|For immediate release||July 5, 2012|
Law Society report aims to help build a more diverse legal profession
Vancouver– British Columbia is becoming increasingly diverse, but changes to the composition of the legal profession are not keeping pace, according to a new report by the Law Society of BC.
Towards a More Diverse Legal Profession: Better practices, better workplaces, better results uses Statistics Canada data which indicates that in 2006, visible minority lawyers represented 18% of all Vancouver lawyers, while the overall visible minority population that same year was 42%. By 2031, that overall visible minority population is projected to reach 59%.
In addition, BC is home to the second largest Aboriginal population in Canada, yet Aboriginal participation in the BC legal profession does not reflect this. Aboriginal peoples represent only 1.5% of the legal profession, yet they represent 4.6% of the total population in BC and the proportion of Aboriginal lawyers did not change between 1996 and 2006.
“We believe that we can do better and we need to do better. A more diverse legal profession is better for clients, better for firms and better for lawyers,” said Law Society President Bruce LeRose, QC.
In addition to highlighting areas for improvement, the report aims to help give law firms the tools they need to face challenges and build more inclusive workplaces that will help diversity flourish.
“As a regulator, the Law Society cannot effect change on its own,” said LeRose. “We hope this report will help lawyers and law firms start – or in some cases continue – down a path that will enable them to represent the diverse population of British Columbia.”
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.