The Equity & Access Office provides the following resources for lawyers and law students in Nova Scotia:
In collaboration with Library & Information Services, the Equity & Access Office has launched a resource portal for lawyers and law firms seeking guidance on issues of employment equity and cultural competence. The portal gathers valuable online model policies, toolkits and other web resources, training and information materials created by the Equity & Access Office, and relevant items from the Barristers’ Library.
Cultural competence training
The Equity & Access Officer provides in-person training in cultural competence to a wide variety of audiences, including articled clerks in the Skills Course, law students at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, law firms, conferences, and Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society staff. Training can range from a basic introduction to cultural competence concepts to sessions working with particular communities (Aboriginal, LGBTTI or Arab communities, for example), or specific legal issues relating to particular communities (matrimonial property on reserve, for example).
The Equity & Access Office is also producing a series of short videos on a wide range of cultural competence issues. The series is accessible through the resource portal and the Society’s YouTube channel, and covers both key concepts and advice for working with specific populations. This collection is growing and should not be considered exhaustive. If you are interested in contributing to this series, please contact the Equity & Access Officer.
Contact the Equity & Access Officer for information about cultural competence training.
Consultation and guidance from the Equity & Access Officer
The Society encourages members of the legal profession to contact the Equity & Access Officer with any questions or concerns they may have related to equity, diversity and cultural competence.
Many organizations recognize that mentoring is key to maintaining and enhancing professionalism and lawyering skills. Mentoring can help improve relationships among lawyers, promote camaraderie and help address issues of stress and isolation faced by many lawyers. The mentor receives the satisfaction of helping someone grow and succeed in the practice of law, while the mentee benefits from the opportunity to receive regular encouragement and support, explore new ideas and alternatives, and develop new contacts and networking opportunities.
The Equity & Access Office offers the following mentorship programs:
Legal Legacies & Bridges (LLB): African Canadian and Aboriginal Law Student Mentorship Program
The Society offers this mentorship program in conjunction with the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq Initiative at Dalhousie University (IB&M)
LLB Student Handbook (pdf) | LLB Mentor Handbook (pdf) | Mentoring Enrolment Form (pdf)
The Internationally Trained Lawyers (ITL) Observership Program
The Society offers this observership program to give internationally trained lawyers an opportunity to connect with the local legal profession in order to learn about the practical and procedural aspects of practising law in Canada. The Society runs this program in collaboration with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) in Halifax.
ITL Observership application package (pdf) | ITL agreement and confidentiality form (pdf)
Pride Mentorship Program
This program, for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered lawyers, is offered in collaboration with the CBA Sexual Orientation Gender Identity (SOGI) section. Its purpose is to provide a community of support for students and new lawyers entering the profession. LGBT lawyers face specific challenges and barriers, and this program provides a forum for discussion, strategy and support designed to improve the practice experience for this community of lawyers.
Pride Mentorship Enrolment Form (pdf)
Opportunities to get involved with the Society’s Access to Justice initiatives
The success of Equity & Access Office projects depends heavily on participation from volunteers in the justice system. Contact the Equity & Access Officer regarding participation in a future #TalkJustice event or to contribute to our cultural competence video series.
See the full list Equity & Access Office activities