Change or Die
THE FUTURE OF DIVERSITY IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION
The way Canada “looks” has changed. According to Statistics
Canada, women make up just shy of 50 per cent of the
available workforce; 25 per cent of Canadians identify as
racialized (people who are not Caucasian in their ethno-cultural
heritage) and that number skyrockets to over 50 per cent
in cities like Toronto and Vancouver; one in five Canadians live
with a disability; and Indigenous people are the fastest growing
population in the country, now making up about 6 per cent of the
population. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of who Canadians are.
In fact, the percentage of people who are straight, white, able-bod-ied,
Christian, Canadian-born men is less than 30 per cent. So,
what does the legal sector look like?
According to the 2016 Diversity by the Numbers: The Legal
Profession report, the legal profession in Canada looks relatively
similar with one distinct variance: women make up 38.56 per cent
of respondents; 13.9 per cent identify as racialized; 6.53 per cent
identify as living with a disability; but only 1.07 per cent identi-fy
When we break it down by level however, some things look a
What the data tells us is that men are twice as likely as women
to be in positions of senior leadership. The same holds true when
comparing white respondents to racialized people. The discrep-ancy
only gets worse when race and gender intersect – Caucasian
men are more than seven times more likely to occupy senior roles
compared to racialized women.
If the majority of associates and students are women and/or
racialized, why do we see such a significant difference at the top
of the house? They enter the profession, but where do they go?
We only have to look at the ranks of in-house counsel offices and
smaller firms to find the answer. Of course, that doesn’t account
for the sheer numbers that simply leave the profession because
By Michael Bach
THIS ISN’T A WAR ON WHITE MEN.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IS ABOUT
MAKING SMART BUSINESS DECISIONS.
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HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ OCTOBER 2017 ❚ 51