Mentoring project to help retain more Indigenous lawyers

The Law Society has hired lawyer Rosalie Wilson to develop a collaborative mentoring program to support Indigenous lawyers. This is one initiative intended to advance the Law Society’s strategy to enhance the retention of Aboriginal lawyers.

Rosalie WilsonThe program is aimed at increasing diversity within the legal profession as the public is best served by a more representative and inclusive profession. Further, the program aims to improve access to legal services for Aboriginal peoples. Currently, Aboriginal people are significantly underrepresented in the legal profession, which has important implications regarding access to culturally appropriate legal services.

“I believe it’s in the interests of both the public and the profession to have stronger Aboriginal representation among lawyers,” said Wilson. A member of the Syilx (Okanagan) and Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nations, Wilson was selected after an open search for candidates.

Wilson began working on the project at the end of November by launching phase one, which involves consulting with Indigenous lawyers to develop effective mentoring options, models and best practices. This phase is fully funded by a Law Foundation of BC grant, for which the Law Society is greatly appreciative. The position may be extended to phase two of the project, which will involve implementation and evaluation; that is expected to occur in summer 2012.

In addition to being a lawyer, Rosalie brings a wealth of experience in consultation and policy and program development with Aboriginal organizations and communities.

Wilson highlights her extensive knowledge in developing strategies and initiatives in a culturally appropriate manner through her previous position as a senior policy analyst with a prominent First Nations organization. There, she was responsible for developing province-wide ­initiatives to advance First Nations interests in matters relating to children and family wellness, health and education.

In addition, Wilson is a member of the Indigenous Bar Association and the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch’s Aboriginal Lawyers Forum.

“As a First Nations person, as a lawyer, and as a member of the public in BC, I have a direct interest in the initiatives undertaken by the Law Society to increase retention rates of Aboriginal lawyers,” said Wilson. “It is such a positive undertaking, and I am happy to be a part of it.”

Lawyers wanting more information about the project, or who are interested in participating, should contact Rosalie Wilson at rwilson@lsbc.org.

 
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