Diversity in the Legal Profession

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

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

Corporate Counsels to take Action on Law Firm Diversity at Toronto Summit

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.

Originally reported by CAMSC
ABOUT CAMSC: CAMSC operates as a private sector-led, non profit membership organization governed by a board of Directors; comprised of major multinational corporations operating in Canada. The organization aims to boost economic development efforts and employment.

CAMSC is associated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

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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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