Equity and Diversity in the Legal Profession

The Law Society of Upper Canada is committed to promoting equity and diversity in the legal profession. The Law Society provides a range of services and programs to lawyers, law firms and students-at-law and works closely with community groups and schools to encourage law as a career.

The Law Society created an Equity Department in 1997 to play a leadership role in helping make the legal community more diverse and representative of the changing population of the province of Ontario.

The Law Society is helping to make the legal profession more diverse...

Equity and Diversity Mentorship Program is designed for students in law schools and accredited paralegal education programs, as well as licensing candidates from Aboriginal, Francophone and equality-seeking communities (mentees) who are looking for advice and guidance on practice, professional and career matters. Upon being matched with an experienced lawyer or paralegal (mentor), mentees and mentors determine how often they will meet and communication with each other, as well as the areas or topics for discussion.

Aboriginal Elders' Student Supports provides Aboriginal students in the Licensing Process with cultural supports and matches students with Aboriginal practitioners for guidance.

Student Support Services provides supports and services that improve the learning environment for all students and offers accommodation for students who are unable to comply with the conditions or requirements of the Licensing Process. Services include examinations in alternative forms such as audiotape, Braille and text-to-speech and special equipment for persons with visual and auditory impairments. Arrangements are also made so students from remote regions can complete exams in facilities other the Law Society.

Equity Public Education Series promotes, in partnership with legal associations and community groups, education and discussion among members of the public and the profession on the challenges and opportunities for Francophone, Aboriginal and equity-seeking communities in the legal profession.

The Law Society is helping to keep the legal profession diverse...

Professional Development Program includes seminars, workshops and meetings, on topics such as:

  • creating an inclusive and positive workplace environment
  • accommodation of creed and gender, and for persons with disabilities
  • equity and diversity in hiring and recruiting
  • harassment and discrimination prevention

The Discrimination and Harassment Counsel confidentially assists anyone who may have experienced discrimination or harassment by a lawyer or within a law firm. This service is free of charge to the Ontario public and lawyers.

Model policies, reports and publications The Law Society has developed numerous model policies to guide law firms their efforts to promote equity and diversity in their day-to-day practices.