December 17th, 2015 by Celia Chandler

This post was first published on rabble.ca

“Because it’s 2015″…

was the freshly minted PM’s response to the question, “why gender parity in the cabinet?” And good on him. I think we can all agree that equality of numbers is a start and can set a tone for the rest of society.

I’ve been reminded a few times lately that Justin’s tone of sunny ways regarding gender parity is sadly lacking in the legal profession. Read the rest of this entry