At Shirtliff Hinds Law, we take the broadest possible view of cultural diversity: gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and nationality. Because we are not a huge organization—with the requisite huge workplace policies and administrative procedures—we are much more nimble. We don’t believe in mandating cultural diversity nor having cultural diversity quotas. For one thing, quotas don’t really work; they tend to drive a culture of mediocrity. Instead, Shirtliff Hinds Law prefers to focus on hiring the most talented lawyers, law clerks, and paralegals available no matter their ethnic or cultural background to help build our Newmarket law firm. We believe that our values of acceptance, inclusion, other viewpoints, and other experiences strengthen our law firm, and in turn, make us a law firm that looks like a microcosm of Newmarket and other surrounding communities in York Region, Ontario.
Canada has always been proudly multicultural and Canadians embrace diversity, inclusion, equality, and social justice. So does Shirtliff Hinds Law. We know that Canada is pretty special when it comes to welcoming immigrants. Because let’s face it: many of us have elected to make Canada our home, but were born someplace else.
Diversity is having a lot of different people around the table. Inclusion is making sure that everyone is included in the conversation, giving people who may not have traditionally had access the tools to have access to the conversation.
The 2017 Deloitte Millennial survey conducted across 30 countries found that 87 per cent of millennials believe “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.” Younger Canadians and Americans are more likely to work for companies that share their values, as well as purchase their products and use their services. And diversity is good for business: Shirtliff Hinds Law looks like the clients who come through our front door.
Diversity in gender is one consideration of cultural diversity. Retaining experienced women lawyers (and especially after the birth of a second child) in the legal profession has been a problem and the focus of the Law Society of Ontario’s Justicia Project, we are proud that we have a number of senior women lawyers. In fact, our law firm was founded by Carol Shirtliff-Hinds. Read about why Carol became a lawyer and launched Shirtliff Hinds Law.
In fall 2017, the Law Society of Ontario mandated a new requirement aimed at tackling systemic racism in the legal profession. The law society is making it mandatory for lawyers and paralegals to abide by what it's calling a personal "Statement of Principles" that acknowledges they have an obligation to "promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in their behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public."
At Shirtliff Hinds Law, we believe we are ahead of the curve on this. That said, we realize that racism and racialization in the legal profession still exist. Fighting racism is hard work; we won’t be “done” fighting racism in our lifetime.
We support the Pride Festival in York Region, the Newmarket Music Festival—the universal language of music, and a number of our lawyers volunteer at Inn from the Cold, a community program for the homeless and at-risk, that offers weekly meals, a drop-in program, housing assistance, and more.