7/22/11-Shortage of visible minorities in legal sector – report
By RON FANFAIR
The Ontario Court of Justice comprises 391 full-time and pier diem judges of which just seven are African-Canadian. And there are just 18 Black Bay St. partners in influential downtown Toronto law firms.
The paucity of Blacks and other visible minorities in the legal profession prompted the authors of a diversity report released last week to include the legal sector for the first time in their study.
The third annual Diverse City Counts report tracked 2,410 legal leaders, including judges, governing bodies, law school leaders, partners in the top 20 law firms and crown attorneys.
The findings were not surprising. Visible minorities are vastly under-represented in the legal sector with a complete absence of Crown and Deputy Crown Attorneys in the Greater Toronto Area.
“The legal profession, I think we all know, is an incredibly important sector to look at, not simply by virtue of what it does but by virtue of the pipelines to other leadership positions that it seems to have access to,” said DiverseCity co-chair Ratna Omidvar. “It’s a critical feature of our democracy and when you look at it, 73 per cent of Canadian prime ministers were in fact lawyers.”