Stewart McKelvey: Diversity Questionnaire

Stewart McKelvey logo on top of a blurred image of a close up portrait of overjoyed young multiracial black employees team have fun posing for selfie on smartphone in office together.

As a “Foundation Five” title sponsor, Stewart McKelvey was asked to fill out our diversity questionnaire. The purpose of this diversity questionnaire is to showcase a firm’s or organization’s commitment to the advancement of Black employees or members, as well as any other initiatives committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

By Lynn Iding, Director, Human

1. Describe your firm or organization’s field or practice areas. What are you known for in your community?

Stewart McKelvey is Atlantic Canada’s largest business law firm. We are known for our top-tier service to clients and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

2. Name 3 values that embody the culture of your firm or organization.

Stewart McKelvey values superior client service and a commitment to our people. We foster a respectful, inclusive culture where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work.

3. Does your firm or organization conduct anonymous internal diversity surveys?

The firm conducts anonymous internal diversity surveys every two years. The last survey was completed in 2021. The results of the surveys inform the firm’s annual diversity, equity and inclusion action plan.

4. Describe a way your firm or organization actively supports, promotes, and advances your Black employees or Black members. If you do not have any Black employees or members, describe the steps you are taking to increase Black representation.

The firm has built competency among its lawyers and managers to employ strategies to mitigate against unconscious bias. In addition, we have trained lawyers and managers in cultural competence and practical strategies to advance inclusion. In particular, we approach work delegation, performance management, and advancement through a lens of inclusion. As a practical example, the firm recently held a roundtable discussion for Black members of the firm hosted by Don Oliver and Candace Thomas, in cooperation with the Chair of our Law Student Recruitment Committee Burtley Francis – a Black partner at the firm.

5. Does your firm or organization offer diversity, unconscious bias, and/or anti-Black racism education and training?

The firm provides training in the form of webinars, educational postings, events, and live classroom training. The firm is currently running a virtual series of modules on cultural competence and anti-racism. Participation is not mandatory, but is strongly encouraged. Attendance rates are high.

6. Why should a prospective law student consider future employment or membership with your firm or organization?

While there will always be more work to do, Stewart McKelvey is truly committed to “walking the walk” when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion. We go beyond checking boxes, and make real efforts to create an environment of true inclusion where everyone can be their authentic selves and where we all take accountability for contributing to an inclusive workplace.

7. List any other initiatives your firm or organization is involved in internally and/or externally that demonstrate your commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The firm recently re-vamped its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program to include articulated measurable deliverables. The CEO of the firm recently became the chair of the DEI committee, to ensure that the commitment to DEI comes from the top down.

8. Name one goal your firm or organization has to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in 2022?

The firm is focusing on work allocation/distribution in 2022, in order to further ensure that all lawyers and students are given access to quality work and mentorship.

9. What advice do you have for an aspiring law student?

Ask the probing questions! Get out and meet current law students or even lawyers of various practice areas. Find out just how varied a legal career can be. Stay curious.

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