Openly discussing family aspirations, one’s participation in LGBTQ+ communities, mental health issues or religious beliefs is difficult during recruitment events at law firms. At the very least, students trying to secure an articling position will be wary of bringing up these topics.
While the diversity concept is making headway in the Canadian landscape and within large corporations, law firms are still slow at making progress on this front. Of course, commitment to diversity and inclusion varies considerably from one firm to another, and it becomes hard to evaluate an organization’s performance based on these aspects. Unconscious bias can be prevalent in many firms, and this is often reflected in informal functions or situations.
Obviously, having a discussion with lawyers and partners is the best way to discover the level of commitment of a firm. Even though some policies may be in place, it does not necessarily mean that there is a corresponding culture. Try to get a sense of the state of things by carefully observing the lawyers’ and partners’ manners. Trust your intuition!
Below are some tips on how you can detect the genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion of a firm.