Hicks Morley was founded in 1972 and was built on the principle of professionals and staff providing excellent service and practical strategic advice to meet the ever changing needs of our clients. We are an open and respectful workplace which fosters creativity, legal innovation and excellence in our clients’ interests.
At Hicks Morley we are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. We strongly believe that embracing each of our different and unique experiences based on factors such as our cultural and racial backgrounds, citizenship, creed, sex, gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital and family status, and ability and disability brings value to the firm as a whole and to our clients.
Hicks Morley is committed to recruiting and hiring the best candidates from diverse backgrounds for all roles and fostering an inclusive workplace for all members of the firm. We recognize that this inclusiveness makes us stronger internally as a firm and adds significant value to our clients. We believe it is important to increase the participation of diverse and under-represented groups in the firm, and to provide equality of opportunity for growth and advancement for all members of the firm. We also believe it is important to cultivate awareness of how unconscious biases or assumptions may impact our interactions and decision-making both internally and externally, and to develop strategies to remove any barriers to equality of opportunity that may arise as a result.
— Stephen Shamie, Managing Partner
Our Diversity and Inclusion program is supported by a Diversity Committee, whose role is to make recommendations regarding strategies to promote diversity and inclusion within the firm.
The current members of the Diversity Committee are Catherine Peters (Chair), Jeffrey Goodman (Partner representative), Nadine Zacks (Associate representative), Dianne Jozefacki (Associate representative), Lisa Carty (Director, Professional Resources), Rachel Doherty (HR Coordinator) and Rafa Abdo (Support Staff Representative).
— Catherine Peters, Chair, Diversity Committee
Diversity, Inclusion, and Human Resources Law
As leaders in the field of Human Resources law, we frequently offer training and provide strategic advice to clients on how to foster equity, diversity and inclusion. We have worked with a wide variety of employers and service-providers in developing policies to address issues such as:
- Discrimination and harassment prevention and response
- Workplace violence and workplace harassment prevention and response
- Sexual violence and sexual assault prevention and response
- Disability accommodation and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
- Accommodation based on other grounds protected by the Human Rights Code, such as childcare accommodation or religious accommodation
- Pay equity
- Employment equity and the development of proactive strategies to encourage recruitment, retention and advancement of under-represented groups
- Diversity and inclusion strategies, including data collection and the measurement of progress towards diversity and inclusion-related goals and objectives
- Balancing competing human rights and communicating about difference
We apply the expertise we have gained in developing strategies for fostering equity, diversity and inclusion in developing appropriate strategies for our own firm.
— Donna D’Andrea, Professional Partner
Diversity and Inclusion Policies
At Hicks Morley, we have a comprehensive set of policies in place supporting Diversity and Inclusion at the firm, including the following:
- Human Rights Policy and Procedure
- Workplace Harassment and Workplace Violence Policy
- Pregnancy and Parental Leave Policies for lawyers and staff
- Parent Guide: A Resource for Lawyers taking Pregnancy and/or Parental Leaves
- Return to Work Policy
- Disability Accommodation Policy
- General Accommodation Policy
- Part-time Work Policy
- Working at Home Policy
- Affinity/Resource Group Policy
— Njeri Damali Campbell, Associate
Recruitment, Retention and Advancement
We are committed to developing and implementing strategies as needed to increase the representation and retention of women and under-represented groups within the firm.
We are also committed to ensuring that our mentoring and evaluation processes for our legal, managerial, and support staff reflect our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion within the firm.
We measure our progress toward fostering equity, diversity and inclusion by conducting demographic and inclusion surveys of our firm at regular intervals.
— Lisa Carty, Director, Professional Resources
Health, Wellness and Accommodation
We have a strong commitment to supporting the health and well-being of all of the members of our firm. This includes accommodating the needs of members of the firm who may be experiencing health or other personal issues.
Up to 20% of Canadians will experience mental health issues at some point during their lives. We promote mental health awareness within our firm, and make appropriate supports and accommodations available to members of our firm who need them.
We also provide a variety of other wellness initiatives to members of our firm, such as an annual health assessment program for partners and senior management, a fitness club membership subsidy program, and a dedicated Wellness Room for the use of all firm members.
— Andrew McCreary, Partner
Professional Development Initiatives
The firm has a robust professional development program, which includes professional development on topics related to Diversity and Inclusion issues. A recent example is the firm-wide unconscious bias training initiative held for all lawyers in 2015-2016.
Women’s Practice Development Affinity Group
The firm’s Women’s Practice Development Affinity Group has a mandate to support practice development for women lawyers in the firm, by focussing on business development, professional development and other initiatives targeted to the needs of women lawyers.
— Elisha Jamieson-Davies, Co-Chair, Women’s Practice Development Affinity Group
Pride Resource Group
The firm’s Pride Resource Group has a mandate to:
- provide a resource for mentorship and support for any members of the firm and thereby assist these persons with their professional and career goals and in becoming leaders within the firm
- act as a resource for all lawyers, clerks and students in education and maintenance of currency around legal issues, policy issues and the evolution of language and societal response to sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGI) and diversity
- build and strengthen relationships with those clients, client contacts and those within the legal community who identify with and/or are engaged in the discussion of SOGI and diversity issues and thereby build upon the reputation and business interests of the firm
The current Chair of the Pride Resource Group is Simon Mortimer.
Memberships and Affiliations
The Managing Partner of the firm, Stephen Shamie, is a member of the 30% Club Canada, a group of business leaders who have committed to ensuring their organizations’ board and senior management positions are composed of at least 30% women by 2019.
The firm is a member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network (LFDIN) and a signatory to LFDIN’s Statement of Principles, which include:
- sharing ideas for the promotion of diversity and inclusion in connection with recruitment, retention and advancement within law firms
- working with Legal Leaders for Diversity and other general counsel, law departments, business leaders and professional associations in their efforts to advance diversity and inclusion
- supporting outreach programs in law schools and within the broader community
— Jeff Goodman, Founding Partner, Diversity Committee
We support the activities of numerous professional associations and affinity groups, including the Black Law Students’ Association – Canada, the Black Female Lawyers’ Network, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, South Asian Bar Association of Toronto, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, the Women Lawyers Association of Ontario, and Young Women in Law.
We also regularly contribute to legal community initiatives designed to foster Diversity and Inclusion. Some initiatives we have contributed to recent years include the Justicia Project, the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee, and the Law Society’s consultation on the Developing Strategies for Change: Addressing Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Consultation Paper.
Awards and Recognition
Catherine Peters, the Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee, was a recipient of the 2016 Lexpert Zenith Award: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion.
For further information about Diversity and Inclusion at Hicks Morley, please contact Catherine Peters.