Canadian Lawyer

November 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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www.canadianlawyermag.com 7 data is so important and . . . that you're gath- ering it for the right reasons," says Gershbain. This is why many advocates are looking to law societies and law schools to gather and release this data in a more holistic way. Whereas the LSO will soon be publishing its inclusion index, both the Law Society of British Columbia and the Nova Scotia Barris- ters' Society say they do not currently have plans to release data naming specific firms. Tilly Pillay, executive director of the NSBS, says that, because lawyers can choose not to answer demographic questions, "this data is not 100-per-cent representative of diversity within firms." For Bromwich, though, lawyers may not be as reluctant to disclose personal informa- tion about diversity as many think. Bromwich points to a statistic in a survey that her firm recently did with Canadian Lawyer where 84 per cent of respondents said they are comfortable being asked to identify themselves formally on a number of metrics if it is used to create a better, more diverse workplace. "Historically, people have said that's not really part of Canada's culture to provide that "If you don't know who your people are, how are you building programs and initiatives to address their needs?" Michael Bach, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion kind of quantitative data," says Bromwich. "But I think it's worth asking the question if that continues to be the case." Michael Bach, founder and CEO of Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, says what he sees holding many law firms back is simple fear. "Our legal framework presents some inter- esting challenges from the perspective of collecting data. That said, there is absolutely a way to do it that is in line with all of our various laws [that] gets the law firm the infor- mation that they need. There are many law firms that are already collecting this data and, yet, some are still stuck in the dark ages." The CCDI has collected data for hundreds of organizations including at least 20 law firms, and Bach has noticed a reluctance among law firms specifically to even broach the subject. "It was amazing the lengths that people [at law firms] went to to essentially just to not ask." For Bach, though, not asking does not mean the problems will disappear. "If you don't know who your people are, how are you building programs and initiatives to address their needs?" SURVEY ON DIVERSITY Gowling WLG and Canadian Lawyer surveyed lawyers in Canada on diversity in the summer. Key findings were: Leadership is the key driver of change, followed by partners 70 per cent of firms have taken some action toward diversity in the past 12 months, with the most cited being hiring new talent and formal unconscious bias training 84 per cent of lawyers are comfortable being asked to identify themselves formally on a number of metrics if it is used to create a better, more diverse workplace 54 per cent of male lawyers say their firms have full gender equality whereas only 30 per cent women do

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