Black on Bay Street: Addressing Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions

Today, Julian Falconer and Hadiya Roderique appeared on CBC’s Metro Morning, with host Matt Galloway, discussing ‘Race and fit on Bay Street.’

Haidya Roderique, a Black woman and former Bay Street lawyer-turned Ph.D. candidate, authored a powerful and poignant essay, entitled, “Black on Bay Street: Hadiya Roderique had it all. But still could not fit in. The essay was featured on the front page of the Saturday November 4, 2017, edition of The Globe and Mail. The essay exposes the persistent lack of diversity on Bay Street, and highlights the challenges many racialized minorities feel as applicants and young professionals while they try to enter or thrive within a Canadian corporate culture which remains overwhelmingly white and male. Roderique stated, that she wrote this piece because, “I left law in 2012; and went through the interview process in 2006, and here we are in 2017, and law firms are still using the same process and fit interviews that made me uncomfortable, and I wanted to speak out and effect some kind of change.”

Galloway stated, Roderique’s article comes at a time where “The Law Society of Ontario is adopting strategies to address the barriers faced by lawyers of colour.”

In December 2016, Falconer, who is also a Vice-Chair of The Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group, presented a motion that Convocation approve the thirteen recommendations outlined in the Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions report.”. The motion has been approved and adopted by the Law Society.

When Falconer was asked by Galloway, “Is there something specific? [Ms. Roderique is] talking about those fit interviews, she talking about the culture in firms, is there something specific in law that is keeping people who don’t fit in through the door?”

To this, Falconer responded, “there are aspects of the legal profession that creates or reinforces the power structures in existence…the truth of the matter is that the only way to change this is by serious proactive measures. So there is a package of recommendations…supported by professional organizations of colour across the board, and we are committed to changing how we do business.”

In the News

A discussion about race and fit on Bay Street   November 6, 2017, CBC’s Metro Morning

Working Together for Change – Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions The Law Society of Ontario

Related Posts