A 2016 study by the American Bar Association found that representation of women within law firms drops sharply as the levels increase. For example, women make up over 51 per cent of first-year law students. By the time a person graduates and becomes an associate, 46 per cent are female. The biggest drop, however, comes at the partnership level. Here, only 22 per cent of partners are female.
As a racialized and first-generation lawyer, when asked about the greatest barrier I faced early in my legal career, I always revert back to the same thing: the lack of mentorship opportunities and mentors.
Access to justice is a challenge to the legal system and our society, but it is also a potential new market ready to keep many resourceful and efficient young lawyers
On Feb. 8, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Ontario Bar Association Institute’s Young Lawyers Division. The session was called “How to thrive as a young lawyer in today’s market.”
The year 2017 was an impressive and banner year for legal tech. Discussions regarding the role of artificial intelligence and legal tech have increasingly become commonplace in legal conferences across Canada and the world.
The motto of the Law Society of Upper Canada is “Let Right Prevail.” Unfortunately, for many racialized licensees in Ontario, the general view is that right is not prevailing.
In a profession where who you know, what school you went to and the circle that surrounds you is so important in getting your foot in the door, first-generation lawyers very often fall through the cracks.
I remember hearing time and time again from junior lawyers that it was not necessary to worry about what electives one took or how much one learned or did not learn during those three years of legal education as “the real learning, unless you are planning on pursuing a career in academia, starts once you enter the workplace.”
I recently attended the Hispanic National Bar Association’s 42nd Annual Convention which took place from Sept. 6 – Sept. 9 in Kansas City. This convention did not disappoint, as it was an incredible opportunity to network with law students, community representatives, government officials and legal professionals from the Hispanic and the diversity community from across the U.S. (plus myself and a few colleagues from Latin America). It was made very clear throughout the convention that, despite good intentions and a valiant effort, diversity and inclusiveness within the legal profession remain elusive and the needle has, if at all, only barely moved.
It is essential that in-house counsel remain at all times not just a manager of risk and litigation but rather a strategic partner with the business team.