At Bereskin & Parr, we don’t simply pay lip service to EDI—we back up our verbal commitments with action. Below are just a few ways our firm is driving EDI in our workplace and beyond.
In February 2021, Bereskin & Parr became a signatory of the BlackNorth Initiative CEO Pledge—a commitment to support Black and Indigenous Canadians, as well as other under-represented groups, by creating an equitable future that’s free from systemic racial barriers. We apply BlackNorth’s vast resources and best practices to make our work environment an even more inclusive space, and work towards ending anti-Black racism in Canada.
Black and Indigenous student initiative
In the 2021-2022 academic year, we launched an annual scholarship and bursary program for Black and Indigenous first year law students in partnership with the University of Toronto, Western University, and University of Ottawa (Civil Law), with a preference to those who have a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degree (or who have an interest in IP.) These awards highlight B&P’s commitment to supporting the legal education of Black and Indigenous students as part of our affiliation with The BlackNorth Initiative and furthers our ongoing pledge to foster diversity within the STEM fields.
Celebrating diversity in intellectual property law
We work with several professional organizations to promote diversity and inclusion in intellectual property law. One way we do this is through our annual sponsorship of the International Trademark Association “Glinta” party in support of the INTA LGBTQ2S+ community. We also host the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Women in IP Networking Global Event at our Toronto Offices once a year and encourage our members to participate in the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada’s Women in IP (WING).
Celebrating diversity and inclusion in our community
Every year, we host or support events to celebrate diversity and inclusion in our local communities, such as the annual Let’s Bond Urban Ball event in Montreal, an event raising awareness and funds for research around mental health issues affecting young people. We also organize annual Pride events with the law firms Wildeboer Dellelce and Hicks Morley.
Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network (LFDIN)
Bereskin & Parr has been an active member of LFDIN since 2015, including sponsoring its annual programming. LFDIN is a group of Canadian law firms that have agreed to work together to promote diversity and encourage a culture of inclusion in our firms and the broader legal profession. LFDIN members believe that valuing and enhancing diversity and inclusion will help us attract and retain the best talent, and better serve our clients’ needs in an evolving global marketplace.
Mental health and awareness week
Every year, we host a week-long event for all members of the Bereskin & Parr team. For example, our 2020 mental health and awareness week was a collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association to incorporate its Not Myself Today (NMT) campaign, a workplace mental health initiative aimed at engaging people to change the way we think about, act towards, and support mental health. Past events included a visit from a therapy dog, a meditation room, yoga, and professional development activities. For the past few years, we have organized quarterly mental health educational seminars for all firm members.
Unconscious bias training
Our partners, associates, and management routinely participate in unconscious bias training from leading facilitators in the field, raising awareness of how pervasive forms of bias potentially affect decision-making and interpersonal interactions.
30% Club Canada
As a continuing member of the 30% Club Canada, our firm supports the proven fact that it is good business practice to have women holding at least 30% of board seats in Canada, as well as having stronger representation in the C-suite. As a member of Canada’s business community, we share the aspiration to collectively reach this goal and we have demonstrated leadership by reaching this goal ourselves. To date, we’ve had two female managing partners and a female COO—and women make up 50% of our Executive Committee, 43% of our professionals, 52% of our associate group, and 30% of our partner group. Women lead several of our practice groups, including AI; Cannabis; Chemical; Cleantech; Life Science; Patents; Plant Breeders’ Rights; Privacy, Cybersecurity, & Data Protection; Regulatory, Advertising, and Marketing; and Trademarks. In 2022, six of our professionals were recognized in Euromoney’s 2022 Expert Guides: Women in Business Law