We are proud to support the development of tomorrow’s lawyers, leaders and business professionals.
We work with leading diversity and inclusion organizations across Canada to make effective, sustainable change — and faster. Diversity and inclusion are not ideas on the perimeter of our business. We believe that including unique perspectives and approaches is at the core of our ability to help our clients succeed — and our people thrive.
Since 2005, Blakes has been working with students at some of Toronto’s most diverse high schools to participate in the LAWS (Law in Action Within Schools) program. The program combines law-related studies with practical experiences for high school students who face barriers to achieving their academic, career and life goals. We offer a unique workplace mentoring program that provides these students with positive exposure to a professional workplace and connects them with lawyers who provide mentoring and serve as positive role models.
Blakes is proud to have pioneered the Diversity & Inclusion Pre-Law Internship Program, which began in June 2011. The Firm is working with York University and the University of Toronto on an exclusive basis to offer an undergraduate university student interested in attending law school an opportunity to work in a paid internship in a law firm environment, with a particular focus on diversity initiatives. Blakes offers a similar pre-law internship program for Indigenous undergraduate students.
Blakes has partnered with a client to provide an annual opportunity for an Indigenous undergraduate student to gain valuable work experience in a business law environment.
Since 2010, Blakes has been the organizer of The Wilson Moot, an annual competition in Toronto that brings together judges, lawyers and law students with the goal of promoting justice for those disempowered within the legal system. In 2017, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, the first female Chief Justice of Canada, presided over the final round of the competition. The Wilson Moot was conceived in 1992 to honour the outstanding contribution to Canadian law made by the late Honourable Justice Bertha Wilson, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Since its inception, The Wilson Moot’s focus has been to shine a light on legal issues concerning equity-seeking groups, with the hopes of educating students and the legal profession on these issues.
Blakes is a proud supporter of a number of diverse student organizations and diverse professional associations. Our support takes the form of financial support, hosting events, providing speakers, acting as pro bono counsel, as well as supporting our lawyers and summer and articling students active in these organizations. The organizations we support include:
In 2022, Blakes launched the Black Undergraduate Law Internship Program, which was developed in partnership with the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network (LFDIN), Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusion (LLD), the Ontario Bar Association (OBA), the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) and other professional services firms. The internship aims to support the professional ambitions of Black undergraduate students in Canada who may be interested in pursuing a legal career. In the past two years, Blakes has hired interns in each of its Toronto, Montréal, Calgary and Vancouver offices.
Blakes has won the diversity award 12 times since 2008 – more than any other Canadian law firm over the same period. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is at the core of who we are.