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Pride@Blakes

Pride@Blakes
Pride@Blakes
About / Diversity & Inclusion / Pride@Blakes
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Pride@Blakes is a national network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer/questioning (LGBTQI2S+) professionals. Our Pride@Blakes team supports our people and builds connections with our LGBTQI2S+ clients and the diverse communities in which we live and work. Founded in 1999, it is one of the largest LGBTQI2S+ affinity groups at any Canadian law firm. Through workshops, seminars, gatherings and community outreach, we are building a more diverse, thoughtful, effective and engaging legal profession.

Blakes and our members are involved in a wide variety of organizations and initiatives across Canada:

519 Legal Clinic
A free drop-in legal advice clinic in Toronto for low-income members of the LGBTQI2S+ community.

AIDS Committee of Toronto
A community-based charitable organization that provides support, HIV prevention and education services for people living with and at risk for HIV.

Casey House
A specialty hospital in Toronto that provides compassionate health care to people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Coffee Breaks with Blakes
A series of virtual networking sessions targeting underrepresented student groups, including Black, Asian and LGBTQI2S+ students.

Community Pride Activities
Community pride activities in Vancouver, Calgary, Montréal and Toronto. We also provide pro bono legal services to Calgary Pride and sponsor the Calgary Pride Festival.
 
Diversity, Inclusion and Allyship Education
Various educational and training opportunities within Blakes.

exeQutive
A Toronto-based forum for LGBTQI2S+business leaders.
 
Family Service Toronto
A key United Way agency dedicated to a range of counselling, advocacy and community development priorities, including the David Kelley Services (DKS) Program for LGBTQI2S+ counselling.

The Get REAL Movement
A national non-profit focused on combating LGBTQI2S+ discrimination, racism and bullying in schools, summer camps and workplaces by offering workshops and providing leadership development and marginalized youth support.

Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair
The largest conference of LGBTQI2S+ legal professionals in the U.S.

Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusion
A national group of general counsel committed to creating a more inclusive profession.

Law Student Pipeline Event
A casual law-student-focused networking event with Blakes lawyers.

LGBTQI2S+ Firm Hops
Student-focused law firm tours. Blakes lawyers participate in these events that, in recent years, have drawn students interested in working in Vancouver, Calgary, Montréal, Toronto and Ottawa.

Pride at Work Canada
A national umbrella organization dedicated to improving workplace inclusiveness for LGBTQI2S+employees across the country. Blakes has been a long-standing national partner member.

Pro Bono Cases
Many pro bono cases for equity-seeking groups, including those with special relevance to LGBTQI2S+ people, such as representing the Calgary Sexual Health Centre in defending Gay-Straight Alliances in Alberta.
 
Sherbourne Health Centre
A long-standing health services organization serving downtown Toronto and particularly the LGBTQI2S+community.
 
StartProud (formerly Out on Bay Street)
A national association for LGBTQI2S+ students in law, business and other professional programs. Blakes has proudly supported and participated in its national conference and career fair since it was founded in 2007.
 
Friends of Ruby (formerly Egale Youth Services)
A community organization in Toronto that built and operates Canada’s first custom-built transitional housing facility for LGBTQI2S+ youth. Their youth centre also provides mental health and social services. 
 
The Trevor Project
The world’s leading LGBTQI2S+ suicide-prevention initiative.

Trans ID Clinic
In partnership with Pro Bono Students Canada and community partners Friends of Ruby and Sketch in Toronto and Skipping Stone Foundation in Calgary, this clinic provides free drop-in legal advice to trans and gender-diverse clients as they navigate the process of changing their name or gender marker on government-issued ID.
 

 On June 15, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada released two landmark decisions that are a significant victory for the LGBTQI2S+community. In Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada and Law Society of British Columbia v. Trinity Western University, the court ruled in favour of the law societies to ensure the LGBTQI2S+ community has equal access to legal education and joining the bar. The decisions uphold the law societies’ right to reject graduates of Trinity Western University, a Christian university that prohibits sexual relations among students who fall outside the scope of heterosexual marriage.

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