Diversity in the Legal Profession

Joy Casey
Barrister and Solicitor
T. 416-368-3847

Yolanda Coly
Coly Advocacy LLC
T. 312-545-7327

Category Archives: Videos

David Allgood speaking on Diversity in the Legal Profession

David R. Allgood, Executive Vice-President and General Counsel for Royal Bank of Canada speaking on behalf of the “A Call to Action: Diversity in the Legal Profession” seminar.

Leveraging diversity is hard work, it requires having concrete goals and plans of action, and it requires a persistent focus and an appreciation for the fact that many living a diversity is a personal and an emotional experience. It’s not about “let’s do diversity today” it is about embedding diversity in our every day business and making it an intrinsic part of our people and our client’s strategies.

In the legal groups, I am going to be talking to my fellow GC’s, and I have talked to them once and I will continue to talk to them about joining “The Call to Action” and getting behind the initiative.

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Joy Casey speaks about the A Call to Action Canada Symposium

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.

Originally reported by the Canadian Lawyer Magazine, September 26, 2011

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Joel Stern on A Call to Action Canada

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.

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Kevin Derbyshire guest speaker at A Call to Action Canada

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.

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Hinton Lucas of DuPont on the Call to Action

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.

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Hinton Lucas of DuPont on Inclusiveness in the Legal Profession

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.

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