Diversity & Inclusion

Our philosophy

At Stikeman Elliott, diversity and inclusion are integral parts of who we are. Our culture attracts talented individuals that hold unique beliefs, orientations and perspectives, but share an approach to the way we do business. Our growing global client base benefits from the broad range of legal talent at our firm, comprised of people from different backgrounds who hold varied skill sets and forms of expertise.

Attracting the best talent and developing a truly diverse and inclusive organization at all levels requires us to invest in all stages of our “leadership pipeline”, which includes: ensuring best practices in our recruitment process, which involves drawing from a large and diverse candidate pool; developing new and refining existing engagement, leadership development, and retention initiatives; a broad range of community outreach; and enhancing inclusiveness and support in our working environment.

Workplace support

We have long recognized the business and social imperative to having both workforce and business diversity strategies. These objectives reflect the mandate of our Partnership Board Diversity & Inclusion Initiative, which was created as a means of providing support to the increasingly diverse composition of our people. Over the years, the growing number of grassroots diversity and inclusion initiatives from individuals and groups across the firm have shaped the Partnership Board Initiative into what it is today.

Women at Stikeman Elliott

Stikeman Elliott’s Women’s Initiatives Committee includes senior partners and management and is responsible for staying on top of issues that are important to female lawyers, as well as developing programs to help them succeed both in and out of the workplace. While we have many longstanding initiatives in place to enhance the recruitment, retention and advancement of women, we never lose sight of the need to continue developing and innovating our approach.

Years ago, our Partnership Board reaffirmed its commitment to the advancement of women lawyers by mandating that all offices develop action plans around the pillars of retention, advancement to partnership, business development and leadership. Our belief is that to effect real change, our people must take personal accountability to help create an environment in which more women can succeed.

Community partnerships

Along with other leading Canadian law firms, Stikeman Elliott signed the BlackNorth Initiative’s Law Firm Pledge led by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, an important step to furthering our commitment to ending systemic racism and creating opportunities for those in underrepresented Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities.

We have also partnered with organizations across Canada that are committed to promoting diversity and inclusiveness. Over the years, members of the firm have led and supported events and initiatives by organizations including Pathways to Education, Out On Bay Street, Pride at Work Canada, Women Get On Board, DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, Matthew’s House Refugee Training Program, and many more.

Firm governance and leadership

Our governance by-laws include specific board diversity provisions that promote a Partnership Board composition that reflects diverse experience and perspectives. Diversity criteria includes gender, age, ethnicity, professional expertise and geographic background.

Stikeman Elliott is also a member of the 30% Club Canada, a national organization that aspires to have women representing 30% of board seats and C-suite positions by 2022. We are proud to share that 43% of our Partnership Board seats are currently held by women, as well as 58% of our firm’s executive positions, including our Chief Financial Officer and three out of six Managing Partners in Canada.