Diversity & Inclusion
At Goodmans, our positive culture defines us and guides our growth. The cornerstone of that culture, originally embodied by our founder Eddie Goodman, is a commitment to people. Our culture is founded on the recognition that every member of our law firm is a unique individual and that we succeed together by supporting each other.
We cultivate an environment in which each person is comfortable being themselves. We are a collection of individuals with distinct backgrounds, ideas, beliefs and contributions, who find strength in our differences. Our goal is to recruit, retain and promote a diverse group of lawyers, students and other firm members, as we are keenly aware that the varied contributions of our firm members make us stronger together.
Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee identifies opportunities to strengthen our diversity and inclusion efforts and works to realize those opportunities. Our current focus is on recruiting, mentoring and sponsorship, engagement and advancement, and community involvement. Our goal is to foster an inclusive environment where we celebrate and value the diversity of our people.
Recent Initiatives Include:
- We are a founding member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network (LFDIN), a Canadian law firm initiative dedicated to the promotion of diversity and inclusiveness within the legal profession, and an original signatory to its Statement of Principles.
- Through the LFDIN and Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD) joint mentoring initiative, we pair associates from underrepresented groups in private practice with LLD mentors who provide guidance and support.
- We provide summer placements for Law in Action Within Schools (LAWS) high school students and ensure they have a meaningful and rewarding summer experience in a legal environment.
- We host groups of female high school students to meet with our women lawyers through the Trailblazers: Meeting Women in Law program, a joint effort by The Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN), the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and LAWS.
- Our Women In Law Group plans Continuing Professional Development sessions, including celebrations for International Women’s Day. Recent celebrations featured an inspiring talk from leaders of Coady’s Indigenous Women in Community Leadership Program and Dr. Vivien Brown who shared the latest research in understanding and treating women’s health issues as well as the importance of advocating for women-specific topics.
- We hold Women’s Mentor Circle lunches where our female Partners and Senior Associates provide career advice and guidance to our students and younger female generation of lawyers.
- We were honoured to host an open forum evening with representatives from the Roundtable of Diversity Associations (RODA) in the summer of 2016.
- Our Pride celebrations include Goodmans’ float in the 2015 Toronto Pride Parade and continued Pride Month education and in-firm celebrations each year.
- We provide unconscious bias training for all recruitment teams and student mentors. Our recent inclusion session with our 2017 Summer Students was a terrific opportunity to discuss the importance of inclusion and learn from each other.
In 2017, we continue to celebrate significant events together, including:
- Lunar New Year
- Black History Month including a discussion with Dr. Jean Augustine
- Firm wide lunch to support each other in the wake of the U.S. Travel Ban
- March on Bay Street: Toronto's downtown business community came together to support diversity and inclusion
- Eid al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan
Recent Sponsorships Include:
- Black Law Students' Association of Canada (BLSA Canada)
- Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL)
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
- Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL)
- Korean Canadian Lawyers Association (KCLA)
- "Our Children’s Medicine”, an Aboriginal employment and mentorship initiative in Toronto,
- Out on Bay Street
- South Asian Bar Association of Toronto (SABA)
Community Involvement & Pro Bono
We have a long-standing tradition of supporting charities and local communities. Our lawyers are encouraged to be actively involved in our community. Many volunteer as board members for a wide breadth of non-profit organizations including AIDS Committee of Toronto, Camp Trillium, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Regent Park Music, Youthdale Treatment Centre, and Mount Sinai Hospital. Our firm members are significant participants in events to support United Way, the Hospital for Sick Children, the Daily Bread Food Bank, Canadian Blood Services, Vibe Arts and many others. Goodmans has been honoured by the United Way with an Exemplary Award - which placed Goodmans in the top 15% of all workplace campaigns in Toronto - and with a Spirit Award acknowledging excellence in community giving.
Some of our recent and ongoing initiatives include the annual Winter Hope Clothing Drive for the Yonge Street Mission, serving meals at Lawyers Feed the Hungry, growing moustaches for "Movember" in support of prostate cancer research, hosting a holiday party for the local Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club, and internal pay-it-forward and random acts of kindness initiatives.
Many of our lawyers are active on pro bono files, including acting as duty counsel with Law Help Ontario, working with Lifeline Syria, providing on-site legal guidance and mentorship to DMZ at Ryerson (a university-based incubator for emerging tech startups) and IDEABOOST (a Toronto-based business accelerator for tech startups) and providing pro bono legal services to the winner of DementiaHack (a hackathon dedicated to improving the lives of people living with dementia).