The fight to bring more equity and inclusion to the legal profession has been a personal one for Sandra Nishikawa.
The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers honoured the LSUC bencher and counsel in the Crown Law Office Civil with its 2016 Lawyer of Distinction Award at FACL’s 10th annual conference in late October.
Called to the bar in 1999, Nishikawa has been actively involved throughout her career in working to make the path smoother for racialized lawyers who follow in her path.
“If racialized lawyers aren’t on an equal footing, then our ability to work and represent our communities and to advocate is also negatively impacted,” says Nishikawa, who is a past chairwoman of the law society’s Equity Advisory Group.
She says being a lawyer might not be an obvious choice for many young, racialized people.
As there have been low numbers of racialized people in the profession in the past, few young, racialized people had parents who were lawyers or judges, she says.
“There are still barriers and some proactive measures need to be taken to overcome them,” she says.
She has experienced first-hand the barriers racialized lawyers can face when she was first entering the profession.
As a law student and later as a young lawyer, Nishikawa says she was passed over for opportunities because of her race and gender.
“I just thought that if I was the qualified candidate, I would get the job, and we kind of know that’s not how it works,” she says.
STRATTON CO-CHAIR OF IPT SERVICE GROUP
A founding partner of Dimock Stratton LLP has been named co-chair of DLA Piper (Canada) LLP’s IPT Service Group.
Bruce Stratton and lawyers from his firm joined DLA Piper (Canada) LLP at the beginning of November.
Dimock Stratton specialized in intellectual property litigation, as well as the acquisition, licensing and portfolio management of patents, trademarks and copyrights. Chris Bennett will serve as the group’s other co-chair.
LAO OFFERING $200,000 IN GRANTS TO HELP BLACK YOUTH
Legal Aid Ontario is looking to give a one-time grant of $200,000 to two organizations that help black students facing suspension or expulsion.
LAO is asking for organizations that help black youth deal with problems they are experiencing with the education system to apply for the grant by Nov. 14.
Each chosen organization will receive $100,000.
For more information and application forms, visit legalaid.on.ca.
LAW TIMES POLL
Law Times reported that lawyers want to learn more about an online child support calculation service the province launched earlier this year.
Readers were asked if they had heard of this service.
More than 11 per cent said yes, they had heard about this service and think it’s a great tool for clients. Almost 89 per cent said no, they had not heard about the service and think the province should communicate more about this tool.