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 that hold varied skill sets and forms of expertise.

Attracting top talent and developing a truly diverse and inclusive organization requires us to invest in all stages of our “leadership pipeline”, which includes: ensuring best practices in our recruitment process; developing new and refining existing engagement, leadership development, and retention initiatives; outreach to diverse communities; and enhancing inclusiveness and support in our working environment.

Workplace support

We have long recognized the value in having both workforce and business diversity strategies. These objectives are at the root of all our initiatives and are reflected in the mandate of our firmwide Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The committee was created as a means of providing support to the increasingly diverse composition of our people, and one of the first of its kind among Canadian law firms.

A Statutory Holiday and Multifaith Observance Dates Calendar is offered to all firm members through Outlook, which provides the details of major cultural and religious holidays to ensure firm events are planned around such observances. We also continue to actively use Hear My Name, a name pronunciation tool (and winner of an Innovation in Diversity Award) that enables firm members to record the correct pronunciation of their names to enhance interpersonal communication.

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.

BlackNorth Initiative Law Firm Pledge

In July 2020, Stikeman Elliott signed the BlackNorth Initiative’s Law Firm Pledge led by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism and committed to specific goals designed to end systemic racism by creating opportunities for those in underrepresented Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities.

By joining other Canadian law firms in this pledge, Stikeman Elliott is committed to better reflect the composition and values of our diverse Canadian communities and address systemic anti-Black barriers in the legal community.

Recent Highlights

Our governance by-laws have been amended to include a board diversity provision that promotes a Partnership Board composition that reflects a broad range of 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 38% of our Partnership Board seats are currently held by women, as well as 58% of our firm’s executive positions; including our Chief Operating Officer and three out of six Managing Partners in Canada.