McCarthy Tétrault understands that exercising our corporate responsibility involves looking beyond the walls of our offices to deepen our commitment to our local communities. Giving back to our communities is not only a business imperative that drives us to think better, do better and be better, it is the right thing to do.
Working with McCarthy Tétrault isn’t just about solving legal problems or improving business outcomes, it’s about having a partner who eagerly embraces the ideals and values that matter to your business, including giving back to the communities that elevate and ensure your continued success.
Leading Canadian law firms make long-term commitment to Black Future Lawyers
A newly formed partnership of leading Canadian law firms has committed $1.75 million to the groundbreaking Black Future Lawyers Program (BFL).
The 14 firms—Blakes, BLG, Cassels, Davies, Dentons, Fasken, Goodmans, Gowling WLG, McCarthy Tétrault, McMillan, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, Osler, Stikeman Elliott and Torys—through their combined commitments, will provide operational funding to BFL over the next 10 years.
University of Toronto Faculty of Law Dean Jutta Brunnée said the 10-year financial commitment from the partner firms provides the stability and security needed to allow the BFL to establish chapters at universities across the country and invest in the future of Canada’s next generation of Black lawyers.
“We know that Black students face systemic obstacles that prevent them from accessing professional school education," Brunnée said.
“BFL leverages the resources at U of T Law and the legal profession to address this issue."
“It’s important that we have a long-term vision for the program that will ultimately help build a consistently strong number of Black students enrolling in law.”
"It means so much to individuals like me who at one point didn't think law school was a viable pathway. BFL has been very powerful and inspiring, especially as I was applying," said BFL participant, Ikran Jama, a U of T undergraduate student.
In addition to the financial support that will enable the BFL to accelerate its ambitious programming goals, partner firms will collaborate and deliver a business law-focused educational stream for BFL students.
“Students will have the opportunity to attend seminars and events on a regular basis that will give them exposure to the priorities and day-to-day realities of working lawyers,” Brunnée said.
These sessions will cover substantive topics in various areas of law as well as professionalism topics like building networks and improving presentation skills.
“These are great avenues for BFL students to learn directly from some of the top law firms in the country.”
BFL provides support and engagement opportunities to Black undergraduate students whose vision is to become lawyers. It was formed by the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in January 2020 in collaboration with the school’s Black Law Students’ Association, its Black alumni, and the greater legal community. BFL offers mentoring programs, opportunities to attend workshops at UofT Law, and an annual conference.
When founded in 1997, the McCarthy Tétrault Foundation was first-of-its-kind in Canada, and has remained the cornerstone of our charitable activities. Governed by a board of directors that meets monthly, the Foundation supports all aspects of our communities, from hospitals to local artists, cultural organizations, to support networks and law schools.
Since it’s inception the McCarthy Tétrault Foundation has invested more than $18 million in non-profit organizations, local programs and initiatives that improve the lives of everyday Canadians.
In another first-of-its-kind in the legal profession, McCarthy Tétrault kicked off Inclusion Now with a pledge of $5 million dollars over five years to United Way Centraide.
Our gift is directed to agencies and programs in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montréal and Québec City that are having the greatest impact in supporting five equity-seeking groups:
- Indigenous peoples,
- Newcomers to Canada,
- Members of LGBTQ2S communities, and
- People with disabilities.
We know that individuals from these communities face barriers to full participation in Canadian society, and that these barriers are further amplified when people are living in poverty.
We are following up our financial gift to United Way Centraide with the investment of our time, mobilizing and leveraging the full range of our resources to support these agencies and communities. This includes the delivery of pro bono services to the agencies or their clients, contributions to governance, and volunteer efforts, depending on the need. Our goal is to engage members of the firm to contribute in any way that they can. Making a year-round investment in the agencies and communities we have identified allows us to enhance and accelerate the impact of our gift, and build meaningful relationships in the community.
Inclusion Now - 2021 Annual Report by United Way
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inequities in our communities, rendering them truly #unignorable. This year more than ever, we are reminded that social change takes collective and intentional action.
Since launching in October 2018, McCarthy Tétrault’s Inclusion Now gift has made a meaningful and material difference in the lives of tens of thousands of individuals across Canada.
McCarthy Tétrault’s trailblazing five-year, $5-million commitment is being invested in United Way Centraide agencies and programs in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montréal, and Québec City that work to remove barriers to inclusion for marginalized groups and populations who face daily challenges, including newcomers, Indigenous peoples, members of the LGBTQ2S community, women, and people with disabilities.
Learn more about the impact that our Inclusion Now gift had in our local communities throughout 2020 by reading the full report.
Inclusion Now - 2020 Annual Report by United Way
Inclusion Now - 2019 Annual Report by United Way
Thanks to McCarthy Tétrault’s trailblazing $5 million Inclusion Now commitment—a first of its kind for Canada’s legal industry— United Way is one step closer to ensuring that background and identity aren’t barriers to inclusion for thousands of people and families across Canada.
We have some of the brightest legal minds in Canada at McCarthy Tétrault and putting that expertise to work in pro bono matters means we can do what we do best for the individuals and communities that need it most. In the last fifteen years, we have delivered more than 125,000 hours of pro bono services, valued in excess of $50 million, to social justice issues throughout Canada. This puts our lawyers on the ground in the communities they come from to build a healthier and more vibrant Canada.
Alongside the hundreds of individual pro bono matters we work on each year, McCarthy Tétrault partners with Lawyers Without Borders to support international legal efforts, and closer to home, we are the National Law Firm Partner for Pro Bono Students Canada. We are also tremendously proud of our work on the Unaccompanied Minors Project, a McCarthy Tétrault initiative that pairs our lawyers with children who arrive alone at Toronto’s international airport to be their designated representative in refugee claims.
Our partnership with LEAP | Pecault Centre for Social Impact allows us to provide breakthrough social ventures with the legal foundation they need to scale across Canada.
Indigenous Human Rights Clinic
In partnership with Pro Bono Students Canada, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, and the Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Commissions, McCarthy Tétrault contributed to the development of a new human rights clinic. Our lawyers provide culturally sensitive legal services to Indigenous clients, representing them at mediations and tribunals. This program is the recipient of the prestigious 2019 Emil Gumpert Award from the American College of Trial Lawyers.
McCarthy Tétrault is also dedicated to the vibrant arts scenes in the cities where our offices are located. We provide pro bono services to ArtScape, a non-profit organization devoted to enhancing creativity in communities. Our lawyers regularly assist in negotiations for the lease of land and other agreements to showcase Canadian talent. We have also been involved in the 12-year project to transform Regent Park with new streets, parks and community services by assisting with right of return agreements for residents, labour and employment matters, contracts and a small business incubator.