Diversity in the Legal Profession
Joel Stern, Legal Consultant and Board Member, NAMWOLF, on a Call to Action Canada: Women and Minority Owned Law Firms
The Call to Action in Canada, in the United States there is two separate call to actions basically. There’s the Call to Action United States, Legal, which is we commit as in-house counsel to give more business to law firms who are doing a better job with diversity and inclusion programs, and I call that “Big Law firm Diversity Inclusion” and its a very political organization and there’s a lot of general counsels behind it, it has a lot of history, I personally call it “the In-Action” , no offense to anybody because it’s top down and doesn’t have bottom up in middle things are not getting done, and that is just a personal observation.
So that is aimed at that. NAMWOLF for the states is aimed at minority and women owned law firms. Joy made a decision with the help of a lot of legal counsel and a lot of folks that have been through this to make the Call to Action in Canada really two elements. One, we need to do a better job with the big law firms in getting them to be more diverse and inclusion, not only at the bringing in but at the promotion and partners and everything else. And number two, to look at giving business to minority and women owned law firms, like Janet’s law firm, so it was combined. And the reason it was combined, in my view, it was complimentary not in conflict with each other.
It’s a complex question, because there are a lot of people that have a different view, that it should be one of the other, and it should be separate. Personally I think believe they are very complimentary and once again it’s not about us, it’s not about the law firms, its about the societal benefits of doing what we are doing and doing the right thing.