Blakes Named As One Of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers For 2008

Blakes is the only law firm on the list of 25 Canadian organizations

TORONTO (April 3, 2008) – LAWFUEL – Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes), one of Canada’s leading business law firms, has been named one of “Canada’s Best Diversity Employers” for 2008. Blakes is the only law firm on the list.

“Blakes is committed to providing a workplace rich with people from different backgrounds, perspectives and cultures,” said Jim Christie, the Firm’s Chairman. “Diversity strengthens the Firm and makes us more effective in competing in an international legal marketplace and in representing our multinational clients.”

This recognition by Mediacorp is in addition to naming Blakes one of “Canada’s Top 100 Employers” for the past five consecutive years and one of “Greater Toronto’s Top 50 Employers” for the past two years. These awards were announced in October 2007.

When it comes to equity and diversity, Blakes programs and policies ensure the Firm stands out from the rest. Blakes periodically publishes Blakes Bulletin on Equity & Diversity, holds seminars on subjects related to equity and diversity, and supports a number of ongoing initiatives including:

· Rotman/University of Toronto Program for Women in Law: Blakes is partnering with Rotman and the University of Toronto to develop a program for senior women associates. The program will focus on the power of influence, presentation skills and how to succeed in the legal environment. Blakes is a lead sponsor of the program.

· The Judy Project: Blakes is a founding sponsor and participant in The Judy Project, An Enlightened Leadership Forum for Executive Women, hosted by the University of Toronto’s Joseph L. Rotman School of Management. Each year, 25 women in leadership positions enter a five-day program to learn skills for strategic roles in Canadian businesses and organizations.

· New Pioneers Awards: Each year, the New Pioneers Awards showcase outstanding contributions by immigrants and refugees. Created by Skills for Change, an organization providing support for new immigrants to Canada, Blakes has supported the award since 2002. In 2008, the Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored by Blakes, was presented to Bernardo Riveros, Executive Director of the International Language Academy of Canada, an organization that offers comprehensive English language programs at campuses in Toronto and Vancouver.

· Law in Action within Schools (LAWS)/Blakes Mentoring Program: Blakes is partnering with the University of Toronto Law School to provide academic support and mentorship to a group of inner-city high school students facing barriers in achieving academic, career and life goals. Blakes is the only law firm participating in this pilot project.

· Student Outreach Programs: Blakes supports the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada, the Jewish Law Students Association of Canada, the Korean Law Students Association of Canada, Women and the Law and other student organizations and community outreach programs promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Blakes lawyers and associates involved in these projects are available to talk about them and about why Blakes has been recognized for its equity and diversity initiatives. To arrange an interview, please contact Celia Bobkin, Manager of Media & Public Relations, 416‑863‑5806.

About “Canada’s Best Diversity Employers”

This recognition was based on information compiled for the “Canada’s Top 100 Employers” project. The information is compiled annually by Mediacorp Inc., Canada’s largest publisher of employment periodicals. Following an initial review of over 72,000 Canadian employers, 14,000 companies were invited to participate and over 1,800 started the extensive application process. “Canada’s Best Diversity Employers” recognizes the nation’s leaders in workplace diversity and inclusiveness initiatives among several employee groups: (a) women; (b) visible minorities; (c) persons with disabilities or handicaps; (d) aboriginal Canadians; and (e) gay and lesbian employees. The selection was made by the editorial team for the “Canada’s Top 100 Employers” project.

About Blakes

Founded in 1856, Blakes is one of Canada’s leading business law firms. The Firm has more than 550 lawyers in nine offices in Canada, the United States, Europe and China. Blakes was recently named “Canadian Law Firm of the Year” by Chambers and Partners Legal Publishers, one of the world’s leading publishers of legal directories and trade periodicals. More information on Blakes is available by visiting the Firm’s Web site at

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