Diversity in the Legal Profession
A Call to Action Canada held a symposium in Toronto on Sept. 15. Co-founder Joy Casey talks about why it’s important for companies and law firms to move beyond discussion and take real action.
A Call to Action Canada, which aims to promote diversity in the legal profession held a symposium September 15, in Toronto. Lawyers attending had the opportunity to hear from a number of speakers address issues such as the challenges facing aberrational lawyers and how the entire of the attorney general has worked to create an environment of sustainable diversity. and inclusion, key note speaker John Tory, who is co-chair of Diverse City opened the event. He spoke to the audience about the importance of diversity in legal departments.
A Call to Action co-founder and organizer of the symposium, Joy Casey, acknowledge that there is a sense of diversity fatigue in the profession as such firms haven’t done enough to make diversity a priority.
Watch more of the video, to hear Joy Casey’s passion for change, and why change is happening for a greater need.
Kevin Derbyshire guest speaker at A Call to Action Canada
Former Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, E.I. DuPont Canada Company
Speaking on behalf of diversity
I just wanted to Segway into this comment, what we need to do, and what I am doing, and what David Allgood at RBC is doing, and what we are going to have a series of discussions after this, is to let you guys know, is we are pushing the message amongst the GC community, so I sit on the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association Board with GC’s across Canada, and I am putting on the agenda “Diversity”. What does it mean, and in our commitment as GC’s to it and are we prepared to move our money with it or against it. Right, and those kinds of questions, I think, have to be raised and those kinds of discussions have to be had and that kind of ground well is so important, and I guess the last thing that I would say is, while we all have to do our part, I think that the in-house bar is really the one that really needs to set an example in this regard and when I in the push that I have been doing with my fellow GC’s, I have been asking, you name the large company and I have been speaking to the GC, “Why aren’t you involved in this”.
Many say “well, we’ve got our own” initiatives and we’re comfortable with those initiatives.” And my comment is “Well, why can’t we coleus and link those initiatives.” There is a fair amount of my backyards ok, so I don’t need to get involved in any other organizations. I just wanted to offer that to the group as well hearing directly from my colleagues from the GC community. You know making these kinds of comments or the one that we had when I spoke at the last session here in November, and the economic times have really got us, you know, prioritize different things. Well that’s just not good enough. That’s just not an answer to the significant issue.Continue reading
The MCCA network extends its congratulations to board member Hinton J. Lucas, DuPont Company’s vice president and assistant general counsel, upon being recognized by A Call to Action Canada for his leadership and advocacy to advance diversity efforts in law firms outside the U.S. The group has established an annual award that is named in his honor, and the inaugural awards were presented to both Mr. Lucas and Kevin Derbyshire, general counsel of DuPont Canada.
In 2009, Mr. Lucas and MCCA general counsel Brandon Fitzgerald traveled to Ontario to speak at a diversity summit organized by a group of Canadian lawyers who wished to launch their own equivalent to the Call to Action, which was set in motion in 2004 by senior corporate legal officers in the United States. Its mission is to encourage and support in-house counsel in taking a leadership role in advancing diversity and inclusiveness in the legal profession. Signatories insist that their outside law firms demonstrate a true commitment to the full participation and advancement of women and minority lawyers within law firms. They also limit or terminate relationships with firms that demonstrate a lack of interest in being diverse and inclusive.
These efforts have been ongoing; so far, three corporations have signed A Call to Action Canada—DuPont Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, and Accenture LLP. For more information, visit www.acalltoactioncanada.com.
Hinton Lucas, Assistant General Counsel for DuPont speak on the “Call to Action” in many corporations and law firms in the United States.
We talked about the Call to Action in the United States starting out and around the year 2004, even prior to that time many corporations and law firms were doing an awful lot of work in this particular area in this arena. But as a Call to Action has demonstrated there is so much more that needs to be done. In our company, we are committed to diversity and to inclusion. If you will take a look at in the United States, the question was asked, we talked about affirmative action, we have evolved from affirmative action to the word diversity to now most people use the terms more and more of inclusion.
It was mentioned earlier, that we are talking more about just minorities, we are talking about all kinds of different inclusion by having a breath of input, and breath of knowledge of all people you do get a better product. Now we know that any advances in this particular area that all of us have been working on for years and years, are incremental at best. We talked about the standpoint of the business case and we have all mentioned that it is very difficult to measure. And I will tell you being a member of a science company, DuPont we have just celebrated our 206th year in existence and that’s a long time I know, we have attempted to take advantage of the diversity on a world wide basis.
The DuPont company as I have mentioned, as we have celebrations our 206th anniversary, and over the last two decades, of the 20th century, enormous demographic change have swept the United States. With minorities becoming the fastest growing segment of the population, and somewhat acan to that currently women make up over 50%, plus of all the law school graduates in the United States, so we start to talk about what happens to all these law school graduates but the demographics folks are changing. DuPont embraced the changes over the last couple of decades of the 20th Century, to focus on diversity and people as a core value for our company.
From DuPont’s prospective, to continue to be globally competitive our company must have and employee base that is as diverse as the customer that buys our products, the shareholder who buys our stock and the vendor that supplies us with goods and services and by all means the communities in which we operate. The business case that we have mentioned in fact have normally comes at you this way, an attorney asks you the question and said “I know that it may be the right thing to do, but please tell me Lucas why is so important to your company and why should it be important to my firm.”
Now instead of me just basically saying “Are you kidding, I don’t believe that you asked that question,” we take it positive look at this and say ”alright, let’s talk about this”. And as I have mentioned, the member of the law department of a science company, I know that there are very few empirical
studies that basically make the business case.
To hear more about diversity and inclusion in corporations and law firms, make sure to watch the video above.Continue reading
Corporate Counsels to take Action on Law Firm Diversity at Toronto Summit November 19
Law departments urged to terminate relationships with firms that show no interest, or lack of compliance – in support of their commitment to legal diversity
(Toronto, ON) November 18, 2009: Managing partners of several Toronto-based law firms, and senior legal officers of several major global corporations, will congregate on November 19th, in support of A Call to Action Canada’s initiative, Promoting Diversity in the Legal Profession. Beginning at 8:30 AM, the summit will be taking place at the The University Club of Toronto, 380 University Avenue.
This event is being held “in an effort to promote diversity in law firms, and encourage legal practitioners to raise the bar and change the way business is conducted,” says Joy Casey, a Lawyer and founder of A Call to Action Canada. “We intend to actively seek out opportunities to direct work to firms which are controlled by, or have a substantial number of partners who are women or minorities.”
The mission of A Call to Action Canada is straightforward – to provide a forum designed to support in-house counsel in taking leadership roles to advance diversity and inclusiveness.
The commitment of this group is exemplary, as their message is demonstrated by their mandate; to terminate relationships with outside law firms which show a lack of interest or commitment to being diverse and inclusive.
Delegates participating in this event include representatives from corporations such as Accenture, Dell, DuPont, and RBC, in addition to representation from prominent law firms, which include Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Fraser Milner and Heenan Blaike LLP, and others. Other participating organizations include The Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council, CAMSC; an organization that facilitates procurement opportunities between major corporations and aboriginal and minority suppliers.
CAMSC is associated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council.Continue reading
Hinton Lucas, of the DuPont Company speaks at the “Call to Action Canada” conference about inclusiveness throughout the legal profession.
It is something that I have believed in for all of my entire career, which for some of the obvious reasons is being a minority I wanted to further the speed of the integration, if you will, of the inclusiveness throughout the entire profession. One of the major pluses is I can see the needle going in the right direction. There are many individual pluses that I have seen when it goes from recruitment to retention of minority and women attorneys and women owned situations of law firms, but I have seen that needle being pushed in the right direction. There are several but one of the two that really are always on my mind are the continued barriers that people will put in front of the process. And when I say barriers I am talking primarily artificial barriers, about getting the pipeline and the appropriate pipelines of the individuals into firms and to corporations. People often times introduce the artificial barriers versus trying to find solutions to them and to get beyond them.
We believe in the initiative that we have undertaken, all of these years starting with the DuPont legal model back in 1992, so we continue to look at how best to do things, because of the economic times but no it has not altered our commitment to the diversity and inclusiveness of efforts.
I think it has to be a, continued to be rode out of a much broader scale. Some of the entities that have not participated in the diversity and inclusiveness, a push in our profession, must now get involved and come in the front of these particular issues. It was an absolute pleasure of mine to be here this afternoon, all day rather, with the first Canadian “Call to Action” Summit, or congress and it was a real pleasure of mine.Continue reading