Advocacy Skills Training Series

Members of the Roundtable of Diversity Associationsd are invited to participate in an Advocacy Skills Training Series organized in collaboration with the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Advocates’ Society.

Over the last few years, several members of RODA organizations, including CABL, CMLA, FACL, SABA and the IBA have been working with justices of the Court of Appeal for Ontario to address issues of equity diversity and inclusion through a working group (the “Working Group”). The Working Group is behind several
initiatives, including a conference on EDI to be held in the fall at Ryerson and the Advocacy Skills Training Series for Members of the Roundtable of Diversity

The purpose of this initiative is to build capacity amongst our communities. The three-part series is designed to provide skills training and mentoring to advocates represented in RODA and to educate faculty about the unique issues facing advocates from our communities.

The goals are twofold:

1. To foster an environment for continued, meaningful dialogue between communities represented in RODA, the bench, and other members of the

2. To provide our communities with a unique training and mentoring opportunity that will enhance our advocacy skills and provide us with practical
advocacy tips and strategies that can be incorporated into our practices.

Members of the Working Group and the Advocates’ Society have worked very hard to put together this program for our benefit. Given the nature of the program, the members of the judiciary have insisted that the program be limited to 32 participants. Given the limited number of spots, anyone who is interested in participating must complete an application form, which is attached. Members of the working group will select the 32 participants. If the program is a success, we
hope to repeat it in the future.

To qualify for the program, one must:

  • Be a member of a RODA organization;
  • Commit to attending all three parts of the program; and
  • If selected, pay $175 + HST.

Membership in the Advocates’ Society is not required. Preference will be given to advocates in their third to tenth year of practice and who would most benefit from participating in the program.

Attached is a description of the program, including details of the accreditation for professionalism hours. Applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm on Friday, October 11, 2019.

TAS-OCA Advocacy Skills Training Series for Members of RODA Organization…

Applicant for the Advocacy Skills Training Series

2019 Diversity Pitch Event

Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusion invites racialized and diverse private practice lawyers to apply to participate in the Diversity Pitch Event an opportunity to pitch to and connect with General Counsel and Senior Counsel from leading corporations on October 24, 2019 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

(First Pitch at 6:15 pm, Cocktail Reception at 7:30 pm)
Thomson Reuters, 333 Bay Street, 29th Floor, Toronto.

Please complete the pitch application at the following link: by September 27, 2019.

Pitch applicants must be called to the Bar in Ontario for a minimum of 8 years. Selected pitch applicants will be notified on October 10, 2019 and will then be required to pay a fee of $100 per team to cover costs.

All participants will be invited to the Cocktail Reception.

NAPABA Northeast Regional Conference

Register for the Northeast Regional Conference!

AABANY hosts the Northeast Regional Conference taking place in New York on Sept. 21 at Fordham University School of Law. Early bird registration is now open! Early bird rates will be available until Sept. 6. Click here to register!

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Empire Hotel at a discounted rate. The room block will be available untilAug. 30 at 5 p.m. ET or until the block has sold out. Click here to book your room today!

If you are interested in sponsoring the Northeast Regional Conference, please download the sponsorship package here.

Visit AABANY for more information about the Northeast Regional Conference!

#DemandInclusion Campaign Call for Volunteers!

#DemandInclusion is launching their #iDemandInclusion social media campaign.  The #iDemandInclusion campaign has one objective: spread awareness among lawyers about the importance of diversity and to demand inclusion, despite the politics of the STOP SOP benchers.

The social media committee of #DemandInclusion has decided to start a web campaign, where folks can tell the legal profession why diversity matters to them. Photos will be posted on Instagram, Twitter and website.

#DemandInclusion is calling for submissions of headshots, against plain backgrounds, and a white sheet of paper with why inclusion matters to you. Your handwriting will be digitally add your handwriting below your photo, which will be posted with the photo hashtag #iDemandInclusion. See the sample photo for clarity. 

If you want to be part the series, please contact #DemandInclusion directly at

Legal Practice and Equity Conference

Legal Practice and Equity: A Conversation with the Bench, the Bar and the Faculties of Law

As it prepares for its first incoming class in 2020, the Ryerson Faculty of Law has already set out a strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). EDI has become a central concern in the legal profession. At the same time, law schools are striving to offer JD programs that appeal to the full spectrum of Canadian society and expose their law students to the diverse needs and perspectives of different Canadian communities. In collaboration with a range of legal associations, the one-day conference will provide an on-the-ground look at the advancement of EDI within these various interconnected settings and professional contexts. To be held at Ryerson University in Toronto, it will welcome 150 lawyers, judges, academics and equity officers from across the country. The conference will offer professionalism hours of LSO-accredited EDI-focused programming.
The conference will be Saturday, November 2, 2019 from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, 55 Dundas Street West in Toronto. Tickets may be purchased on the Conference Website

Law Society Motions Regarding Statement of Principles: June 27

On June 27, 2019, the Law Society of Ontario will consider two motions regarding the Statement of Principles, including whether it should be repealed or made voluntary (with an annual reporting requirement to Convocation on the number of licensees who choose to adopt
such a statement).

As we have said before, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers of Ontario (“FACL Ontario”) believes that the Statement of Principles is an appropriate measure to address the challenges faced by racialized licensees, bearing in mind that it is only part of 1 of the 13 recommendations adopted by the Law Society after extensive consultation and study. It is a privilege to be a lawyer, not a right. Requiring lawyers to acknowledge their obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion is no different than requiring lawyers to swear an oath to ensure access to justice and improve the administration of justice. But even those who object to this requirement on the basis of compelled speech cannot quarrel with the voluntary Statement of Principles being proposed. At minimum, lawyers should be encouraged to reflect on how they can improve equality, diversity and inclusion in the profession and beyond, and the Law Society has a legitimate interest in keeping track of the number of licensees who do so.

FACL Ontario believes it is fundamental to the Law Society’s mandate to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. A more diverse and inclusive profession is one that better serves the public. If we hope to maintain the public’s confidence in the administration of justice and preserve self-regulation, we must model these values as a profession. We look forward to working with all members of Convocation and the profession more broadly to achieve these ends.

Please join us at Convocation on June 27, 2019 at 9am (Donald Lamont Learning Centre) as we signal our support for equality, diversity and inclusion.

2019-06-19-FACL Statement on June 27

Statement on Legal Aid Cuts

The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, Ontario (FACL Ontario) joins legal aid lawyers, legal clinics, and lawyers concerned about access to justice in condemning the funding cuts to Legal Aid Ontario announced on June 12, 2019.

FACL Ontario is extremely concerned that the cuts will have a disproportionate impact on racialized minorities and immigrants, many of whom face multiple and intersecting challenges in our society. The broad range of cuts proposed – from reduction in hours for bail hearings to cancellation of family law funding to drastic cuts to legal clinic budgets – touches on virtually every aspect of life for low income Ontarians. These cuts are even more problematic when seen from the perspective of racialized minorities and immigrants, many of whom will now need to navigate a complicated legal system in a foreign language and culture without legal representation. FACL Ontario believes these cuts will leave many of the most vulnerable persons in this province in legal jeopardy.

Adequately funding legal aid is not only a moral and ethical obligation, but also an economic necessity. Reducing the availability of legal representation will clog the courts and result in greater miscarriages of justice. The financial cost of both will be enormous.

FACL Ontario calls on the Ministry of the Attorney General to reverse these funding cuts and commit to sustainable funding for legal aid in this province.

– Emily Lam, Advocacy & Policy Committee Chair

2019-06-13-FACL Statement on LAO cuts final

AHM Name Challenge 2019

AHM Name Challenge 2019

May is Asian Heritage Month. This month we want to hear examples to further advance the pan-Asian Canadian Bar in Ontario. Let’s start with your name…

Fostering Inclusion

FACL Ontario is excited to share videos it has created with Asian-Canadian lawyers in Ontario!

Through these videos, we want to:

  • Make hearing Asian names more commonplace;
  • Increase opportunities for Asian-Canadian lawyers and others in law who may be omitted from consideration because someone cannot pronounce their name and thus does not feel comfortable approaching them; and
  • Inspire you to share your name and practical examples.

Together we can make pronouncing Asian names familiar, and increase being included.

We will share videos throughout the month on social media with the hashtag #FACLAHM19. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!


Your Turn: Name Challenge

FACL Ontario wants to hear about inclusive approaches!

We challenge you to share on your social media account a video that:

1.  Is one minute or less;

2.  Introduces yourself, or introduces someone who is Asian-Canadian and a member of the Ontario Bar; and

3.  Speaks to one of the following:

    • Name an Asian-Canadian law professor who made you feel welcomed in law school, and what was that inclusive approach?
    • As an Asian-Canadian lawyer, what one action did someone take, or comment did someone make, that made you feel included at work, during a client meeting, or at a networking event?
    • Name an Asian-Canadian lawyer who has provided guidance you found helpful to advance your law career, and what was that suggestion?
    • As an Asian-Canadian lawyer or law student who has a name that is commonly mispronounced, what action have you taken to successfully help others pronounce your name?
    • Share the story behind your Asian name.

Even if you think you have a name others can easily pronounce, we want you to participate!

When you share your video on social media, use the hashtag #FACLAHM19.

FACL Endorses

FACL Ontario is endorsing the following candidates for the Bencher elections:


[one_half][/one_half][one_half_last] Julia Shin Doi

“As a racialized lawyer, woman, working mother, and spouse of another busy legal professional, I understand the challenges faced by many. The Law Society should continue to foster equity, diversity, and inclusion so that the legal profession thrives, and access to justice including Pro Bono Ontario is sustained.”



[one_half][/one_half][one_half_last] Jayashree Goswami

“Denying the existence of systemic racism would be akin to denying climate change.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Isfahan Merali

“I do support the Statement of Principles requirement in its current form.  They form part of 13 interconnected recommendations and I believe we should go even further to expand our work to eliminate systemic discrimination in the legal professions.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Malcolm Mercer

“We must be dedicated to equality, diversity and inclusion in practice. The human rights of our colleagues and the legal needs of our diverse society demands that we do so. We must be dedicated to the work of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and work to address past injustices.”[/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Paul Le Vay

“I do not believe [the Statement of Principles] is telling lawyers what to think. It simply requires lawyers to confirm that they will abide by human rights law and has the salutary effect of requiring us all to think about that once a year. It is a step toward an important goal, but more remains to be done if we are to have our bar look like our province.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Jonathan Rosenthal

“It is time […] to stop just studying the problems and do something about it.  The [Statement of Principles] is a start.  I have always realized the privileges I have.  The older I get (and I am not getting any younger) the more I realize these privileges and the more it motivates me to do something for those who don’t.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Rebecca Durcan

“I wholeheartedly support the SOP requirement…The reaction and resistance of certain segments of the professions demonstrate the absolute need for the requirement.”[/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Orlando Da Silva

“Access to justice is clearly within the mandate of the LSO.”




[one_half_last] Tanya Walker

“Diversity is a significant and important commitment of the Law Society and the lawyers of Ontario in service to the public.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Shalini Konanur

“I am in full support of the SOP and advancing both gender and race equity issues through the LSO.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Gina Papageorgiou

“Diversity, inclusion, and fair treatment of equity-seeking groups are critical for public confidence. As the legal profession, we should be at the forefront of these human rights issues.”[/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Howard Goldblatt

 “[I will] ensure that the recommendations of the Racialized Licensees Working Group are fully implemented. [I will] defend and oppose any attempt in Convocation or otherwise to water down or in any way render those recommendations less effective.”




[one_half_last] Megan Shortreed

“This is a critical election, coming as it does following the divisive debate about the SOP. Many racialized lawyers have been deeply hurt, and rightly so, by the tenor of that debate. In my view, what is needed now is not just benchers who are on the right side of the issue, but benchers who can be very effective in moving the EDI agenda forward (and who will also show good judgment on a myriad of other issues).”[/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Signa Daum Shanks

“Immediately, I can help with any efforts that pertain to learning about diverse perspectives and how these views impact legal and procedure reform, our own governance methods and what the LSO expects of of lawyers within society as a whole. With particular focus on Indigenous perspectives, I see these efforts as a way to reminds us about how the public interest is best served when we are perceived to be aware of the qualities and pressures society actually has.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] John Callaghan

“[The Law Society] must champion the need for a robust legal aid system to both levels of government and to share the profession’s insights to ensure that the profession’s concerns are known.  It must support the need for a strong and independent certificate bar to represent the less fortunate, particularly against the interest of the state.  It must also continue to support the “unique and effective“ work that our clinic legal aid system does to support the economically disadvantaged of this province – truly a matter of great pride for the province.” [/one_half_last]




[one_half_last] Julian Falconer

“I am committed to continuing my role as an agent of change at the Law Society. Access to justice,
diversity and service to the profession are all priorities that inform my work as a Bencher and inspire my private practice.”[/one_half_last]




[one_half_last] Quinn Ross, Southwest

“We must find ways, and promptly, to embrace and grow our diversity in order to benefit from the abundance of ideas and perspectives it invariably brings.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Jacqueline Horvat, Southwest

“Complex issues can only be properly addressed when those considering them bring to the table a diversity of views, perspectives, and backgrounds.”





Janis Criger, Central South

“There is systemic racism in Ontario, including in the legal profession. It is up to lawyers to lead the way in eliminating systemic racism in Ontario and in Canada. That starts with eliminating it in the legal profession, so we set an example for others.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Teresa Donnelly, Southwest

“We need to ensure that the Legal Aid Report recommendations are implemented; that we are connecting the public to legal services; that our rules are not creating barriers to access to justice; that we are collaborating with stakeholders to ensure access to justice…and that we are encouraging systemic change.”[/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Douglas Judson, Northwest

“I believe that requiring licensees to affirm their respect of difference, to welcome diversity, and to foster equity in their practices is entirely consistent – if not central – to our commitment to the cause of justice itself. This is particularly so in light of the legal profession’s history of excluding some groups in our society and the continuing challenges our justice institutions face as they strive to account for historic wrongs.” [/one_half_last]



[one_half_last] Paul Cooper, Central East 

“It is my position that we need to go further: that every licensee should have a copy of the Statement of Principles posted in their reception area, so that it is not only that other members of the profession feel comfortable and safe, but also clients and the public who we are to serve.” [/one_half_last]


RODA – Bencher Candidate Meet & Greet

The Roundtable of Diversity Associations is hosting a Bencher Candidate Meet & Greet on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 from 6pm to 8:30pm at the OBA Conference Centre at 200-20 Toronto Street, Toronto, ON. 

Come meet your Bencher candidates who support the LSO’s Statement of Principles!