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New LSUC report reveals a dearth of black lawyers at big firms

Seven: the percentage of black lawyers in Ontario working at big firms, compared to 23 percent of white lawyers, according to the Law Society’s recent report on diversity in law.

To explain that gap, Arleen Huggins, a partner at Koskie Minsky LLP and the past president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, says that too often, firm-wide events are structured around golf and wine. “There are many members of diverse communities who have never golfed, ever. And for many, alcohol is forbidden.” This makes networking difficult. Over time, she explains, this pushes minorities out of big firms because they feel marginalized and ignored. “There is a significant disadvantage to being the only person of colour in the room. And many times, I’m the only person of colour in the room. Even today.”

This story is from our Spring 2015 issue.