How badly white and male is the legal profession in Canada?
How many lawyers work at Alberta’s (AER) and Canada’s energy regulators (CER)?
Cartoon from Justice D W Perras Report on EUB’s 2007 “repulsive” spying scandal
EUB (Energy Utilities Board) was ERCB (Energy Resources Conservation Board). After the spying scandal and EUB was caught lying and breaking the law, Alberta govt switched EUB back to ERCB. After Ernst’s lawsuit went public, govt turned it into AER (Alberta Energy Regulator).
Sept 11, 2019: Law Society of Ontario to resume human decency/inclusion (Statement of Principles, SOP) vs white supremacy (StopSOP) debate and hold ‘extraordinary meeting’ of the Board. What nastiness will StopSOP toss this time?
Ontario law society split over rule requiring commitment to promoting diversity by Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press, Sept 9, 2019, The Globe and Mail
A heated debate that has divided the Law Society of Ontario for months is expected to continue Wednesday as the organization’s board of directors considers scrapping a rule that requires its members to spell out their commitment to promoting diversity.
The board is meeting in Toronto to discuss – and potentially vote on – a motion to repeal the rule that calls for lawyers to create and abide by a so-called “statement of principles” acknowledging their obligation to advocate for equality and inclusion.
The measure was one of 13 recommendations issued in 2016 by an internal working group on tackling systemic racism in the legal profession.
But some argue the requirement goes too far and, earlier this year, a slate of candidates was elected to the board after campaigning on a promise to revoke it.
They argue the rule imposes values on lawyers and amounts to unconstitutional, compelled speech. [but contradicted themselves by voting against making it voluntary in the June 2019 convocation, showing their missing compelled speech argument.]
Supporters of the measure, meanwhile, say it is a small but important step towards eradicating systemic barriers and builds on lawyers’ existing obligations without encroaching on their rights.
The issue was first debated at a meeting in June, along with a second motion to amend the rule so that participation becomes voluntary.
Many of those who oppose the rule also condemn the voluntary option, saying it flouts the results of the election and raising concerns that the law society would keep records of those who opted in or out. …
Others wrote in to support the rule, arguing members aren’t required to make their statement of principles public or even share it with the law society, nor are they penalized for failing to comply.
They noted the law society received legal advice before implementing the measure that found it constitutional and within the organization’s jurisdiction, and stressed the importance of working towards a more inclusive profession.
“In order to move forward as a profession we must try to address the barriers that affect racialized licensees instead of overturning the progress that had has been made to date,” wrote Aaron Bains, president of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto.
“We urge you to reflect on these issues and to resist undoing the progress of the past several years.”
Lori Anne Thomas, president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, wrote that “equity, diversity and inclusion is not controversial to strive for as a profession that serves a diverse public.”
Demand Inclusion letter:
… However, the public record is replete with evidence that the law is not applied equally to all, and access to justice is woefully inadequate for many people, especially if they are racialized, or Indigenous. [And me and our drinking water!]
… Simply put, a commitment to the Rules, the rule of law and access to justice must necessarily include a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
… What is worse, some Benchers have taken the opportunity to state the dubious and incorrect belief that systemic racism, both in the legal profession, and society at large, does not exist.
Refer also to:
2019 Profile of the Legal Profession [in USA] Report; article on it: https://www.techlawcrossroads.com/2019/08/aba-profile-reveals-a-profession-in-crisis/
Diversity? Not So Much
A whopping 85% of the profession is still white. 85%.
For example, while the Report’s introduction points out that the profession changes every year, much of the story contained in the Report is unfortunately the same. For example, a whopping 85% of the profession is still white and mostly male. 85%.
Minorities compose only some 8% of the partners in law firms, roughly the same as in 2016 and not a whole lot better than 10 years ago.
80% of our federal judges are white. Almost 75% are men. That’s an incredible lack of progress for a key metric. [White men don’t like to share power do they?]
… The Report also reveals what most of us would have assumed: public service lawyers are grossly underpaid with civil legal aid lawyers being paid on average the least of the least. Its no wonder we have an access to justice problem.
… 21% of lawyers report problem drinking; 32% of lawyers under 30 report problem drinking. This compares to 6.4% of the general population. 25-35% do lawyers facing disciplinary proceedings report some mental illness or addiction issue.