“At Gowlings, our commitment to diversity and inclusion is an integral part of our culture. We believe that there is strength in diversity, and that attracting and retaining a diverse team not only creates a better workplace, but allows us to deliver the best possible service to our clients across Canada and around the world.”
-Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings Chair and CEO
A law firm should be as diverse as the communities it serves. That's why Gowlings is proud to be a member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network, a group of Canadian law firms that are working together to promote diversity and encourage a culture of inclusion in our firms and the broader legal profession.
As a member of the LFDIN, we're committed to its Statement of Principles:
- Sharing ideas for the promotion of diversity and inclusion in connection with recruitment, retention and advancement within law firms
- Working with Legal Leaders for Diversity and other general counsel, law departments, business leaders and professional associations in their efforts to advance diversity and inclusion
- Supporting outreach programs in law schools and the broader community
- Promoting thought leadership and constructive dialogue on issues of diversity and inclusion
- Evaluating our efforts
Gowlings is also involved in a number of other initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion. Some of our activities and awards in these areas include:
On October 11, 2013 — the second annual UN International Day of the Girl — Gowlings launched a new sponsorship initiative as part of the global Because I Am a Girl movement. The firm's sponsorship involves a strong commitment to gender equality, girls' rights, and ending the cycle of poverty for girls and their families in the developing world.
A key project of Plan Canada, Because I Am A Girl aims to remove the unique barriers faced by girls in the world's poorest nations by focusing on their rights to safety, education and basic nutrition.
"As one of Canada's largest law firms, we have a responsibility to help give girls around the world the same opportunities that most Canadian girls have. Becoming a part of Because I Am A Girl enables us to do that," says Karyn Bradley, Gowlings partner and chair of the firm's sponsorship committee.
More information on this initiative is available here.
Gowlings is a strong proponent of the Program of Legal Studies for Native People (PLSNP), a pre-law course offered through the University of Saskatchewan’s Native Law Centre.
The eight-week program helps prepare Aboriginal students for a career in law by giving them the opportunity to study first-year property law before they enter law school. It includes writing workshops, mentorship, and a supportive and collaborative classroom environment. Aboriginal customary law and traditions are also significant features of the PLSNP.
To date, over 785 students of Aboriginal ancestry have earned law degrees after completing the PLSNP, and a remarkable 75 per cent of all Aboriginal lawyers in Canada entered the practice of law through the program. Gowlings’ Paul Seaman is a proud PLSNP alumnus.
Learn more about Gowlings’ involvement with the PLSNP here.
In Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, Gowlings has played a key role in the Justicia Project, an innovative program designed to retain and advance more women in legal private practice.
The project was first introduced by the Law Society of Upper Canada in response to evidence that women leave private practice at a higher rate than men in their first 10 years of practice. As a participating firm, Gowlings is committed to achieving goals in four areas: tracking gender demographics within the firm; reviewing/introducing flexible work arrangements and parental leave policies; adopting initiatives to foster women's networking and business development expertise; and promoting leadership skills for women.
Earlier this year, Gowlings became the first Canadian law firm to receive the Starbucks International Excellence in Diversity Award. Based on an annual diversity survey of Starbucks' legal service providers around the world, the award recognizes our extensive efforts to enhance diversity and promote inclusion.
Founded by Gowlings professionals in Toronto, GROW (Gowlings Realizing Opportunities for Women) promotes greater recognition and understanding of issues facing women in the workplace. Through engaging, well-attended networking events, GROW enables women to connect with mentors and build relationships that enhance their professional and personal lives.
Since 2010, Gowlings has been ranked as one of the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt. The annual survey, based primarily on employee feedback, recognizes organizations from across the country with the highest levels of employee engagement.