Sixty per cent of Osler’s chief executive positions are held by female lawyers: report

Firm co-hosted annual Pride celebration with the Bank of Montreal

Sixty per cent of Osler’s chief executive positions are held by female lawyers: report
Osler Pride Event 2019

Women now hold more than half of chief executive positions in Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

In accordance with the firm’s commitment to gender diversity within its ranks, 60 per cent of its chief executive positions are held by women, according to the firm’s annual diversity report for 2019. Women also make up 50 per cent of the firm’s associates as of Dec. 31, 2019, and 41 per cent of all its new partners from 2014 to 2019.

“We believe our leadership and executive committee benefit from the perspective of leaders like our former managing partner and current firm co-chair Dale Ponder, as well as current office managing partners Sandra Abitan (Montréal) and Donna White (Ottawa) and the heads of a number of our national departments,” Douglas Bryce, Osler’s national managing partner, told Canadian Lawyer by email.

Osler’s mandate to promote diversity within the firm has contributed to a better work environment and a heightened awareness of how the firm can support the success of diverse communities, Bryce said.

“Our practices, procedures and employee programs are aimed at fostering a work culture that promotes equality and inclusion and ensures that all individuals who work at Osler are treated with dignity and respect.”

Bryce adds that Osler goes out of its way to implement diversity and inclusion policies that will have a positive and continuous impact on the firm. These policies include a “Respect at Work” policy, a gender identity and sexual orientation policy and an integrated accessibility policy.

The firm also celebrated events in support of diversity, such as its Day of Pink, its Mental Health Awareness Week and its Denim Days. And it has a number of legal professional resource groups in place, including its Asia-Pacific Affinity Network, the Osler Women Lawyers’ Network and the Osler Pride Network.

“Embracing diversity makes Osler a stronger firm because it ensures that all of our members can bring their full selves to work, which allows for a full range of viewpoints and talent to be displayed,” Bryce said.

This diversity in perspectives among its lawyers not only helps the firm in finding effective legal solutions for its clients, but also allows it to support the clients’ own diversity journeys.

“Often working in collaboration with our clients, we’ve implemented several internal programs and external initiatives that aim to create real and lasting change. One example is co-hosting an annual Pride celebration with the Bank of Montreal,” an initiative for the past five years that continues.

The firm has also developed the annual Diversity Disclosure Practices Report, the Board Diversity Policy Template and the General Counsel Dashboard, resources aiming to assist clients in their own diversity initiatives.

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