TORONTO (February 25, 2021) – Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes), one of Canada’s leading law firms, has joined 13 law firms in support of the Black Future Lawyers (BFL) program, a collaboration founded by UofT Law, the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA) and members of UofT’s Black alumni community. Collectively, the partnering firms have committed C$1.75-million over 10 years. BFL will foster opportunities for Black students interested in law, build relationships with universities across Canada, reduce barriers to applying to law school and support Black students in their journey to law school.
“This is an important step toward bringing about change and increasing the number of Black law students and Black lawyers in Canada,” said Kyle Elliott, Blakes Manager of Diversity, Inclusion & Outreach Initiatives. Kyle also serves as director of communications for the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL).
In addition to financial support, Blakes and the other partnering firms will deliver educational programs to offer BFL students a sense of corporate law firms and the practice of business law.
“We are delighted to support this program. BFL is a great addition to our existing efforts to diversify the legal profession, and I look forward to seeing it expand to many more universities across the country,” said Bryson Stokes, Firm Managing Partner at Blakes. “These kinds of programs are critical to building and sustaining a legal profession that represents the diversity of our communities.”
About Blakes Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
Blakes is fully committed to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplace and to combating anti-Black racism and all other forms of discrimination. In our continuing efforts to improve the recruitment and retention of Black lawyers, and to build on programs already in place, Blakes has implemented initiatives such as internships for Black law students, anti-Black racism training, and Black@Blakes, an affinity group that provides additional support, client networking opportunities and informal mentoring for our Black legal professionals. Together with over 200 law firms worldwide, we have also joined the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance to support pro bono work focused on addressing systemic racism. Other programs include our Diversity & Inclusion and Indigenous Pre-Law Internships, our long-standing participation in the Law in Action Within Schools program and our continued support of organizations like the BLSA and CABL.
In 2020, Blakes was named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for the 10th time. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends throughout our Firm, with the goal of increasing the number of Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC), LGBTQ+, women and members of other equity seeking groups at all levels of the legal profession and at Blakes.
About Black Future Lawyers
Black Future Lawyers (BFL) was founded as a collaboration between the Faculty of Law at UofT, the Black Law Students Association at UofT, members of the Black alumni community at UofT’s Faculty of Law, and the broader legal profession. BFL offers support and engagement opportunities to Black undergraduate students who aspire to go to law school and become lawyers. BFL’s goal is to increase the number of Black students who attend law school and join the legal profession.