Tag Archives: diversity

Fresh Tweets

king/blackbirds (blackbird pie)


Next week at York!

Dr. Sally Engle Merry  “The Seductions of Quantification: Human Rights, Trafficking, and the Rise of Indicator Culture”. Dec2  yorku 2:30(Senate Chamber N Ross 9thfl)


  • “Rethinking  Rape  Law  Reform Colloquium: Critical, conceptual & comparative perspectives” [Dec 6: program here]  RMIT Aus h/t @AsherFlynn {with Lise Gotell and Sharon Cowan!}
  • ‏@kmcneilly01:   Critical Legal Thinking have just posted a series of short pieces on Angela Davis – have a look http://criticallegalthinking.com/ 
  • @feministsatlaw: our response to @LSELaw’s recent ‘Is Rape Different?’ Debate Http://journals.kent.ac.uk/index.php/feministsatlaw/article/view/80/212 …

Revenge Porn (so called)

‏@globeandmail: Editorial: Much of Ottawa’s cyberbullying bill had nothing to do with the subject. Stop the legislative acrobatics http://tgam.ca/Dwpk 

@MichaelPlaxton: G&M op-ed on  revengeporn bill We need cultural shift abt sex & women, not just  criminal offence. http://bit.ly/1jvRNdL 

[i went to read.  Interesting! And here’s a paragraph near the end that was really helpful to me:

There is more going on. Another time I commented on how a conference involved only white male speakers. I should add that this conference took place at Goldsmiths and these kinds of “only white male” or “only but one” events happen regularly here, I suspect because of the kinds of bodies that tend to be organised under the rubric of “critical theory.” Someone replies that they thought I sounded “very 1980s,” and that they thought we had “got over” identity politics. Not only might we want to challenge the use of identity politics here as a form of political caricature, but we might want to think of this “over.” What does it mean to assume we have “got over” something? This claim participates in a genre of argumentation I call “overing.” In assuming we are over certain kinds of critique, they create the impression we are over what is being critiqued. Feminist and anti-racist critique are heard as old-fashioned, as based on identity categories that we are assumed to be over.   



In Memory of Sunila Abeysekera  SriLanka  feminist  activist IGLHRC: Int’l Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Cmsn http://bit.ly/18KKiL2 

‏@ArmineYalnizyan Doris Lessing dies aged 94 http://gu.com/p/3keed/tw  via @guardian

For Fun

Disturbing Google Searches For Feminism, Re-Imagined by Inspiring Feminists – awesome thanks @feministabulous http://bit.ly/1hLVu3C 


Calgary  mother used herbal meds facing charges 7yo son died of treatable bacterial infection http://bit.ly/1aPdRhO from @DebraParkes

Robson ‏@RobsonConLaw  Circumstantial evidence of loitering for sexwork doesn’t include skinny jeans and peacoat DOLL IN SKINNY JEANS & PEA COAT

@cearta: Mann Singh wins turban case in Geneva ( UNHRC) after losing in Strasbourg (before the ECHR) http://feedly.com/e/-oEBb0q5 



Films for the  Feminist  Classroom online, open access, hosted at Signs Journal Rutgers http://bit.ly/18KLtdu 

amazing resources here for lawyers/communities. neat model too. Equal Rights Trust bit.ly/18G3tJu h/t Joanna Birenbaum

#feministlawnerding for fun & solidarity


Melissa Castan ‏@MsCastan Some #lawnerds might enjoy Cambridge Eminent Law Scholars Archive: http://www.squire.law.cam.ac.uk/eminent_scholars/ …

@MsCastan w/ Australia’s Jane Stapleton as lone Eminent woman… A neat idea, though, the archive.

Fiona de Londras ‏@fdelond  @MsCastan ah, look at all those women….oh, hold on

@MsCastan sure listen, women + eminent = system failure. right?

Melissa Castan ‏@OsgoodeIFLS we could encourage them…

 @MsCastan let’s talk methods! not much of any kind of diversity in the list of Eminents, really. I would like to look at area of law too.

[so, Melissa Castan made an effort to call out Cambridge Law for their approach to eminence]

Melissa Castan ‏@MsCastan  @fdelond @OsgoodeIFLS perhaps @CamLibGroup or @cambridgelaw might have a look for some more Eminent Women to include in their archive.

[and i felt better, truly]

@MsCastan @fdelond i feel better about the whole thing now that there are allies out there and we can poke fun. Next: actual change!






Osgoode Catalyst Fellowship: enhancing the diversity of the profession. Deadline December 13

Please circulate to likely candidates and appropriate list serves.  Osgoode has had the privilege of hosting two great Fellows in the early years of this Fellowship (Amar Bhatia, Pooja Parmar) and we look forward to many more.


Osgoode Catalyst Fellowship 

[link at http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/faculty/osgoode-catalyst-fellowship-application-process ]

The Osgoode Catalyst Fellowship program will serve as a bridge to a legal academic career for one or more scholars each academic year.

The Osgoode Catalyst Fellowships are designed to bring to Osgoode emerging scholars who have a demonstrated interest in a career in law teaching, and to support and mentor scholars who will enhance the diversity of the profession. Fellows will be given the opportunity to present a faculty seminar with the aim of preparing a major article for publication, to pursue an active affiliation with one of our research centers, and to teach a course at the Law School.

Promising candidates should commit to being in residence at the Law School for a full academic year. Fellowships may also be awarded for a semester. Fellows will receive approximately $50,000 in funding for a full academic year.

Fellows should not be degree candidates at Osgoode Hall Law School or any other school during the term of the fellowship.

Osgoode Hall Law School is committed to equality and diversity. We especially welcome applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, and LGBT candidates. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, and we encourage candidates to self-identify in their initial applications.

Interested individuals should send an application that includes a curriculum vitae, copies of law and graduate transcripts, a detailed statement of a research project, and three signed confidential letters of academic reference to be received as soon as possible, and in any event no later than, Friday December 13, 2013 to:

Nicole Salama
Secretary of the Faculty Recruitment Committee
Osgoode Hall Law School
York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON  M3J 1P3
e-mail: facultyrecruitment@osgoode.yorku.ca
tel: (416) 650-8283

Please note that electronic applications are strongly preferred, and hard copies will not be returned.

Lawrence reviews Sara Ahmed's On Being Included on Jotwell

I reviewed Sara Ahmed’s On Being Included on Jotwell, here: bit.ly/1cdXfyg

After reading Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia1 and attending the Symposium organized around the book by the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice, I came home to find Sara Ahmed’s On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life waiting in my mailbox (this Jot is about On Being Included, although I’m quite prepared to say that I like Presumed Incompetent (lots) as well). The combination of these two books, both filled with personal stories and institutional insight, cracked my vision of my own place in the legal academy, and the “practice” of diversity, wide open. I read this work as a person who shares a (not surprising, really) number of experiences-as-academic with Ahmed. I read it just after reading the often deeply personal essays in Presumed Incompetent. I also read it as a person who has worked to avoid being noticed as “the problem” while trying to maintain a commitment to anti-racist work. These days, that means deep concern that my own strategies and efforts are nothing more than thinly veneered cooptation. All of these things, I think, amplified the impact of the book on me. But I still do not hesitate to recommend it to you, Jotwell reader

Go and read the full review, if you have a few minutes.

If you aren’t following Jotwell: Equality (and the other sections too), maybe consider it? A good way to have other people curate some of the flood of publications.  Also, that picture of me on jotwell – more than 10 years old, so, yes. Especially in light of the fact that I can update social media 10x a day, I can probably manage a new photo.

Welcome to summer, if you’re in my hemisphere.

"Diversity" in legal practice & A Call to Action Canada

A Call to Action Canada is having a symposium in Toronto on the afternoon of Thursday September 15th, 2011.  Information here.  The program includes the following discussions:

  • Diversity and First Nations:  A discussion of the challenges facing Aboriginal lawyers amid the growing importance and impact of First Nations business and legal issues.
  • Towards Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion: A discussion on hard-wiring sustainable diversity and inclusiveness into an organization’s mission, goals and operational strategies and presentation of the Toolkit developed by the Diversity and Inclusion Office of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

On Friday August 5th, I had the privilege of sitting on a panel at the American Bar Associations Toronto annual meeting, entitled Facilitating Diversity: Similar Countries, Different Experiences – How Historical Context Informs How We Address Diversity Today.  The panel was co sponsored by the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Fraser Milner Casgrain, the hosts. It was a real pleasure to meet the other speakers, all with tremendous experience and expertise in the area – and to learn about some really interesting initiatives in terms of how large corporate firm lawyers and in house counsel can advocate for and demand more diversity in their corner of the profession. In particular, I was pleased to meet Joy Casey, a Canadian litigator and in-house counsel for Aurora Holdings.  She is the founder of A Call to Action Canada.

I only recently learned about A Call to Action (I posted something brief in May, click here).  Luckily for me, Joseph West, Associate General Counsel at Wal-Mart presented a concise overview of the (american) genesis of this innovative effort to improve diversity.  Essentially, A Call to Action invites companies to sign on to a set of commitments about improving diversity.  These commitments include the following:

we pledge that we will make decisions regarding which law firms represent our companies based in significant part on the diversity performance of the firms.

Joe West also talked about the positive impact on the bottom line of “improving diversity performance” including making better use of underutilized people at the firm, eliminating the waste of talent, etc.  Joy Casey has made an effort to bring the insights of A Call to Action to Canada, and has signed up  Deloitte and Touche LLP, E.I. DuPont Canada Company, Ernst & Young LLP, GlaxoSmithKline Inc. and Royal Bank of Canada.

The importance of A Call to Action is, as I learned, that it makes diversity matter on the bottom line. For some folks, this is how to get their attention and their energy onto a matter.  So these kinds of efforts could have a very significant impact on changing the practices and attention to diversity at large law firms. The American Call to Action has many signatories – who will be asking questions about “diversity performance” of their Canadian law firms. More information can be found at the website of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity [LCLD] (“Our vision is to significantly advance diversity and inclusion in our profession.”).  Here is pledge,, here is the LCLD’s 2008 White Paper, here are some reports on diversity in the U.S. legal context, and here’s an article about the program.  I think I heard that there are similar programs, but these lack the “teeth” of the Call to Action model, so query how much impact affirming commitments to diversity might mean without these “teeth”.

Present at the panel was Drucilla Ramey, now Dean of Golden Gate University Law School and a long time advocate for law firm diversity, who gently confirmed that I should not expect to ever escape the pull of this issue.  Seriously, at one point I actually thought this might not be something I would spend the rest of my life talking about. I don’t know if Dean Ramey actually rolled her eyes at me, but you know what I mean.  And I have been realising this slowly for a while. So.  New plan:  embrace it.


Interested? Find Law Times articles here and here, describing the activities of A Call to Action Canada, and the response of the profession.One of the most interesting things is the reporting that firms have to do for the purposes of benchmarking and measuring their success or failure in terms of diversity.  Maybe I can find more on that to post at a later date.

[In other news, it’s allergy season, I appear to have lost my Blackberry (Thursday night), and I’ve just moved into my newly renovated office, sans asbestos, but with many packed boxes.  The big question: will blogging suffer or thrive under these conditions? The “procrastination-of-other-tasks” aspect of blogging leaves this always unclear.



Kate Broer, Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP

Fred W. Alvarez, Chair, ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (Palo Alto)

Joseph K. West, Associate General Counsel, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Sonia Lawrence, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School York University, and Director, Institute for Feminist Legal Studies

Jenny Rivera, Professor, CUNY School of Law, and Director, CUNY School of Law Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality

A Call To Action Canada: Law Firm Diversity

File under other approaches to pushing for diversity at Law Firms.  The mission statement of ACTAC is:

As Corporate Legal Officers, we affirm our commitment to diversity in the legal profession.  Our action is based on the need to enhance opportunity in the legal profession for women and minorities and our recognition that the legal and business interests of our clients require legal representation that reflects the diversity of our employees, customers and the communities where we do business.  In furtherance of this commitment, this is intended to be a Call to Action for the profession generally, in particular for our law departments and for the law firms with which our companies do business.

Third Annual Conference May 17, 2011 click here for brochure, agenda, registration.

One of the sponsors is a firm called “White Men as Full Diversity Partners”. That stopped me in my tracks! Here’s their website and what they do:

Diverse organizational cultures require leaders to understand the range of perspectives held by those surrounding them. Leaders may not recognize how other cultural views are constantly at play within the organization and may miss opportunities to fully engage the talent and energy of others. In particular, white male leaders have often been unaware of their own culture and its impact on themselves and others in the workplace. WHITE MEN AS FULL DIVERSITY PARTNERS, guides leaders to a place of deeper understanding and awareness, heightened cultural competence and transformative leadership.