Category Archives: News

Canadian Lawyer Mag lists the top 25 most influential lawyers: department of predictability

So, Canadian Lawyer has provided law geeks across the country with something to argue about.  Anything to increase readership, right? On that front, at least, we agree.

Here’s my take (there are also regional takes, of course, including a sharply worded critique from a Quebec lawyer who was on the judging panel): The list includes 4 women (the Chief Justice, at the top of the list, Justice Abella, Sheila Block and Marlys Edwardh), one person of colour (Julian Falconer), as far as my knowledge goes, and (again, as far as I know) no Indigenous lawyers.  lawyers with disabilities. (i skipped a page, it seems, and as a lawyer i have trouble with counting). However, David Lepofsky, who is blind and works ceaselessly as an advocate for people with disabilities, is included.

Click the picture to see the article, or click here. The panel that chose the list is noted on the last page.

Why don’t we open up the comments on this one – any thoughts?

  • On the one hand, given the Ornstein report, is this just an accurate description of a profession in which racialized lawyers and women are usually relegated to positions which lack influence, not to mention high pay?
  • What about the methodology of measuring influence (something I’m struggling with in thinking about teaching/mentoring) – what counts? I’ve included the criteria below. In making their list, Canadian Lawyer said it was about both power and influence. What about innovative and inspirational practitioners?
  • What is the meaning of lists like these in constructing the profession? Do lists like these make an already closed profession more so? Or is the list just a meaningless marketing device?
  • What about an alternative list? Who would you nominate? Leaving academics out of it (i’m making a safe assumption about readership here), can we put together a list of people who could/will/should be the most influential in 10 years?

In general, we thought we’d avoid opening comments on this blog, for reasons that perhaps I’ll blog about later this week.  But let’s try one baby step here. If you can correct any of my errors, please do.  Otherwise, let’s think about metrics and alternatives. Maybe we can do a monthly feature on people who SHOULD be influential, but won’t make it past most of CL’s criteria:

Who are behind cutting-edge advocacy and getting the ear of government? The judiciary obviously wields power but who hold positions that really have an impact? It’s about respect, ability to influence public opinion, and help shape the laws of this country; contribution to the strength and quality of legal services; and social and political influence and involvement. It can include politicians and regulators, but only if they are lawyers and are still in the legal field. (from Canadian Lawyer Magazine)

[Call for Papers] Indigenous-African relations across the Americas

This conference is happening at York in 2011, the Centre for Feminist Research is involved and the main organizer is York Indigenous Studies Professor Bonita Lawrence.

Our Legacy: Indigenous-African Relations Across the Americas
April 29, 30 and May 1, 2011  York University, Toronto, Canada

Continue reading [Call for Papers] Indigenous-African relations across the Americas

Documenting the Race and Gender Pay Gap in the Ontario Legal Profession

This Law Society of Upper Canada report is based on the 2006 Census, including the 6400 lawyers who filled out the Long Form Census. Click here for the full report..  Ornstein (based at York University’s Institute for Social Research) documents the gender gap in earnings and the “much larger” difference between the earnings of racialized lawyers and White lawyers.  And apparently the gender gap in earnings isn’t decreasing anymore. There’s much more in the report.   Continue reading Documenting the Race and Gender Pay Gap in the Ontario Legal Profession

Camille A. Nelson named Dean of Suffolk Law School in the U.S.

Well, this is good news on a number of fronts!  Committed, dynamic, brilliant, and a woman of colour who identifies as Canadian, among other things (click for a link to one of her articles which contains a very thoughtful discussion of multiple identities), Camille has a degree from the University of Toronto and a law degree from Ottawa U.  She clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada, and, after getting an LLM from Columbia, she’s done interesting and important work on race, gender and beyond.  Have a look at her 2010 publication in the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law on disability (mental health), policing and race.  Her contributions go way beyond her scholarship, though, as her many awards and honours suggest (see link below or click on picture to learn more about her).

She’s the first woman and first person of colour to be Dean at Suffolk.  I met Camille when i was just out of law school and she was at Columbia doing her LLM.  She was so impressive then. It seems she’s gotten only more so in the interim.  Have you read Racism Eh? It came out in 2004.  Maybe it’s new to you, though! Check it out. Click through to the publisher’s site for ordering.

And of course, Camille joins Dalhousie’s new Schulich School of Law Dean, Kim Brooks, creating an east coast mini hotspot in the reinvention of Dean-ing.   More on Camille’s appointment here: Suffolk Law News.

– sonia

Is Yorku Safe?

This long awaited report (the process was started in 2007) has finally been released and is available here in pdf.

In President Shoukri’s covering letter (click here), he writes:

….one of the most prominent themes from the METRAC safety audit is the need to develop a more pronounced culture of safety and security for all community members. …The report also highlights opportunities for the enhancement to our services, programs, policies, and infrastructure. For those reasons, I have appointed Gary Brewer, Vice-President Finance and Administration, to lead a pan-University committee to review the report and develop a comprehensive action plan which will be developed over the summer. In early September, I will provide an update to the York Community….