New Report Finds Few Visible Minorities Among GTA Legal Leaders

Third DiverseCity Counts report highlights legal sector for the first time

TORONTO, June 7, 2011 /CNW/ - Just 6.8% of leaders in the GTA legal sector are visible minorities, relative to 49.5% of the population studied, reveals a new report released today.

The third annual DiverseCity Counts report, produced by the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University on behalf of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, tracked 3,330 leaders across the corporate, public, elected, education and nonprofit sectors. Also included in this year's report is a first-ever look at visible minority leadership in the legal sector. While previous research has studied diversity among lawyers exclusively, the Counts report tracked 2,410 leaders in the field including judges, governing bodies, law school leaders, partners in the top 20 law firms and crown attorneys.

Lawyers and judges are influential decision makers who shape the laws and the administration of justice," explains Wendy Cukier, the lead author and founder of the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University. "Lawyers lead in other areas too, such as in elected office - in fact, 73 per cent of Canadian Prime Ministers have also been practising lawyers. They are also at the forefront of advocacy and social change. Representation in this sector is critical to a democratic society."

Although the research shows that there is an under-representation of visible minorities in leadership in the legal sector, the report found that overall, 14.5 per cent of leaders in the GTA are visible minorities which is an increase of eight per cent from 13.4% in 2009.

Within the legal profession, judges are found to have higher levels of visible minority representation than law firm partners or crown attorneys (8.3 per cent compared to 6.6 per cent). Governing bodies and law school leaders come out on top at 10.5 per cent.

"These results put numbers to what we've been observing. We already knew that only 14.4 per cent of lawyers are visible minorities but now we can see that the problem increases as we move up the chain. Greater diversity at the top of our profession is both a social imperative and a business driver," says Julia Hanigsberg who is a member of the DiverseCity steering committee and is Vice President, Administration and Finance and General Counsel, Ryerson University.

DiverseCity Counts is the third report commissioned by DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, a multi-pronged initiative to accelerate prosperity in the GTA by enabling a more diverse leadership to emerge. Previous research has found a link between diversity in leadership and more effective, innovative and productive organizations.

Another release summarizing the overall findings from the research and the full report including the results on the legal sector can be found www.diversecitytoronto.ca/diversecity-counts or www.ryerson.ca/diversity.

About DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project
DiverseCity is the latest project of Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, funded in part by the government of Ontario. With its eight initiatives, the project is changing the face of our region's leadership. It is expanding our networks, strengthening our private and public institutions, advancing our knowledge on the role of diversity in leadership and tracking our progress. For more information, and to read the full report visit www.diversecitytoronto.ca.

About the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University
The Diversity Institute is located in the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. The Diversity Institute undertakes diversity research with respect to gender, race/ethnicity, disabilities and sexual orientation in the workplace. The goal of the Institute is to generate new, interdisciplinary knowledge about diversity in organizations to contribute to the awareness and the promotion of equity in the workplace. Visit www.ryerson.ca/ diversity for more information.

SOURCE Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University

For further information:

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Julia Howell, on behalf of DiverseCity, (416) 402-4274, julia@communityinvestmentpartners.ca

Kathleen Powderley, on behalf of The Ted Rogers School of Management and Ryerson University, (416) 803-5597, Kathleen@responsiblecommunications.ca

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Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University

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