Diversity & Inclusion and Women's Initiatives
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 perspectives and 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 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.
Our Women's Success Committee
Our Women’s Success Committee supports and promotes the success of our women lawyers by identifying issues and challenges and implementing solutions though awareness, dialogue and action. The Women’s Success Committee is a dedicated group of men and women leading the initiative, with the entire partnership taking responsibility, engaging colleagues and leading by example.
Recent Initiatives Include:
- Black Future Lawyers Program (BFL) – Goodmans, along with 13 other leading Canadian firms, have partnered in an important initiative to address systemic obstacles facing Black students considering law school. Partner firms have collectively agreed to contribute $125,000 each over 10 years (totalling $1.75M) to support BFL and the establishment of BFL chapters at universities across Canada. To read more about the initiative, click here.
- BlackNorth Initiative Law Firm Pledge - Blakes, BLG, Davies, Dentons, Fasken, Goodmans, Gowling WLG, McCarthy Tétrault, Osler and Torys are committed to addressing and ending anti-Black and other forms of structural racism in the legal profession. We have signed the BlackNorth Initiative Law Firm Pledge because of our individual and collective commitment to achieve the goals set out in the Pledge and to deliver on these concrete, measurable actions that will effect meaningful change. We commend the BlackNorth Initiative (BNI) for initiating the Law Firm Pledge. The Canadian Association for Black Lawyers (CABL), played an important role in our collaborative discussions. We will continue to work with BNI, CABL and other stakeholders across the legal profession to break down barriers to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of Black law students and lawyers in our firms. Stronger together, we will drive progress and deliver lasting change. To read the BlackNorth Initiative Law Firm Pledge our firms signed, click here.
- Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network (LFDIN) - We are a founding member of this 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.
- Law in Action Within Schools (LAWS) - We are an avid supporter of LAWS and in recent years, have provided summer placements for high school students to ensure they have a meaningful and rewarding summer experience in a legal environment.
- We've partnered with Young Women in Law, most recently for its “Financial Planning & Investment 101” event, featuring a panel on long-term financial planning, budgeting and investing for young professional women (with a focus on women in law).
- 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 Success Committee plans Continuing Professional Development sessions, including celebrations for International Women’s Day. In 2021, we will host Hacking Sophia co-founder, Janet Winkler, for an important session exploring work/life balance and dealing with family realities. Other recent events have featured Rhiannon Rosalind, CEO of The Economic Club and Fiona Sampson, CEO of the equality effect.
- 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.
- Our annual Pride celebrations have included a Choir! Choir! Choir! performance, a Goodmans’ float in the 2015 Toronto Pride Parade (the first for a law firm!) and continued education and celebrations each year.
- We provide unconscious bias training for all recruitment teams and mentors (both at the student and associate levels).
Every year, we celebrate significant events together, including:
- Lunar New Year
- Black History Month
- Pride Month
- Eid al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan
- Indigenous Peoples Day
- Rosh Hashanah
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, Baycrest Health Sciences and Mount Sinai Hospital. Our firm members are significant participants in events to support United Way (including hosting a firm-wide United Way Campaign annually), 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, partnering with providing families of Ronald McDonald House with meals that they can take with them to a hospital, serving meals at Lawyers Feed the Hungry, 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). We recently partnered with BMO to host a Goodmans/BMO Week at Pro Bono Ontario, whereby our lawyers and students provided free summary legal advice to low-income Ontarians via Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline. We also provided pro bono hours to assist with Canada’s first-ever nationwide Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline.