Equity in the Profession
The equity department of the Law Society was established in the later nineties. The equity and diversity department seeks to bring more minorities into the profession. The current head of that department is Jose Bouchard who was a professor of law in Ottawa. A number of functions are held by the equity department to promote the equity and diversity in the legal profession in Ontario. In the month of May each year the Law Society along with the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario celebrate South Asian Heritage month.
South Asian legal community and specially its younger members are very enthusiastic about creating an organization of South Asian Lawyers. Many of these lawyers are called the bar in the last 10 years and with the changes in attitude of large law firms, they can now aspire to become part of the legal establishment, something that was not seen in the past. One of this group’s is South Asian Barristers Association which is a part of a larger South Asian Lawyers organization of United States and Canada. SABA has formed a chapter in Toronto which has been active in the last about 2 years. There are three chapters in Canada and many in United States.
On 4 November 2006 about 60 lawyers met at the Howard Johnson Hotel and formed a Steering Committee to start a National Canadian Organization of South Asian Lawyers. It would make sense to start an organization in the Greater Toronto Area including Mississauga as these areas have the largest number of South Asians and South Asian lawyers.
This organization aims at putting together lawyers of different South Asian backgrounds across the country with chapters in major Canadian cities. The South Asian Lawyers aim to work together to serve their community of about a million South Asians across Canada and also promote their common interests and comment on legislation that affects them. There are only about 4 South Asian Lawyers who have been promoted to the bench which is a much smaller number considering the size of their population and the organization aims at promoting their members to the bench and other key positions such as Deputy Ministers and chairs of boards and commissions.
The objectives of the Organization include seminars, website, social gatherings, referral of work, supporting pro-bono work of SALCO, encouraging appointment of South Asians key positions and generally enjoying camaraderie of fellow professionals.