Inclusion and Diversity at McMillan

McMillan is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity that respects and embraces the unique backgrounds, perspectives, experiences and talents of individuals at all levels of the firm. This helps every firm member to realize their full potential and enhances their ability to achieve professional excellence. Inclusion and diversity is advanced at McMillan under the leadership of our Inclusion & Diversity Council, and through progressive firm policies and participation by the firm and its members in various organizations.

Message from our CEO

“Inclusion and diversity are essential elements of our culture at McMillan. They are woven into our firm fabric, in part through our core values of respect and teamwork. We know that reflecting different insights, perspectives and experiences helps us better serve our staff and our clients.

At McMillan, we believe that we will achieve greater collective success by attracting and retaining the best talent, and by representing and supporting the broad communities from which we draw our members, the communities in which we live and work, and the communities to which we provide legal services. Our firm is proud to sponsor and participate in a number of professional and community initiatives and groups that promote inclusion and diversity.

The Executive Committee and I are committed to creating an environment where all firm members feel included, are treated with dignity and respect and are given opportunities to contribute to our success.

We have seen the benefits of being inclusive and diverse in delivering innovative solutions and exceptional client service, contributing to our communities, reflecting our firm’s values and making our business successful.”

Teresa Dufort, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner, McMillan LLP

Inclusion & Diversity Council: Our Inclusion & Diversity Council (IDC) is comprised of the following firm members:

  • Tushara Weerasooriya (Chair, IDC)
  • Teresa Dufort, CEO
  • John Clifford
  • Herb Ono
  • Nisha Rider
  • Tiffany Soucy
  • Marina Tran
  • Ehsan Wahidie

The IDC is responsible for developing and coordinating the firm’s inclusion initiatives and makes recommendations directly to the firm’s leadership.  As part of its mandate, the IDC consults with McMillan’s Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Group which is comprised of firm members from a broad cross-section of offices, practice groups, key staff roles and other stakeholders.

Our commitment to advancing inclusion and diversity in all aspects of the firm is demonstrated through the initiatives highlighted below:

Training: McMillan provides inclusion and diversity training to all firm members. Training is provided both by external consultants specializing in inclusion and diversity training, as well as by the firm’s human resources professionals. The training includes workshops on identifying and minimizing unconscious bias, as well as improving intercultural and intercommunity awareness.

Firm Environment: McMillan implemented a firm-wide consultation process to design and announce core Firm Values and related behaviours which reflect a firm consensus on fostering a positive, diverse and productive work environment. These values are: Respect, Teamwork, Commitment, Client Service and Professional Excellence. In identifying the first firm value of “Respect”, McMillan has set an expectation that all firm members are committed to maintaining a work environment where individuals will be supported and treated with respect and dignity regardless of age, race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religious beliefs, seniority or position.

Recruitment: McMillan has adopted proactive recruitment strategies which are non-discriminatory, both directly and systemically, and which encourage the hiring of diverse talents. McMillan’s Professional Services Committee (PSC), comprised of lawyers from all offices, oversees all recruitment activities to ensure these objectives are met in our recruitment of students and lawyers. Our national Human Resources team ensures these objectives are met in our recruitment of staff and other firm members.

Firm Policies: McMillan has established internal policies and practices intended to provide equal opportunity and foster a workplace free of discrimination, including a progressive Alternative Work Arrangement Policy and Workplace Accommodation Policy, a generous Maternity, Parental, Paternity Leave Policy and an Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

Advancement: Investing in our people to support their career growth and advancement is important to us. The firm invests in professional development programs, coaching, informal and formal mentoring to provide our firm members the skills and development they need to progress their careers at the firm.  For example, each associate has a formal mentor pursuant to McMillan’s Mentoring Policy which, among other things, aims to address any barriers to advancement, and provide support to the associate to develop and build their profile within the legal community. Further, McMillan leaders review all performance assessments, feedback and performance objectives to ensure that everyone is evaluated and advanced based on merit, free from bias or discrimination

Reflection Room: McMillan has established reflection rooms to provide a place for meditation, quiet reflection, prayer and worship for firm members and visiting clients.

Survey. McMillan engages a third-party to conduct an inclusion and diversity survey every two years. The purpose of the survey is to assist McMillan leaders to better understand the diversity of firm members and whether we are continuing to create an equitable and inclusive work environment. The information gathered is used to develop or improve specific programs, policies, and practices that support diverse firm members and to measure our progress against industry benchmarks.

Affinity Groups: McMillan encourages firm members to join or form Affinity Groups that are of personal interest to them. Affinity groups are voluntary, employee-led groups that serve as a resource for firm members with the goal of promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace. Affinity Groups bring together those within an organization who wish to have an outlet within the workplace to share commonalities that may be grounded in culture, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or other facets of their individuality.  We currently have affinity groups for our Asian Lawyers, Black Lawyers, Black Staff and LGBTQ+ Lawyers.

Support for initiatives within the our community

BlackNorth Initiative: McMillan is a signatory of the BlackNorth Initiative CEO Pledge. The BlackNorth Initiative is a group of senior leaders from Canadian companies and organizations who are committed to the removal of anti-Black systemic barriers that negatively affect the lives of Black Canadians. As a signatory to the CEO Pledge, we have committed to increase our efforts to make the firm inclusive, to have difficult conversations about anti-Black systemic racism, to ensure that no barriers exist to prevent advancement of Black lawyers and staff and to meet specific hiring goals for Black students and senior leaders.

Pride at Work Canada: McMillan is a proud national employer partner of Pride at Work Canada.   Pride at Work supports employers in fostering workplace cultures that recognize LGBTQ+ employees as an important part of a diverse and effective workforce and works with employers to develop programs to ensure LBGTQ+ employees are able to achieve their full potential.  McMillan’s partnership provides access to Pride at Work’s resources, expertise and support so that the firm can continue fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Please click here for more information about Pride at Work Canada.

Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network: McMillan is a founding member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network (LFDIN) and was actively involved in the development of the LFDIN’s Statement of Principles. Law firms in the Network aim to share ideas and work together to promote diversity and encourage a culture of inclusion in their firms and the legal professional generally, to attract and retain the best talent, and best serve their clients.

Please view the LFDIN Statement of Principles

Legal Leaders in Diversity (LLD): The LLD is an organization comprised of General Counsel of 120+ leading Canadian businesses and organizations committed to creating a more inclusive legal profession as well as supporting diversity initiatives within their own organizations. McMillan firm members have participates in the LLD mentorship network, have organized events in partnership with the LLD (with LFDIN) and are working with LLD on its pipelines initiatives focused on introducing and attracting BIPOC students to the legal profession.

Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL): CABL is a national association of lawyers, judges, academics and law students dedicated to identifying and addressing the professional needs, objectives and goals of black legal professionals and black law students. McMillan has sponsored and participated in CABL events and has member lawyers who have served as mentors to law students through the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada mentorship program.  In September 2010, one of our partners, Kathy Martin, was honoured at an event hosted by CABL for being one of eighteen black partners at law firms on Bay Street.

Level Justice’s Indigenous Youth Outreach Program: McMillan is a proud sponsor of and participant in the Indigenous Youth Outreach Program, which supports and inspires Aboriginal youth to achieve their full potential. McMillan has partnered with Level Justice to provide meaningful opportunities for Aboriginal students to interact with lawyers who may serve as role models and mentors and help participating students establish skills that will enable them to succeed and prosper. Each year, McMillan hosts students from the First Nations School of Toronto for an education visit at the firm. Students learn about how a large law firm operates, the different departments and roles within the Firm and what services they provide, so that students may gain exposure to the variety of careers available and learn about paths they may aspire to in their futures. We also organize fun and interactive events for the students to make for an exciting visit, including a scavenger hunt/McMillan Amazing Race, a panel presentation and a pizza lunch.

South Asian Bar Association and its Local Chapters (SABA North America):  SABA North America is an organization comprised of lawyers, judges, academics and law students, which is dedicated to promoting and supporting South Asian members of the legal profession. Several McMillan lawyers are members of SABA and local SABA chapters and have participated in a number of activities and events to foster advancement within the South Asian community including mentoring and networking within the community. McMillan is a supporter of SABA and has hosted SABA Toronto and SABA British Columbia events at the firm and has been a sponsor of events organized by SABA Toronto and SABA British Columbia.

Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL): FACL was founded in Toronto as an organization of Asian Canadian legal professionals and has grown to a national organization with provincial chapters, partnering with other lawyer and like-minded associations on various initiatives. FACL’s mandate is supported by the three pillars of promoting equity, justice and opportunity for Asian Canadians in both the legal profession and the wider community. FACL is an affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), an organization of over 40,000 attorneys. In addition to being a proud sponsor of various FACL events, a number of McMillan lawyers have held leadership positions with FACL.

Start Proud (formerly Out on Bay Street): McMillan is a proud supporter of Out on Bay Street, an organization dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally undergraduate and graduate students, and raising awareness within the business and legal community.

LAWS Project: LAWS is a partnership between the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and the Toronto District School Board to provide education about the law and support to high school students from inner city schools. McMillan is an active supporter and participant in LAWS and annually hosts a group of high school students at the firm to educate them on the various paths to law and what life is like working at a corporate law firm.