Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
MLT Aikins is a people business.
For our law firm to thrive as one high-performing team and provide consistently high calibre legal services to our clients, we must empower our people to bring their authentic and best selves to work. We are committed to cultivating a work environment that respects differences and encourages sharing diverse perspectives. The principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) create space for a collaborative client-service environment, allowing us to deliver excellent and increasingly innovative legal solutions to our clients.
MLT Aikins DEI Mission Statement:
“Cultivating an environment that celebrates and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion to attract and retain the best talent, drive innovation and better serve our clients.”
Why Is This Important to Us?
Since 1879, MLT Aikins and our predecessor firms have proven our ability to adapt. Today, we want not only to respond to change around us but also to help lead the legal industry forward by inviting and amplifying diverse perspectives.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to the success of our firm and helps us effectively serve our clients with sensitivity to cultural differences. By continuously working to advance inclusion and diversity in our offices across Western Canada, we celebrate the rich and diverse culture of our firm, reflecting the environment in which we and our clients operate.
A tremendous positive impact results from intentionally promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in every aspect of our business and at every level of our firm. A diverse and inclusive workplace enhances decision-making and problem solving and reduces “groupthink.” It also increases job satisfaction and drives innovation which, in turn, enhances client service. Additionally, our clients expect that we work on their files with the full benefit of diverse legal teams.
- We strive to provide legal advice and service that is second to none. A diverse and inclusive workplace leads to better decision-making, critical thinking and innovation.
- The foundation of our business is talented people. Attracting and retaining top-performing employees requires an environment where people feel safe, valued and empowered.
- We want to reflect the backgrounds and experience of those we serve. Our western Canadian population is diverse, and we must mirror that to effectively serve our clients today and into the future.
- We welcome the challenge to do better. Our clients are increasingly asking us to demonstrate that we have a diverse and inclusive workplace and will serve their files with diverse legal teams.
- We plan to be competitive. Research shows that gender and ethnically diverse companies financially outperform their more homogenous counterparts.
- The legal industry can be slow to change, but as a prominent western Canadian firm, we will encourage honest and respectful conversations, remain curious and strive to be an agent for change.
DEI Advisory Committee
The firm’s DEI initiative is led by an advisory committee comprised of cross-firm representation of lawyers and staff and the managing partner. The committee works to facilitate a welcoming and inclusive environment for diverse thought through training, events and avenues for conversation, while providing guidance and recommendations to the firm’s executive board and management on DEI best practices.
The committee is guided by a two-year road map which seeks to:
- Eliminate unintentional barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion
- Educate and train on unconscious bias and DEI within the firm
- Celebrate and create awareness of DEI within the firm and communicate our commitment to it, both internally and externally
Our DEI Advisory Committee is responsible for hosting a number of events throughout the year. The goal of these events is to raise awareness of inequalities and issues, educate and share resources, go beyond being performative and provide resources or opportunities for individual education or participation.
To date, we have hosted webinars for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Pride at Work and International Women’s Day, and offered firmwide unconscious bias training.
The firm observes National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30. In 2022, we launched an Indigenous Scholarship, which awards $6,000 to one second-year law student each year.
Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee
Jodi Wildeman, K.C. | Partner, Regina